The Hunts Live at The McKinney Performing Arts Center: Amazing!

5280Last month I had the immense joy of seeing The Hunts live at the McKinney Performing Arts Center. This was a phenomenal concert, and one of the best evenings I’ve ever had!

The Hunts are seven siblings that comprise a fabulous Alternative-Folk band from Chesapeake, Virginia. Their music style is influenced by a mix of their mother’s classical violin lessons, their father’s taste in 70’s/80’s music and self-taught guitar skills, and all seven’s varying music preferences. This, and a lyric inspiring childhood, creates the beautiful, rock out, from the heart, and completely original take on music that The Hunts play.

We sat down in McKinney’s historic Colin County courthouse and waited for the show to begin. The lights dimmed as a piano and electric guitar began to slowly introduce the room to “Illuminate“. With Josh’s raw and honest way of singing, their music’s soul-stirring orchestration, and some of the most heartfelt and profound lyrics I have ever heard, it was amazing to see this song performed live.5456

Their ceaseless joy and unity onstage showed throughout their concert, but it was at its sweetest during “Valentina“: a lovely song written about a girl they met while hosting a summer music camp for children in Haiti. I knew that this was Josh Hunt’s favorite at the time from him telling me in our interview, and it showed as his face became far more animated for that song. Seeing their happy faces light up thinking about her made it impossible for the audience to not smile.5278

The same joy and unity can be said about “Lifting The Sea“. Jenni explained how they wrote it about their dreams to travel and how through their music they’ve been able to do so. It was something of a sweet comradery as all of them, dreamy-eyed, harmonized the story of their wanderlust and dreams come true. I had chills it was so wonderful.5330#2

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From their cheeky sibling banter to even drumming on the dining room chair, seeing how much fun The Hunts had during their concert made the show that much more enjoyable! I loved hearing Jordan sing “Next To Me” partly because it’s so fun and happy I wish this could be the soundtrack to my life, and partly because of Josh pointing out that the seven of them whistling in this song reminded him of the seven dwarfs. This spurred on a question of which dwarf he’d be, to that one of them replied with a mischievous “Choose wisely”.  😀5507

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The sisters Jessi and Jenni took the stage to croon a more-than-lovely cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can Help Falling In Love” dedicated to Jessi’s at the time fiancé, now husband. These girls have the prettiest voices! Their breathtaking timbres and glorious harmonies make my soul faint! *sigh* It was adorable seeing their sweet smiles and knowing glances to each other throughout the song. 5503

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I thought the night couldn’t get any better than what I had experienced so far. Oh how wrong was I! What came soon after but the amazement that is “Above the Storm” composed by Jonathan Hunt. Its awe-striking orchestration, building crescendos, and awakening harmonies pulsed the room with adrenaline. It soon flowed into a cheery and rhythmic melody, that gracefully melted into a heavy minor chorded piano solo rather akin to Hoizer. This song is epic bliss to say the very least.5815

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After that gloriousness my night continued to be wonderful with an emotion-filled performance of “Douse The Flame“. Its stunning violins and passionate lyrics of how dear their past is pulled at my heart! “…Still adventure seems to storm our very bones! We were young, but I’ll remember the clouds stampeding as my heart was overthrown!…” It was beautiful!5564

I was like a small child by the end of the night with my enthrallment and joy of each coming song. Especially so when they played the one song I had to watch and not take notes on; the one I wanted to enjoy (and shout the words to the top of my lungs). None other than, “Make This Leap”. This song is so extraordinarily better live! Being able to see the dance of music before me is something that you’ll have to see live to understand. *sighs* It was perfect!5693

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With a final performance of “Ages” I was thrilled. They totally rocked this country-style anthem with their building cries and stamping feet. I was overwhelmed with amazement! And can I say seeing Jessi rock out strumming on a banjo, was awesome! Their ending harmonies were heavenly to behold and it flawlessly caped off my evening.5902

I was in an elated state at the end of this concert, but that skyrocketed when we were able to get not just an encore song, but the best performance of “Folsom Prison Blues” I have ever heard in my life! With Jenni’s hot country vocals, Jonathan’s killer piano solo, and Jessi’s fiddling making strings of her bow, it was spectacular! I must say, I no longer feel this song is complete without a mandolin, but I don’t think anyone can fill that role for this song better than Jamison Hunt.

To top off this gloriousness the siblings called onstage their guitar-god of a father, Mr. Clint Hunt! This man has learned to play guitar by ear, and he is one of the best guitarists I have ever seen live, and I’ve seen many excellent guitarists before! (Can I learn how to play guitar like him?) It was a gorgeous moment, and one that Johnny Cash would certainly be proud of!5941

This show was an absolute gift! I had an amazing time and my one complaint about their show is that it had to end! The Hunts’ wisdom and emotion is astonishing, and their extreme passion and love for music inspires me greatly. The best part is how humble The Hunts are. Something Jenni said while thanking the audience for coming out really showed their humility, “We’re just seven kids from Virginia who play music“, and I love how after I can run out of words to describe their *pick a word that means really good, and place here*-ness, they are so down to earth and some of the kindest people you’ll meet. You will not be disappointed at their concert. GO SEE THE HUNTS!

Thank you so much to Sandy, Clint, Jessi, Jenni Dowling, Josh, Jonathan, Jordan, Justin, and Jamison Hunt. I had a wonderful evening and I can’t wait until you all come back to Dallas!

You can find The Hunts on: Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and at thehuntsmusic.com. Click here for tour dates to see if this awesome band will be coming near you.

Many thanks to Sarah Forshaw of Forshaw Photography for letting me use your pictures from that night! All images in this post are hers. You can find Forshaw Photography on: Facebook and at sarahforshaw.wordpress.com

Happy Saturday! -Gems of Genres

 

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