Musically adept family band brings warmth, versatility to Geneseo

Fresh off touring as the opener for O.A.R, up-and-coming indie-folk rockers The Hunts lent some heat to a freezing cold Geneseo night with a spirited performance on Saturday Feb. 13 in Wadsworth Auditorium. This concert was part of the Limelight and Accents Performing Arts Series. Since the 1960s, bands with leanings toward folk traditions have held an important place in the music industry. Folk music has recently risen to new popularity with bands such as The Lumineers and The Head and The Heart achieving commercial success with their unique takes on the classic folk music style.

The Hunts—a seven-member band of brothers and sisters who hail from Chesapeake, Virginia—are part of today’s indie-folk music wave whose style and instrumental leanings combine classic folk with an alt-pop sound.

At the start, The Hunts seemed to be settling in for an old-school folk performance; the five brothers and two sisters lining the stage poised with banjos, mandolins, violins and drums. Once the music started, however, the concert felt anything but old-fashioned. The Hunts’ pure joy for their music—along with their grinning and dancing for the entirety of the concert—created a warm and fun-filled feeling for the show.

In addition, each of the multi-talented Hunt siblings sing and play a variety of instruments; keeping things fresh and adding a degree of intrigue about who will be playing next and showing their range of talent.

Accompanying The Hunts on tour are the performers’ parents, both of whom are musicians in their own rights. During the show, The Hunts talked to the audience and explained how as each child would grow up, they would join their parents at shows until they all started to play together.

The majority of songs that were performed came from The Hunts’ debut 2015 studio album Those Younger Days. The album includes “Make This Leap,” which has been in rotation on many indie radio stations and is currently the band’s most streamed song on Spotify. The band also played a number of songs they said would be on their next album, which they expect to release sometime this year.

The show also featured two “intermissions.” In the first, sisters Jenni and Jessi Hunt performed a timely, Valentine’s Day-themed version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with a ukulele accompaniment. This got the crowd singing along with them, adding to the homey feel of the concert.

The next solo featured the band’s chief songwriter and vocalist Josh Hunt soloing on a song he wrote. Josh Hunt admitted—surprisingly—that he typically didn’t have a good history with audience reactions to his solos. To his observed relief, the song was a great hit with the Geneseo audience of both students and locals.

The band’s live performance offered a unique perspective on just what the musicians are capable of. Without all the voice enhancers and production found so commonly in today’s music, the artists are reliant on their skills and showmanship. This can either be an eye-opening introduction to the depth of the artist’s talent or it can reveal how superficial the band really is—the former being the case for The Hunts.

The Hunts did not disappoint. They warmed the auditorium on the blisteringly cold night with their music, showcasing what’s earned them a place in the ranks of today’s successful American folk revivalist musicians.