Life during the Covid pandemic can be more difficult than you want to admit. But one thing that has been fun, is the sharing of various new likes on social media with friends and family we can no longer get together with. One of my adopted family posted a sea shanty on her social media by a group called Hunter Brothers.
Now, they’re a country group, so it’s not unheard of that I’ve…not heard of them. I’m not the biggest fan of country music, though I was raised on it and I absolutely don’t think badly of it. Some songs are great. I’m simply more into rock and epic pop, and alternative stuff. But when I heard this Hunter Brothers Sea Shanty, I was intrigued. I had to look into them more.
They’ve actually done well for themselves in Canada, but I’d not heard much about them here. I asked my friends who are more into country music if they had heard of the Hunter Brothers. No, they hadn’t. But when they gave a listen to Hard Dirt, they just loved it. So, I decided to write a post about them for Untapped Sound.
These are Canadian brothers, J.J., Dusty, Luke, Brock, and Ty – who grew up working their parent’s farmland in Shaunavon Saskatchewan. They grew up farming but spent their summers singing in churches all over the country. They were actually singing in churches and at festivals before their band’s future lead singer – the youngest brother – was even born!
In winter, they became heavily involved in the hockey community. Four of the five brothers played junior ice hockey and three played in the professional minor leagues. Eventually, all of the brothers sustained injuries of various kinds and returned home to continue farming with their parents on their family’s 20,000-acre farm.
For fun, they would often rewrite famous songs with words that were relevant to farming. They would also just work on harmonizing. Then, they began sharing their songs on social media. Here’s a quick example of what they would do: “The Combine’s Stuck” and a more recent addition, the chorus to Seven Bridges Road, in a silo. Fun, huh?
Since signing their record deal with Open Road Recordings in 2015, Hunter Brothers have amassed a large volume of industry credibility in a record amount of time. They released their debut single, “El Dorado”, in February 2016. It debuted on the Billboard Canada Country chart in March 2016 putting them on the Canadian country music industry’s map.
In the Spring of 2017, the Hunter Brothers released their debut album Getaway. This album included two singles that earned them their first two songs that entered the top 10 on the Billboard charts: “Born and Raised”, and “Those Were The Nights”. Their single “Born and Raised” was selected as the official anthem for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament. “Born and Raised” also won the Saskatchewan Music Award for Single of the Year. The Hunter Brothers were nominated for four Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards and won for both Group of the Year, and Emerging Artist categories.
Their sophomore album, State of Mind, released in 2019, remained the #1 selling country album for four consecutive weeks following its release. Both “Lost” (their first #1 single on country radio) and “Those Were the Nights” (from their debut album Getaway) has been certified Gold in Canada. State of Mind was the number one selling country album in Canada for four consecutive weeks and has had over 10 million streams worldwide.
The band was nominated for 2 JUNO Awards in 2020 for Country Album of the Year for their sophomore album State of Mind and Breakthrough Group of the Year. They have had seven CCMA Award nominations and 10 SCMA Award wins.
STYLE AND INFLUENCE
Life on a family farm wasn’t always easy, but the brothers attribute much of their success to their rural upbringing in a home dedicated to faith, music, and sport. Because of their background in church singing, once they crossed over into professional singing, The Hunter Brothers quickly became known for their crisp harmonies and stage presence. When they were younger, they spent their time mirroring music videos from other artists and learning to become performers. What emerged was an organic pop-country sound.
In an interview for Canadian Beats before the 2020 JUNO Awards, the following was said of their music-making and agreed upon by the brothers:
Even though we are all brothers, we have lived different stories and have unique perspectives to bring to the group. There are days we write altogether, and then others where we split up, and many writing sessions will be happening at once. The songwriting process seems to shift and evolve as time goes on. Sometimes, songs develop from the beat up. Other times, a particular lyric will hit us in just the right way at the right time. Then there are moments where we need to take multiple swings at a concept or lyric before we are happy with the finished product. Creating can be truly unpredictable, and it’s a really enjoyable process.
COLLABORATIONS & CONNECTIONS
“El Dorado” was co-produced by Brad Rempel of Canadian country band High Valley along with Seth Mosley and Mike “X” O’Connor
Earlier in 2019, the Hunter Brothers joined country superstars Paul Brandt, Jess Moskaluke, and High Valley for The Journey Tour on 26 dates across Canada. They debuted at CMA Fest in Nashville, and also landed three CCMA Award nominations.
Known for their energetic and entertaining live shows, the group has played major country festivals in Canada and U.S. and toured with country icon Paul Brandt.
Since the stories told to them by people who have been through difficult times and overcome were the inspiration for “Hard Dirt”, I suppose those people would be their collaborators for that latest single. Even the artwork (a fingerprint tree) is symbolic of the struggles people go through in life. As the brothers explain on their channel, this song is “…a song that speaks to the process of enduring struggle, but also knowing that hope exists on the other side of whatever circumstances you may be going through. Embracing challenge can be a painful process, but it can help us develop endurance, patience, and ultimately lead us to be a better version of ourselves.”
That said, Larry Hughes, Victoria Banks, Robert Ferguson, and Sammy Brenya share their full stories here: Hard Dirt Stories
ORIGINAL SONGS or DISCOGRAPHY
- Getaway 2017
- State of Mind 2019
- “Hard Dirt” 2020
- “Joy to the World” 2017
Their latest single, “Hard Dirt” celebrates growth through times of adversity and is available now. What’s amazing about “Hard Dirt” is that it takes the stories of three people who have faced adversity and come through it as the focus of the song in the official video production. Their stories are told on their YouTube channel beside the music video.
FIND OUT MORE
If you are searching for more Untapped Sounds then be sure to check out the articles on other Unsigned Artists.