By LORAINE ANDERSON
TRAVERSE CITY — Singer-songwriter Jim Hawley, who has crisscrossed the country with his guitar and spent several years in Nashville, will kick off Sleder's Family Tavern's 2013 "On the Porch" series.
The performance is Sunday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m. at the neighborhood restaurant-bar, 717 Randolph St. on the city's west side. The popular monthly series was created more than a decade ago by Sleder's owners Brian and Deb Cairns.
Hawley, who now lives in Traverse City, is known for his voice, music, wit and spontaneity. He has opened for names like Jimmy Buffett, Steve Miller, Little River Band and Leo Kotke, and recorded with some of the best session players in the music industry, said Seamus Shinners, longtime area music promoter.
His musical style is his own, yet reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg, who influenced his work. His genres include rock music from the 1960s through today, Americana, country and folk. He writes and performs his own original music as well and plays guitar, piano and harmonica.
Now 61, Hawley is no stranger to local audiences. He plays Thursday nights at Bud's in Interlochen. He also has performed at many other local venues, including Boone's, North Peak, Blue Tractor, Crystal Mountain and the Homestead Resort.
In 2008, Hawley, wife Annie and son James moved to Traverse City, a place he had visited 25 years before when he was a touring musician on the college circuit traveling between gigs in Grand Rapids and Marquette.
"Someone said I should detour and go to Traverse City," he said. "It was quite rural then, pristine and absolutely beautiful. I lived in San Diego then and couldn't get it out of my mind."
He didn't return until he and Annie decided they wanted a different quality of life than Nashville offered.
"It's the best move I ever made," he said. "I love this place and the people."
Annie Hawley, whose pen name is Anne Katheryn Hawley, is author of "Worth More Dead," a psychological thriller published last June by Conundrum Books.
Hawley, whose "day job" is a title abstract business, also is a member of the local Peter, Paul & Mary Tribute group formed by local psychiatrist Lawrence "Doc" and his wife Donna Wilson Probes with dentist David Swan on standup bass.
Tickets to Hawley's performance are $15 in advance at Sleder's, Oryana Food Cooperative and Brilliant Books, or $20 at the door. For tickets or more information, call Sleder's at 947-9213.