UNION CITY, Ohio — Duane and Linda Hawkey, who live in Union City, Ind., are awaiting Union City, Ohio Village Council’s approval before they put up a highway sign designating their son Chris’ hometown. They are planning for it to be installed on one of the highways leading into town — once they get the OK.
Chris, a well-known musician who hailed from this village and graduated in 1989 from Mississinawa Valley High School, continues to share his musical and announcing talents as well as work on various causes. He lives in Minnesota and travels a lot in his many endeavors. He even visits Union City when he can.
A former rock-n-roll singer, Chris now mostly sings country tunes, many of which he has written.
“He has a couple of top 50 hits,” his father said. “One of them is ‘My Kinda Crazy.’”
That song was launched in 2014. It was his first solo country hit record. A year later saw the release of the CD “Country Underneath” a compilation of songs that would yield three radio hits including the nationally charting single “Favorite Son.” The run of shows supporting this second solo country release would last for 18 months and see the Chris Hawkey Band play to record crowds all over the United States, as both headliner and direct support for Country Music Superstars.
His single “Good Liar” was released on Oct. 1, 2016. It was a song written by country music legend Brett James that found immediate radio airplay.
The youngest of two children of the Hawkeys, Chris got his start in the music industry when he was in his mid-teens.
“He saw an ad in the Early Bird that a band in Greenville needed a lead singer, so we told him to try out,” Linda said. “I drove him to meet with John Guttadore and Stone Blind. Ten or 11 tried out and they hired him. He was not old enough to play in bars, so his father and I had to go with him because of that. “
Not only through music did the family have fun, but Duane said he and his two sons raced BMX bikes, motorcycles and go-karts.
“And, I raced cars at Eldora from 1968-76,” Duane said. “One time, when he was 13 or 14 years old and wasn’t unable to race, Chris picked up the microphone and started announcing.”
It was then he knew he wanted to attend broadcasting school in Dayton after high school graduation to pursue a career in radio while continuing to chase his musical dreams.
“He started doing stuff at KISS (radio) and WAZU 102.0 Night Star at no pay,” Duane said. “Then he was hired at Virginia Beach, Va., as a radio person. He worked there a year. His wife, Kim, was one of the managers.”
It was when he was nearly 20 that Chris decided to move to California and pursue music and radio.
“His wife-to-be flew back and forth,” Duane said. “They were married in Union City 25 years ago.”
Because they were in the same line of work, the newlyweds could not work at the same station.
“His big break came in 2001,” his father said. ’”Everything went boom, boom, boom. He did music, radio station and football stuff. He was hired to co-host and produce the Powertrip Morning Show on sports giant KFAN Radio, a morning who which is number-one rated program in the twin Cities and now syndicated to multiple cities across the Upper Midwest on the FAN Radio Network. He also produces the radio broadcast of Minnesota Vikings’ NFL football games for the Vikings Radio Networks and is a regular contributor to the Vikings Entertainment Network. He has even brought NASCAR people into his studio. Tony Stewart (owner of Eldora Speedway) wasn’t going to talk to him but when he learned Chris raced go-karts in Union City, he decided to talk.”
The Hawkeys are afraid people around here won’t know about their son, who was born on Christmas Day, and what he’s accomplished as he lives so far away,
“Local radio stations don’t play his music,” Linda said.
“He’s very popular in Minnesota,” Linda said. “He has done a benefit for a child with tuberous sclerosis; has won a Grammy; sang overseas; and threw a pitch out for the farm team in Minnesota.”
“We’re treated like royalty there,” her husband said.
Duane said Chris has been asked to go on tour for eight years but turned it down to spend more time with his family, which now also includes Alex, 24, in Seattle, and Abby, 16.
Chris loves Union City and he loves his family. A year and two months ago, he bought a home for his parents, both of whom each deliver RV coaches from Darke County to such places as California, Nevada and Arizona.
Duane and Linda also have another son, Michael, who is married and the father of five children and a grandfather to 10 going on 11.
Contact Darke County Media Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-569-4315, ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.