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Con Hunley - Shoot From The Heart 
Album Review By: Penny Rondinella, CSO Staff Journalist 

It wasn't until Hunley was about 10 years old that he finally realized that not everyone played the guitar like his whole family did. He was one of six children born into country music in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. If he wasn't singing and picking at home with his family he was at church singing songs with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

Chet Atkins was an idol of Hunley's and he taught himself to play thumb-style guitar. But Atkins wasn't the only musical influence he had in his life, Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis were as well. He also taught himself how to play the piano by ear because of a love affair he had with Ray Charles' music. He says that Charles had the greatest influence in his playing and in the style of his music.

While in the Air Force back in the early 60's, Hunley played in a local band, but shortly after was transferred to Castle AFB in California where he found a job playing piano. From then on he was destined to pursue a career in music. He played in California until his discharge from the Air Force in 1968 and then returned to Knoxville, TN. The mid 70's found Hunley in Nashville at the famed Studio B, cutting five sides, which some of you readers may know: "Misery Loves Company," "Pick Up The Pieces," "I'll Always Remember That Song," "Deep In The Arms of Texas" and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," which received national radio airplay. He was once asked to participate in the Acuff-Rose Publishing Company Golf Tournament in Nashville with other golfers and musicians, made up of the biggest names in country music. They asked Hunley to sing, reluctantly he did, and with in a few days he received offers from five major labels.

He then signed with Warner Bros Records, and began making hits like: "Oh Girl," "Week-End Friend," "What's New with You," "You Lay a Whole Lot of Love on Me," "You've Still Got a Place in My Heart, and "Since I Fell for You." During this season of many hits, Hunley was nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and Newcomer of the Year by ACM and CMA. His world was on fire. Then to make it even hotter, along came his biggest hit of all "Oh Girl." He toured with many other famous artists including, The Gatlin Brothers, Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tammy Wynette and George Jones. He then moved to MCA Records, then on to Capital Records and achieved more aired singles.

He walked away from the Music Industry for a while, because it became harder and harder to make records or sing songs he found, that the studios didn't really think he should be singing. So he went back to Knoxville and went into business with his brother and built a chain of dry-cleaning establishments. But Hunley wasn't gone for long, by the 1990's, he was back singing locally and hosting his own Golf Tournaments annually in Knoxville to raise money for his charities.

Both his parents are gone now, and they always said to him: 'Don't you ever give up, don't ever quit." and he didn't give up, he's still doing what he loved doing as a boy and says: "So if I've given it all these years, why not give it the rest of my life? And I'm thankful for that decision every day."

In 2004 Hunley made a comeback album titled Sweet Memories which got him many praises. Not only that, it was released on his independent label IMMI Records. His albums from 1979-82 are now also being reissued as IMMI Records CDs. Now we come to the follow-up to Sweet Memories.

Shoot From The Heart, his brand new record and title track on this album of an amazing collection of tunes to capture every mood, from country ballads to some bluesy and rockin' type tunes to get your toe tapping, or get you off your seat and really move your feet. Produced by Norro Wilson and Hunley and released on IMMI Records. He also offers a few "Words From Con," a nice, personal touch in which he introduces the two final tracks on the record.

His rendition of "Georgia on My Mind," which he recorded as a tribute to Ray Charles is phenomenal. Along with Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me Lord, which tells the story of this amazing singers sorrowful (yet recovered) alcohol abuse. He states:

"When I left the record business, I had a bitter taste in my mouth. I think I wallowed in self-pity quite a bit. I felt rejected. Alcohol was a refreshment for so long, and then it became a crutch and a drug. It was around 2000 when I decided to do something about it."

Well that he did, and much kudos to you Mr. Hunley, I for one am very proud of you and I know many others are as well. Keep doing what you love and sing the songs you can be proud of, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Click on the CD cover to order yours!

1. Shoot From The Heart 
2. Deep In The Arms Of Texas 
3. Rockin' In The Arms Of Your Memory 
4. The Keys 
5. I Can't Make It Alone 
6. I Can See You With My Eyes Closed 
7. Look At Me Loving You Again 
8. Just Like Old Times 
9. Georgia On My Mind 
10. That Old Clock 
11. Words From Con 
12. Hollow Man 
13. Why Me Lord

Related Links:
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