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Remembering Kent Finlay, 'A Stealth Legend of Texas Music'
Kent Finlay in 2012

He was a songwriter who nurtured Texas music for decades from his honky tonk in San Marcos. Kent Finlay lost a battle to cancer Monday at the age of 77. He passed away at home. 

In 1974, Finlay opened the Cheatham Street Warehousein San Marcos and hosted performances by artists such as Willie Nelson, Towns van Zandt, Guy Clark, George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

"Kent is one of the stealth legends of Texas music," Texas music writer Joe Nick Patoski says. "As an arts patron, I don't think I've ever met anyone better." 

Listen to our conversation with Patoski about Finlay's life and legacy.

In addition to performing music and hosting artists at his modest shack near the train tracks, Finlay honed his songwriting skills and hosted weekly meetings with musicians working to improve their craft. 

"I learned that you needed to include truth in any of your poetry or any of the songs that you write," Finlay said in a video interview posted late last year. "But it doesn't have to be the truth." 

A memorial for Kent Finlay is still being planned. In lieu of flowers, his family is asking for donations to the Cheatham Street Music Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps develop and promote Texas music.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.