The Hunts are an indie folk band of seven members (who are all siblings ranging from ages 16 to 24) from the southlands of Chesapeake, Virginia. The band is made up of 2 sisters and 5 brothers: Jenni and Jessi (twins), Josh, Jonathan, Jordan, Justin, and Jamison. (Yes, all of their names really start with J). They are very talented; writing their own lyrics, composing their music, and playing a vast variety of instruments.
Driven by a passion for creating compelling music, these seven brothers and sisters collaborate with one another to enhance their individual gifts of writing, composing, and musicianship. Stringed instruments, surrounded by enchanting harmonies and thrilling rhythms, invoke an organic yet transcendent sound. They turn memories into songs that capture heartache and wonder with a wide-eyed but wistful elegance.
“Growing up the way we did, we had to learn to make do with what we had, so the stories from that time are incredibly special to us,” says Jessi. All seven members of The Hunts write each song together. “A lot of the time we write about what we remember from being young—the things we went through that have drawn us together and stuck in our hearts and really made us who we are.”
Raised in “a little tiny house but with lots of land,” each of The Hunts learned to play violin as students in the music school run by their mother (a classically trained violinist) and picked up guitar with the help of their father (an arborist who taught himself to play by ear).
“Our mom and dad played together as a duo for a long time, and then they added each of us kids into the group whenever we were able to play along,” explains Jessi. “We started performing out in the community, playing everything from patriotic songs to Irish folk songs to songs from Disney movies,” she adds.
As the kids grew as musicians and started exploring different genres, The Hunts began introducing new instruments to their repertoire. “If there was something that caught our interest, our mom was really quick to put that instrument in our hands,” says Jessi. “Like when Jordan realized he liked the drums, she found him a drum set at a yard sale, and he taught himself to play. She really encouraged us to pursue whatever we were drawn to.”
They have been playing music for as long as they can remember. Early on, the kids took on their own music personalities and developed diverse talents. Instruments include fiddle, viola, bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, keys, accordion, drums, and percussion.
Rather than posting their music online, The Hunts created a demo CD that made its way through the music community and ultimately wound up in the hands of 13-time Grammy nominee producer Mark Carman in Nashville, TN to make an album in his studio.
Recorded live in just four days and released in late 2012, We Were Young features ten original songs that greatly expand The Hunts’ reach. “When we put out the album, we sent a few songs to a radio station that plays local bands for an hour every Sunday night,” recalls Jenni. “We were expecting to wait until that Sunday to see if they played us, but instead they put ‘Make This Leap’ into daily rotation, which was so exciting.”
The track quickly attracted the attention of New York City-based Songs Music Publishing, which in turn, paved the way for The Hunts’ signing with Cherrytree Records/Interscope.
Although their tastes now run from folk-rock to noise-pop, The Hunts hold true to a songwriting process that taps into each member’s unique strengths but remains intensely collaborative.
“Everyone’s very much deeply involved every step of the way, everyone’s ears and hearts are in every single line,” says Jenni.
While getting seven strong-minded brothers and sisters to agree on every last note and lyric can sometimes be chaotic, The Hunts note that the synergy born from that chaos is what makes the band so strong.
“I like to look at our hectic way of writing as actually really helpful to us as songwriters,” says Josh. “Each one of us is a filter, and after going through all seven of those filters, each song is so much better than it could ever be if we each just wrote on our own.”
“One of our favorite things is for all seven of us to sing together at once, and I think people really like to see the special camaraderie that comes from brothers and sisters creating something together,” says Jessi.
“Growing up, we didn’t really have much,” adds Jenni. “But we did have music, and that was the thing that always brought us together. I can’t think of anything better than growing that relationship even deeper, through making more music that comes right from our hearts.”
Their featured single “Make This Leap” is a lilting piece of indie-folk layered harmonies, intricately textured acoustic instrumentation, and lyrics that gracefully shift from melancholy to triumphant. With Josh and Jenni taking turns as lead vocalist, The Hunts sustain that dynamic throughout their concerts.
The Hunts have toured the country and worldwide for over 10 years, performing at countless festivals, universities, and performing arts centers.
The Hunts perform at Greenwood Performing Arts Center, Saturday, December 10, at 7:00PM. Reserved seating is available at etix.com, Greenwood Public School Administration Building, greenwoodk12.com, or by calling 479-996-4142. The PAC lobby opens at 5:30PM. To learn more about The Hunts, visit thehuntsmusic.com.