Jamie Lin Wilson Covers Kent Finlay’s ‘Hill Country’ [Exclusive Premiere]
Jamie Lin Wilson of the Trishas contributes a gorgeous rendition of "Hill Country" to a tribute album in honor of late Texas country icon Kent Finlay, and The Boot has the exclusive premiere of the song.
Wilson's cover, which also features the Hill Country Choir, appears on Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay, which pays homage to the artist, songwriter and former owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas, who passed away in March of 2015. Finlay is largely credited with discovering now-country superstar George Strait and also championed many now-famous songwriters; the Cheatham Street Warehouse has hosted a songwriters open mic night almost every Wednesday for more than 40 years.
"Every Wednesday night, after Kent's songwriter circle, Kent would walk over from the bar, grab his guitar and sit in the middle of the dance floor of Cheatham Street Warehouse -- no microphone or amplification, just him and a guitar," Wilson recalls. "Everyone would pull their chairs around him and listen to him sing a few of his own songs, after listening to everyone else all night. This is when he'd say what a great night it had been, acknowledge the new folks and give whatever gem of advice he had at the moment.
"He'd do a request or two, then something that he wanted to share, then always end with "Hill Country." Everyone in the room sang along -- every time," Wilson continues. ""Hill Country" is so uniquely Kent: He was so proud of being a Texan, so proud to raise his family here and so intent on making a difference in those he encountered.
"It was such an honor to sing on this song, but no matter who is singing it, the voice that is heard is Kent's. Those are his words, his wit and his harmonies heard through the hundreds of folks he helped," she concludes. "What a beautiful life he led and an incomparable legacy left behind."
Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay features 15 artists singing songs penned by Finlay; Sunny Sweeney and Randy Rogers duet for the first time on "Between You and Me," and Walt Wilkins, James McMurtry, Adam Carroll and more contribute their talents. Additionally, Austin-based writers Brian T. Atkinson and Jenni Finlay (Kent Finlay's daughter) have penned a book, Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouse. Both projects are scheduled for release on March 2.
Listen to Jamie Lin Wilson and the Hill Country Choir, "Hill Country":