By Kasandra Garza
Assistant News Director
Two country singers and former Texas State University alumni are honoring a San Marcos business owner in a poetic way.
Country singers Randy Rogers and Sunny Sweeney can be heard on the new tribute album to Kent Finlay who died one year ago.
Finlay graduated from Southwest Texas State University in 1961 earning a Master’s degree in Education and later opened Cheatham Street Warehouse. It has since become home to singers and songwriters of San Marcos and the state of Texas.
Sunny Sweeney graduated from Southwest Texas State in 2001 with a degree in Public Relations.
After graduating from SWT, Sweeney turned her internship with Lone Star Music into a full-time job. She said her music career stemmed for her internship with Lone Star Music. She later started a band and began singing at venues. Throughout her musical career, Sweeney said Finlay was always there to support her.
According to Sweeney, Finlay was a great songwriter and friend. And when she was asked to be on the tribute album, Sweeney didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“I always used him to bounce ideas off of and like I would go down there and play him some of my new stuff and he would tell you what he thought about it,” Sweeney said.
“When they asked me to be a part of that tribute I didn’t even hesitate I was like absolutely.” Randy Rogers, member of the Randy Rogers Band, said his time at SWT and San Marcos changed his life forever, especially after meeting Kent Finlay.
“My time here in San Marcos and at school here was very influential because I found this place, Cheatham street warehouse,” Rogers said. “I think if I would have went to school anywhere else, my songwriting wouldn’t have developed at all like it did just because of Kent Finlay, having open mic night and a stage to play.”
Rogers said Kent Finlay’s daughter, Jenni Finlay, had a song picked out just for Rogers and Sweeney titled “Between You and Me.” Rogers said he thinks that’s the way Finlay would have wanted it.
“I think that song was kind of to me and Sunny in way, from his family,” Rogers said. Rogers said Finlay also influenced him in every way by teaching him the music industry and how to write songs.
“He was the first person to tell me to get a manager, first person to ever tell me to start a band, first person to encourage me to do this for a living or try to do this for a living.”
The Kent Finlay tribute album is out now and features many other artists who were influenced by Kent Finlay.