June 5th, 2020

Hunter Brother J.J. on Medicine Hat’s support, passion for the music and a choice he doesn’t want to make

By Chris Brown on July 11, 2019.

Photo by Lizzy Hunter
The Hunter Brothers will perform at the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede night show on July 24.


If you ever want to get J.J. Hunter tied up in knots just ask him to choose between music and farming.

“Oh, don’t make me do that. That is a really hard question,” Hunter said Tuesday. “We all feel passionate about each. There’s things about the farm and the roots we have there that we’re so, so very thankful for and so to imagine or think of saying ‘hey you have to let that go’ …”

After a bit more thought and introspection Hunter came to this conclusion: “I love the farm but I’m very passionate about the music. I really love the music personally and it’s something that I want to do as long as can.”

The Hunter Brothers will help kick off the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede on July 24. They’re billed as special guests at Brett Kissel’s 8 p.m. show on Wild West Wednesday.

If J.J. Hunter ever does have to make the choice he wouldn’t go wrong with music considering how 2019 has gone.

At the end of 2018 the song “Born and Raised” was chosen as the official anthem for the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, taking their exposure to a whole new level. Then came singing the national anthem at the Toronto Blue Jays home opener, followed by an invite to the team’s Country Day in May. Then came CMA Fest in Nashville last month. In the middle of all of that the single “Lost” hit No. 1 on Canadian Country Radio Airplay charts, the first time an artist from Saskatchewan has hit No. 1, said Hunter.

He said a lot of it is still sinking in for the brothers from Shaunavon, Sask., who hours after this interview were nominated for three Canadian Country Music Association Awards – Apple Music Fans’ Choice, album of the year and group or duo of the year.

“The stages we’ve played on and the artists we’ve played beside … it’s something you dream about, when you’re growing up taking piano lessons and taking guitar lessons. But it’s hard to fathom actually getting those opportunities,” Hunter said. “It is hard to wrap my head around but they’re all experiences that we’re very, very thankful for. We’ve chatted many times as brothers and said we need to soak these experiences in. Because as wonderful as the trajectory has been and the opportunities that have come, you just never know what life can throw and things can change really quick.”

Down-home roots and humility have always been a trademark of J.J., Luke, Ty, Brock and Dusty in their professional and personal lives. It comes through in their music, connecting them with audiences far and wide and helping make songs like “Those Were The Nights” “Lost” and the new single “Northern Lights” favourites for many.

“One thing that does resonate really well with us being on the farm is that when we’re singing country music and all the things country music talks about whether it’s tractors, or fieldwork or hometown roots, those things really resonate with us in a real way because that is real life for us,” Hunter said. “We don”t have to make that up or fabricate it. That is who we are and what we do on a day-to-day basis.”

They are also summer festival favourites looking forward to their Stampede show. Hunter says the local country radio station and the people of Medicine Hat and area have been on board from day one.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the event and very, very thankful for all the support and encouragement we’ve received from this part of the world,” he said.

Tickets for the show start at $52 and are available at mhstampede.com, by calling 403-527-1234, or in person at the Medicine Hat Stampede office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk. Full night show packages are also available.

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