Family-centered folk group, The Hunts, to perform at M-Shop


Courtesy of SUB.

The Hunts previously performed at the M-Shop in 2013 supported by folk-rock band, The Monks.

Angela Rivas

A modern-day Partridge Family, the Kinstler family, or more well known as The Hunts, are embarking on their coast-to-coast tour of writing and playing music as a family.

Made up of five brothers and two sisters, the indie alternative folk group will headline at the Maintenance Shop on Wednesday, Nov. 7. This will not be the first time the Kinstler family will bring their organic southern sounds to the M-Shop. The group originally played in 2013, supported by folk rock band The Monks.  

The septet, ranging from ages 17 to 26, have a wide variety of instruments at their talent disposal, including vocals, mandolin, accordion, ukulele, banjo, violin and drums.

“Over the years [my parents] would bring us with to their acts,” said Jessi Kinstler, vocals and viola of The Hunts. “We grew from there, year after year another sibling would join the group.”  

Completely family-run, Josh, Jenni, Jonathan, Jordan, Justin, Jamison and Jessi Kinstler get a lot of their inspiration from their parents, also long-time musicians. Their mother has stepped up as their manager, handling press and interviews while their father helps with transportation and on tour.

Both sisters, Jessi and Jenni, have expanded the family in the last year with two newborns. Touring and learning the ropes of parenting has not been easy for the two women, but they have a tremendous amount of support to help balance music and family.

“It’s been a learning year,” Jessi Kinstler said. “Our mom helps out while were on stage, so I know they are in good hands.”

Jessi Kinstler is currently expecting her second baby.

The Hunts’ debut album “We Were Young” was released in 2012. Right after the album was released, The Hunts reached out to their local radio station, 96X WROX-FM, with the hope that they would play their songs.

“We submitted our songs to 96X, and to our surprise, they played our song on the radio the next day,” Jessi Kinstler said. “From there we got a lot of attention.”

The 96X WROX-FM promotion lead to a record deal with Cherrytree/Interscope Records. But last year when the contract between Cherrytree/Interscope Records was not renewed, The Hunts went independent and are currently still without a record label.

“We enjoy being independent, we got the hands on the driving wheel,” Jessi Kinstler said. “We don’t feel like we have to please the music industry.”  

The Hunts have released two albums since 2014, including “Those Younger Days” and their new album this year, “Darlin’ Oh Darlin’.” The new music has had an underlying theme of “making the most of opportunities.” But writing a song and having it being accepted by all seven members sounds easier than it is.

“Each one of us is a filter,” Josh Kinstler said. “If the song doesn’t make it through all seven filters, it’s not The Hunts.”

According to Jessi Kinstler, it takes “a long time” for a song to be completed with satisfaction from everyone.

“Songwriters are very opinionated,” Jessi Kinstler said. “Trying to get each person’s input and ideas makes it tough sometimes, but it’s good to have a team of people collaborating and working hard.”

Single “Along the Way,” from “Darlin’ Oh Darlin’,” is an example of a song that was harder to write and for all seven members agree upon. 

“That was really tough on us, but in the end, we’re all so glad we went back and took the song apart and re-put it together,” Jessi Kinstler said.

The Hunts will be performing songs from their new album “Darlin’ Oh Darlin’” at 8 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the M-Shop. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the public, $8 with an ISU student ID. Tickets are available at or at the M-Shop box office.