Wednesday, 17 February 2016 14:23

Brothers hunting for mainstream success, but won’t forget their roots

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The Hunters (Dusty, Luke, Ty, Brock and J.J.) are hoping to get some significant air time on radio airwaves and on the internet. The Hunters (Dusty, Luke, Ty, Brock and J.J.) are hoping to get some significant air time on radio airwaves and on the internet. Photo contributed

The Hunter Brothers are rolling and are using an El Dorado to do it.

It was just a matter of time before the group of brothers from Shaunavon — Brock, Dusty, Luke, J.J. and Ty — became more well known worldwide for their musical prowess.
In recent years, they have been gaining popularity and the music world outside of Saskatchewan is realizing their vocal talents. They have toured across Canada and have played many festivals and concerts, but now are trying their hand in mainstream country music.
It seems to be going well as they cracked the Top 10 iTunes country chart at No. 9.
It’s pretty impressive for their first try and Luke says they are humbled by the support. While they’ve gained a lot of new fans worldwide, the humble and classy bass player says it’s been gratifying to hear from their family and friends.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” says Luke, just back in southwest Saskatchewan from Nashville. “The support from our local surroundings, as well as new friends on Twitter and Facebook has been great.”
Luke says their sound and interest always came back to country and it was a natural addition to what they were already doing.
Their El Dorado video featuring Ty as lead singer is smooth. Lyrics focus on what many prairie guys do: showing their admiration for a girl with a cool vehicle instead of a truck. El Dorado is shot in a barn, and some of their promo photographs were taken in front of a metal grain bin.
No concerns about forgetting or turning their back on their prairie upbringing which had a heavy musical focus. One of their grandfathers was involved with music, they all sang southern gospel and were involved in church activities as well as the gospel festival every June in Shaunavon. They initially did some touring and singing together as The Hunter Family with their mother and father.
However with a farm to look after, the parents stayed behind and it was the boys who forged ahead with music.
“Music has always been a passion of ours and the family,” says Luke. “Mom was passionate about music. Dad was equally passionate about sports. There was a rule in our house: if we did one, we had to do the other.
“We talked about it together as brothers. We definitely don’t want to go away from our individuality and our country (and gospel) roots because we’re country boys and that’s where we’re from — the farm, open roads, open field and that’s who we are ... Naturally when you listen to the country music and gospel growing up and now perform, you still have the freedom talk about what you believe in and know.”
Luke says this hasn’t come by accident and they certainly didn’t do it on their own. They have a lot of friends in the industry they have asked advice of and followed. None bigger than the popular High Valley.
In fact, one of the band members, Brad Rempel, has been a friend, mentor and helped with production on the new CD. The Hunters even enlisted the help of Grammy-award winning producer Seth Mosley.
“The Rempels have been a huge foundation for us with this,” says Luke of Brad and Curtis Rempel. “They are our closest friends, they’ve paved the way. They are always just a phone call away when we have a question about ‘what happens in this or that scenario.’ They are like us, with having Christian values and they stood firm in their roots. It’s respectable and they are in a way who we are trying to model after.”
The Hunters are giving it their best shot, but Luke notes trying to hit it big wasn’t part of some master plan about becoming major music stars.
“Growing up in Saskatchewan, you hear about the Cravens and the other musical festivals of the world, but it never necessarily crossed our minds to want to become famous,” he explains. “People would call and ask us to perform at different events. It’s been real exciting because we grew up to working with farm implements and singing in church events. It seems a little surreal right now. Even more concerts and events are within reach ... We’re excited about the possibilities.”
Luke says they are thankful for their management team and those helping them with administration and promotion both directly and within the ever-expanding social media world so they can concentrate on the music itself which makes life a lot easier.
They have a large circle of friends outside of music and southwest Saskatchewan, as their ties to the hockey community are also well known. Luke played with the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos, including time as captain. Some remember J.J. from his time with the Edmonton Oilers organization, but mostly with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. Even their uncle “Jungle” Jim Hunter, was a famous Canadian Olympian and professional skier.
While they are aiming for mainstream country music, Hunter says they definitely have not and will not forget their roots as a gospel group. They performed in their hometown’s Gospel Jam in Shaunavon last June.
(Check out their stirring rendition of The Old Rugged Cross on YouTube for a sample.)
Hockey ended for Luke after trying out for a professional team in Las Vegas after his WHL career and one year stint at the University of Calgary was over.
The pressure of a big hockey game with all fans eyes on you is different than being in concert.
“The two are similar in the sense of I get nervous before both. Nerves are a great thing, but the excitement is different,” Luke explains. “With a concert, you are standing right there and are right in front of people wanting to be entertained ... that is the most stressful ...  because there’s pressure of doing them right. We want to be well worth it and so people have a good evening.” 
Luke admits there’s some pressure, but there’s no people he’d rather be with than his four brothers on stage or in the studio. One would think if you’ve spent that much time together your entire life, either on the rod touring as a family with your parents singing or working on the farm, it may get monotonous. Not so says Luke. In fact, if anything it’s an awesome adventure with those who mean the most to each other.
“It’s going to be new and fresh because we’re green to a lot of it,” says Luke of the upcoming tour, which is yet to be completely finalized. “We’re going day by day and the awesome thing is that we’re doing it together. We farm together, play hockey together and we can lean on each other.
“I can look to my left or my right and there’s a calmness there and the anxiety (of being perfect musically) goes away and we’re comfortable. I’m doing it with my best friends. We want to do make our family and friends proud; we want to make Saskatchewan proud, make Canada proud. We want to do a good job for them. We don’t want to let anyone down ... there’s a lot of expectations and we’re all equally excited. The journey is just starting.”

Read 4992 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 14:29
Ryan Dahlman

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