Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty Hunter were a long way from their Shaunavon, Saskatchewan farm when they rolled into Giant Tiger in Scarborough for their pop up performance to trade tractors for harmonies.
These five brothers are one of Canada’s rising star acts in country music, with singles El Dorado, Long Way To Love You, Getaway, and (their most recent) Born And Raised connecting with audiences coast-to-coast and making fans and the industry take notice. The Hunter Brothers released their debut album, Getaway, in March 2017, and have seen success in the form of fan base growth, top 40 singles, and more than 2 million streams on Spotify.
We caught up with the Hunter Brothers before their acoustic performance in Scarborough to talk about the feelings of releasing new music, hearing a crowd sing along, hockey, and farming… and which parody song they like best from their growing collection.
Before we even got started, the boys took notice of the vintage 1989 Grey Cup Championship Saskatchewan Roughriders cap I was wearing. Here’s a general tip for anyone that lives in any province or territory in Canada other than Saskatchewan: ‘Riders gear is always a good way to start a conversation!
I asked Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty about the feeling of releasing new music to the world, asking if it was scarier or more nerve wracking than knowing rain was coming in when there was work to do in the fields. The boys explained that the differences are many, and that when it comes to the farm, they know they can hit the panic button, buckle down and work hard and fast until it’s done. But with their music, things are different, with J.J. comparing it more to hockey (which the boys all played to various levels, and we got back to a little later) where you can prepare yourself, feel confident that you’re ready, but still don’t really know what the outcome is going to be. They ended up labeling it nervous excitement whenever new music comes from them to the world.
Back to hockey for just a minute, I asked which of the Hunter Brothers had the best hands, and they all agreed that J.J. ended up with the most developed skills… but that Brock had the most natural ability when it came time to dangle. Being that they’re all so freaking nice, they also gave nods to Dusty’s dangle ability, Luke’s shot, and Ty’s natural and steady ability to play a strong defensive game, always knowing what to do with the puck. It was a giant hockey love fest between these guys.
We asked the boys what it’s been like to see the reaction and acceptance from country music fans in Canada, and they lit up. They have loved the experience of sharing their music, and when they look out and see people singing along it can shake them. They mentioned the crowd in Oshawa at the OHL General’s game a few days ago, and being 3,000 kilometres away they could still look out and see Ontarians singing along. It’s special to them.
In Scarborough, the Hunter Brothers played three songs, spreading their harmonies out over the store, and giving everyone a taste of what they bring to the country music table. And with Getaway, El Dorado, and Born And Raised, they earned applause, saw cellphone cameras in the air, and genuinely looked like they were enjoying themselves.
Before the boys got ready to play, we asked two more questions…
1) Who would you most like to play a show with?
The brothers told us that there are a lot of names on their list… but that the first one they would all be able to agree on would be Rascal Flatts, who they’ve been listening to for a long time.
2) Which of their song parodies is their favourite? (If you haven’t seen the Hunter Brothers parodies, head to Facebook now and scroll through their videos!)
There were two answers… their Coke parody and their most popular parody to date (and my personal favourite) The Combine Got Stuck.
Big thanks to Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty Hunter for taking a few minutes to hang out. We’re looking forward to more chances to see the boys play and to talk about sports, the farm, and music.