The Hunts have music in their blood.
Raised in Chesapeake, Virginia, the seven Hunt siblings got their first taste for homemade tunes around the age of five or six, when their parents threw violins in their hands and brought them to family performances. Since then, there’s been no stopping them. To date, they have over 13.5 million streams on Spotify. The down-to-earth, alt-rock group has opened for Billboard-topping artists like The Fray, Judah & The Lion, and X Ambassadors, and embarked on two national tours with O.A.R. As for festivals, the siblings have played at some of the top concerts across the nation, including Austin City Limits Music Festival, Summerfest, Landmark, and Firefly.
This weekend, on October 6, the talented young band swings by the newly revamped Lumberyard in Catskill as part of the final leg of its tour for its album Darlin’ Oh Darlin’, which dropped in February 2018. All seven siblings, who range in age from 20 to 29, will be there: Jessi (viola, banjo, vocals), Jenni (violin, lead vocals), Josh (guitar, lead vocals), Jonathan (keys, vocals), Jordan (drums, vocals), Justin (bass, vocals), and Jamison (mandolin, vocals). In anticipation of the show, we spoke to Jessi Kinstler, the eldest Hunt who, along with her twin sister Jenni, paved the way for The Hunts as they are known today.
Asking as someone with zero musical talent, what was it like growing up in such a musical family?
Jessi Kinstler: It was awesome. My mom was a classic violinist and my dad was an electric musician. As we got older, they started bringing us to shows. It was kind of a natural progression.
You all started playing so early. When was the first moment you felt “this is for me” about music?
JK: When we were little kids, it was very different back then. We played cover tunes, classical tunes for weddings. We catered to whatever. Around 2007, it was my sister’s and my senior year. Jenni, my sister, had written a song. We did the composition together. We fell in love with that – composing the song and making our own arrangement. We liked creating our own sound.
Back then it was my sister and my brother, Josh, and me. Now, all seven of us are all heavily involved in every lyric, every note. It’s a full team effort.
What’s it like to go on tour with all your siblings?
JK: It’s been a really fun part of growing up with each other. We travel in an RV. There’s two babies with us two now. I have a son and my sister has a son. But it’s something we all love doing.
How has your music progressed since you began?
JK: I think our music has matured a lot. We were beginner songwriters. Then we zoned in on what we want to be saying or talking about.
You’ve played with some pretty epic bands. Do any performances stand out as particularly unforgettable?
JK: We got to open for the band O.A.R. They played in Red Rocks in Colorado, which is the most incredible amphitheater. It’s in the middle of these red rocks. It was an incredible opportunity.
We love the intimate performances too, the mix of both. It’s a chance to get to talk to the audience and get to know the people there.
What does the future look like for the band?
JK: We have a couple more tours to finish, but we’re taking off most of December for the holidays. We just released our album in February, then we’ve been touring. I feel like we’ve had a really good reception.
If you could play with anyone, which artists would be on your bucket list?
JK: Oh, there are so many awesome bands and musicians! The Lumineers would be super fun to do something with. They’re up there for me. But if you ask each of my siblings, they probably have a different answer.