Soulful singer Con Hunley was born and raised in Fountain City in the Smoky Mountain foothills of East Tennessee. One of six children, Con had music in his life from birth. His first entrance into the music world was singing Gospel songs at church with his family. Con was overjoyed when his parents bought him a used “Stella” guitar for Christmas when he was nine years old. His parents taught him basic chords and some simple songs.
Con’s first professional gig came in 1964 at the Eagles Club in downtown Knoxville. He played in a band that was headed up by Gene Hammock. Gene was a well-known local singer who sang in the style of Jim Reeves and Eddie Arnold. The gig paid $12.00 for three hours, which was more than Con was making per hour at the local mill.
Con was determined to get out of the mill, and in May of 1965 he joined the Air Force where he hoped to learn a trade. During recruitment testing, the Air Force found that Con was mechanically inclined. After basic training, Con was sent to a tech school at Chanute AFB in Illinois where he was taught aircraft hydraulic and pneumatic systems. While there, Con played with a local band. As the Vietnam War deescalated, Con was transferred to Castle AFB near Atwater, CA. He found a job playing piano at the Empire Lounge in Atwater, and from that moment he was destined for a career in music. He played there until his discharge in 1968.
In 1975 Con went to Nashville. With the help of guitarist Larry Morton, who was band leader for Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, cut five sides: “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 gained national radio airplay. Soon after, he was invited by his good friend Bobby Denton at WIVK Radio to participate with him at the Acuff-Rose Publishing Company Golf Tournament in Nashville. After the first day of the tournament the golfer/musicians, made up of the biggest names in Country Music, had a “guitar pull.” Bobby Denton asked Con to sing. He sang two songs after a lot of persuasion but was totally in awe of everyone in the room. A few days after the tournament, his phone started ringing and within the week had had offers from five major labels.
After the dust settled, Con signed with Warner Bros. Records and began scoring hits like “What’s New with You,” “Oh Girl,” “Week-End Friend,” “You’ve Still Got a Place in My Heart,” “You Lay a Whole Lot of Love on Me,” “Since I Fell for You” and other songs. It was during these years that Con was nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year and Newcomer of the Year by ACM and CMA.
In 1982 Con recorded his biggest hit to date, “Oh Girl.” During that time he was touring with various artists including George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Alabama, The Gatlin Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys and others. His passionate vocals had won him a devoted and enthusiastic fan base, so gaining a new recording contract wasn’t a problem. He moved to MCA Records, where he issued a 1983 version of Porter Wagoner’s classic “Satisfied Mind” which featured the Grand Ole Opry legend as his guest vocalist. After a major shakeup at MCA, Jim Fogelsong, who signed Con to MCA, moved to Capitol Records. Con followed Fogelsong to Capitol, and began recording a new album, resulting in a new string of singles, including the much-aired “What Am I Gonna Do About You.”