Foundation Songwriter Series

The Cheatham Street Music Foundation Songwriter Series:

On January 22nd, the Cheatham Street Music Foundation Songwriter Series presents a special performance by Neal Ford and Frank Iarossi. The performance, which is free to the public, will run from 7:30 to 9:00pm, right before the weekly Kent Finlay‘s Songwriters Circle at Cheatham Street Warehouse.


January 22, 2020 – Neal Ford & Frank Iarossi

Neal Ford
“Well, I’ve been told that I must write a bio for my web site, however, I can’t bring myself

 to tell you that I like soft summer nights walking on the beach, or sitting in a porch swing of a cabin on the lake watching the sun go down reflecting off the water, or as Waylon so aptly put it, ”guitars that tune good and firm feeling women”.

 So, let me tell you that my late Uncle Ray Homann gave me an old acoustic Harmony guitar when I was sixteen years old and I laid in bed for months playing the same chords over and over again until I could play a Hank Williams Sr. song, front to back. Funny, I’m still playing it (“You Win Again”) today.

Went off to Howard Payne College, and met a guy named Kim Espy who liked to sing. We bought baritone uke’s and I taught him to play. We started singing around Brownwood, Texas and had a little radio show on KEAN, Brownwood. We met up with a basketball player at school named Ray Hildebrand who later became the Paul of Paul and Paula. Ray wrote the # 1 world wide hit, “Hey, Hey Paula”. Kim and I rode with

 “Paul and Paula” to do a concert in Ft. Worth with Bruce Channel of “Hey Baby” fame, Claude King Of “Wolverton Mountain”   fame, Jimmy Velvet and Scotty McKay. We went along just to listen but they were short one act and asked Ray if they could do  another twenty minutes.

 Ray said, “No” and I spoke up and said, “We’ve got 20 minutes”. The DJ turned to Ray and asked, “Is he for real?” Ray said, “Oh   yes, put them up there.” He asked me who we were and I had just seen a new sign for a new hotel chain and said, “The   Ramadas”.  Right then and there we became The Ramadas. We got a standing ovation and as we walked off the stage, a man   sitting in a chair asked me if we had a record deal. I said,”No.” and he said, “You do now. Can you be in Ft. Worth to record next   week?’ We did and became “The Ramadas” signed to Phillips Records, a major label.”

Frank Iarossi

Born in Albany, N.Y., Frank’s  father, Frank Sr. worked three jobs, one being a professional alto sax player, so music was a major part of his life from a young age.  

   Although his Dad played Jazz and Pop, Frank was enammered by The Beatles and Rock’n Roll!   Starting on piano at the age of seven, then guitar at the age of eleven, and adding drums at the age of thirteen.      

   By the time he was on drums he was into The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, C.C.R., Deep Purple, The Stones, The Who, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.  For some reason Frank was able to sing  with no effort on whatever instrument he was playing which greatly contributed to his songwriting skills.

   After graduating High School in the San Fernando Valley, CA., Frank moved to Alaska to work for his uncle delivering heating fuel.  However, in 1974,  Frank began full time music career.     

   Frank was able to adapt to play many styles from Rock to Country to Jazz which made it easy to find work in Alaska, Canada, and the Lower 48 states.  Frank also worked as a session player and writer in that time frame at Arctic Studios in Anchorage, AK.  

   In 1975 Country Entertainer Jack Reeves recorded three of Frank’s original songs (co-written with Terry Lee Hardesty) on his album Wabash Cannonball.  The album also featured the Palimino House Band (JD Maness, John Hobbs, Curtis Stone, Archie Francis) on backing tracks .  

   In 1982 Frank  co-wrote and recorded an album with Alaska’s premiere Rock band Tytus Canby, but the album was never released.   In 1992 Frank wrote and  recorded the album Wildfire/Surviving and Thriving with along with his best friend and fabulous musician/singer/songwriter Harlan Gamble.  

   In 1994 Frank recorded the first of three solo albums, The Word Is Love.  In 2005 he recorded Where Are You Now?, and in 2016 he recorded A New Day.  Frank’s  songs have been played on several radio stations including KYAK 107.5 and KNBC 90.3 in Alaska, and on Sun Radio 100.1, KZSM Radio San Marcos, and KWVH 94.1 Wimberley Valley Radio in Texas.

Frank continues to write, record, and perform at many places around the South Central Texas area.


The Songwriter Series features public performances by singer-songwriters who were mentored, inspired, or influenced by Kent Finlay at Cheatham Street Warehouse. These special scheduled performances, free to the public and sponsored by the Cheatham Street Music Foundation, are part of the Foundation’s commitment to preserving and promoting Kent’s legacy. They will be scheduled and held in cooperation with Cheatham Street Warehouse, which supports the Foundation’s efforts to host Songwriter’s Circle each Wednesday night as well as other special events from time to time.

This will be a “listening” night full of stories, songs, and reflections on Kent’s legacy. We hope to see a lot of you there!

Future Events:

March 11, 2020——-Brigitte London & Mick Byrd.

Past Shows Have Included:

Terri Hendrix & Susan Gibson

Jeff Plankenhorn & Michael O’Connor

The Weeping Willows with HalleyAnna & Dustin Welch

Grant Ewing & Pake Rossi

Mike Ethan Messik & Jordan Minor

Jamie Lynn Wilson & Bill Whitbeck

George Ensle & Shad Blair

Shelley King and John Arrthur Martinez

Adam and Chris Carroll

Tish Hinojosa and Mark Jungers