For two decades, San Francisco artist Stephanie Finch has made her music a family affair. Rather than step in the spotlight, she’s been content to play keyboards behind and trade vocals with her guitarist husband Chuck Prophet. But that could change with “Cry Tomorrow,” her first official solo album, with feisty originals such as “Transmission” and “Don’t Back Out Now,” cowritten on guitar with her longtime chum Randall Homan. Then again, family’s still involved. Prophet — for whom Finch will open in town next week — is in her backing band, The Company Men.
How did you and Chuck first get together, anyway? We got together, I think, in 1990, and we just moved in together right away. But we didn’t get married until 1998. When I first moved up here I was going out with (singer-songwriter) Patrick Winningham, so I met Chuck through him. Then Chuck and I started trying to do little duets together, then our respective relationships imploded and we became a couple.
Why did you wait so long for your solo debut? Well, it’s technically my second album — I did one back in 2000 as Go Go Market, and it came out on the Evangeline label over in England. But I’ve had a great time being a sideman, too. I’ve loved being in Chuck’s band, and we’ve done a lot together. So it’s not like I’ve aggressively been pursuing a solo career or anything. With this record, I’d been working on some songs with Randall, and she’s one of the first people I met when I moved to San Francisco. I met her in acting class.
Acting class? Yeah! I’d already had one acting experience. There was an HBO special where they recreated the trial of the Chicago Seven, verbatim. And evidently, Judy Collins took the witness stand and broke into “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” So that was my part, and it was exciting to be Judy Collins for a while. So I took some acting classes up here after that.
And you’re covering a Randy Newman song, “She’s the One”? That song has a funny story. Do you remember a short-lived ‘90s TV series called “Cop Rock”? Well, Randy Newman wrote the music for it, and a friend of ours who’d auditioned for it said, “I have a cassette of him doing all these songs.” So Chuck and I were such huge fans, we always kept it. And “She’s the One” is one of those “Cop Rock” songs. So it’s actually an unrecorded Randy Newman song.
IF YOU GO
Stephanie Finch and The Company Men
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco
When: 9 p.m. June 18
Contact: (415) 885-0750; www.gamhtickets.com