Traveling family bands have always fascinated me. I think of perfect-pitch harmonies and stair-step siblings carrying instruments. I envision a mom or dad in the wings, making sure everyone has their equipment ready and shoes on at show time. I even conjure thoughts of cool, psychedelic buses because I’m a child of the 70s who watched the Partridge Family.
So I’m planning to be there when The Hunts perform at the Central DeWitt Performing Arts Center next Monday, November 21, in DeWitt, IA. The Hunts are an impressive, talented Indie-folk family band from Chesapeake, VA. The band consists of the seven Hunt siblings including twin sisters Jessi and Jenni (27), plus their five younger brothers: Josh (25), Jonathan (23), Jordan (22), Justin (20) and Jamison (18).
After I listened to songs from Those Younger Days on Spotify, (their EP is driven by crystal clear lead vocals, wonderful harmonies, dramatic beats and delicately arranged instrumentals with lots of strings), I connected with the band for an email interview to learn more.
Jessi Hunt responded with answers to these 10 questions:
- What can an audience expect at one of your performances? “At a Hunts show you can expect to hear mostly original songs (we throw in a cover or two here and there). From song to song, we switch around instruments and lead singers. Our music is jam-packed with fun instruments and vocal harmonies.”
- What is your musical style? “I like to describe our genre as indie-folk…acoustic stringed instruments with thrilling rhythms, seven sibling harmonies and story telling lyrics.”
- How many instruments/what ones do the seven Hunt band members play? “We play about 15 different instruments during our show. From song to song, instruments change hands. For the most part, though, we have Josh on lead guitar and vocals; Jenni on violin and lead vocals; Jessi on strings and banjo; Jon on piano, accordion and vocals; Jordan on drums and vocals; Justin on bass and vocals and Jamison on mandolin and vocals.”
- I read that all seven members are involved in the song writing process. How does that work? “We love to write songs together! Everyone in the band writes individually, and then we also work collaboratively. Many times, one person will bring a song idea to the group, and then everyone else adds their own special touch to it. Other times, the whole band will come together and create a song from start to finish.”
- What happens if you don’t agree in your creative choices? “Each one of us is super opinionated when it comes to our music. Every little note, word, arrangement, harmony, etc. We care about every detail. We’ll work and work and work on a song until all seven of us are pleased. Sometimes we do run into creative disagreements, but I’d say for the most part we are all on the same page of the direction we want our songs to go. We have a band rule that we call EAO (exhaust all options), which basically means to try everyone’s ideas and give every person’s suggestions a fair chance! After exhausting all options we’ll take a vote and majority wins.”
- Tell me about your parents and their role with the band? “Our parents are Clint and Sandy Hunt. They were both musicians and used to perform as their own duo. Our mom (Sandy) taught a violin school that all seven of us participated in and our dad taught us guitar. As we grew older, we began to join our parents at their gigs. Pretty soon, the whole family performed together all across the country. In recent years, Momma and Papa Hunt have retired from performing and help run the band in other areas. Momma Hunt (aka momager) runs our merchandise and management. Papa Hunt runs all of our sound equipment, fixes everything that’s broken and drives the RV to every single show! We couldn’t do it with out them!” (There are no other siblings.)
- Tell us about the challenges of performing in a family band? “Working with your family can sometimes be a challenge…just because it’s so easy to treat each other in a non-professional manner. Our parents have always done a great job stressing that we are a team. We are each others’ best friends. It takes a lot of patience and a conscious effort to keep a professional environment among family, but it’s totally worth it! We absolutely love one another and all the amazing memories we’ve made in this business together. It’s a tough business to make a living by, so we feel so blessed to be doing what we love! Hard work and dedication can get you far!”
- And what’s it like to tour with nine people in an RV? “While traveling and touring across the country, there can be many long days and hours to pass. We do our best to keep it fun and enjoyable. We’ll play board games and cards, watch movies, have RV band sessions (that gets quite cramped!), along with reading and school work. (Justin and Jamison are doing online college right now.) Papa Hunt loves to take us on hikes, trails and to national parks. The guys love to find disc golf courses and ninja warrior gyms. The girls love to find antique shops, and I personally enjoy crocheting! I crochet hats and sell them at our merch table. I’d say that one of the toughest challenges of living in such small quarters is trying to keep track of your shoes!! Ha ha. The RV seems to always swallow up our shoes and small items.”
- Any musical milestones you want to share? “Some of our favorite milestones are the major festivals including Austin City Limits, Firefly Music Festival, Landmark and Summerfest. We’ve also had the honor to be the opening band for O.A.R on two major tours.”
- What is next for The Hunts? “We are currently working on a brand new album and hope to release it early in the new year! We’re super excited to release our new music into the world!! We have some fun music videos on our YouTube page.”
You can find their music and more here:
iTunes The Hunts on Apple Music
Amazon: The Hunts – Those Younger Days
Google Play: The Hunts
Spotify: The Hunts
Check out the video for their single Make This Leap.
I claim no rights to the content of the video which I found on Vevo/YouTube via their website.
The DeWitt Performing Arts Center seats about 800 people and it is awesome in itself. It was part of a $28 million addition to Central DeWitt Community High School completed in 2011. Looking forward to the concert.
DeWitt Performing Arts Center
7 PM, Monday, November 21
Learn more about Karen Bernick here. Please feel free to share this article! But please use photos with permission only – just email me with any requests. If you like this post, please consider following me here, liking my Facebook page Karen Loves Country or following me at Twitter. Thanks for reading! #TheHunts #DeWittPerformingArtsCenter
Feature photo at the top contributed by The Hunts.