THE PONDHAWKS
CHICAGO'S #1 INDIE BAND !!!



THE PONDHAWKS'
HIT SONG "DRIVE" # 1 for 13 weeks!
on
Music World Radio's Top 20 Alternative Songs Euro Chart.

The PondHawks mentioned in the Chicago Sun-Times

"Congrats to veteran Chicago photographer and musician Jorie Gracen and her band The PondHawks - still at No. 1 on Music World Radio (UK), after five weeks, with their song "Drive." The song is from the band's second album, "Dreaming Over Ireland," and has received wide airplay on Internet radio stations both here and abroad.

-- Bill Zwecker, Sun-Times celebrity columnist and Fox News Reporter LINK

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"
THE PONDHAWKS are in the TOP 10 most requested Indie bands on Hamilton Radio"
--
Gene Pierro, Station Owner
" When I featured
THE PONDHAWKS on my radio show, I had triple the listener audience!"
--
Larry ' Tez' Tezekjian, Station Owner, Fort Myers Radio

THE PONDHAWKS are played on these fine RADIO STATIONS

TRIPLE A & AMERICANA FM RADIO STATIONS - USA
WRRG River Grove, IL - KDHX St. Louis, MO - WERH Hamilton, Alabama - KBAC Santa Fe, NM
- KBLA Los Angeles, CA - KEAO Lahaina, HI - KVMR Sacramento, CA - KGLT Bozeman, MT - KRVM Eugene, OR - KMSU Mankato, MN - KPCW Park City, UT - KZMU Moab, UT - KBLA Los Angeles, CA - KBUT Crested Butte, CO - KDNK Carbondale, CO - KDHX St Louis, MO - KKCR Princeville, HI - KMSU Mankato, MN - KPCW Park City, UT - KPFT Houston, TX - KPOV Bend, OR - KUNM Albuquerque, NM - KVMR Sacramento/Nevada City, CA - KVNF Paonia, CO - KXCI Tucson, AZ - WAMD Aberdeen, MD - WBSD Burlington, WI - WHFC Bel Air, MD - WERH Hamilton, AL - WERU Bangor, ME - WJHS Ft. Wayne/Columbia City, IN - WKHZ Easton, MD - WMNF Tampa, FL - WXYB Tampa, FL - WNCW Spindale, NC - WMKY Morehead, KY - WOCM Ocean City, MD - WQRZ Bay Saint Louis/Kiln, MS - WRRW Williamsburg, VA - WRUR Rochester, NY - WYRE Annapolis/Baltimore, MD - WNTI Hackettstown, NJ - WTIP Grand Marais, MN - WMSV Mississippi State, MS - WOOL Bellows Falls, VT- WAWL Chattanooga, TN

INTERNATIONAL FM RADIO STATIONS
KNYSNA Radio (97.0 FM) Knysna, South Africa
Radio Hot (92.5 FM) San Luis, Argentina
CFBO (90.7 FM) Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Forest Radio (92.3 FM) Dorset, England
Kinglake Ranges Radio (94.5 FM) Victoria Australia
Bay FM (99.9 FM) Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Radio Liberte - (96.1 FM) Riberac, France
OPF Radio 107.7 FM (UK)

INTERNATIONAL INTERNET RADIO STATIONS
Bumps Radio (UK)
Mersey Radio (Liverpool, England)
Music World Radio (Europe & UK)
Radio Universal Dortmund (Germany)
Independent Music Show (N.Ireland)
Splash Radio (N.Ireland)
TRM Radio Manchester (England)
Radio Basingstoke (England)
Radio-International (Lincolnshire, England)
Boro Sound Radio (Middlesbrough, England)
EStream Radio (Manchester, England)
Moosic Radio (Australia)
Mix It Up Radio (Australia)
World FM (New Zealand)
Jaycee Sound (Corfu, Greece)
Sheek Radio (Kenya)
Oldies But Gems Radio (Brisbane Australia)
College Underground Radio International (Sydney, Australia, Toronto, Canada, Anadalucia, Spain)

USA INTERNET RADIO STATIONS
ROCK-FM Canada - WDGP Rado - iHeart Radio - Radioio - Pandora Radio - Spotify - Rdio - Radio Free Americana - Scrub Radio - Fab 4 Radio - Rock Hard Radio - Fort Myers Radio - The David Mobley Show - WMET The Met - Hamilton Radio 1 - Q Star Radio - Fluxedo Junction (Long Island, NY) - Indie Music Channel - Back Street Radio - Space Coast iRadio - Pro Productions - NFOTUSA Blog Talk Radio - Long Island Radio - College Underground Radio - New Artists Radio - Neon Productions Radio - WROM Radio - Nex Radio - Sound Machine Radio - ChiliTech FM - K-Rocks Radio - Shoutcast Radio - Live365 - Pirate Radio of the Treasure Coast - Beach Radio - Nokia Radio Network-- Twirl Radio - Wolfman Radio - Radio Free Joshua Tree



RADIO STATIONS:
If you would like
THE PONDHAWKS CD for your station...

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WHAT RADIO STATIONS & INDUSTRY AFICIONADOS
SAY ABOUT
THE PONDHAWKS



Larry "TEZ" Tezekjian - Station Owner - Fort Myers Radio (Fort Myers, FL) " When an artist or band grabs my heart... All I can say is WOW!!! The PondHawks have a great sound. If there was EVER a group that sounded similar to The Beatles yet had its own identity, it is The PondHawks. What I love about The PondHawks is, I've always wanted the '60's to be re-recorded with today's technology. The PondHawks not only sound like The Beatles -- so it's a dream come true having The Beatles reunite -- though they are not The Beatles, they are their own entity. Their music gives me a feeling of love and passion. When I listen to The PondHawks' music, it takes me back to the good old days of radio. I'm blessed to have The PondHawks in the playlist and in rotation everyday. I'm just glad that I got a hold of their music, because I would be very sad had I known it existed and I didn't have it."

Tom Jasper KPOV-FM 106.7 (Bend, OR) " I received a copy of The PondHawks Have Landed and to say I was blown away would be an understatement. Thank you so much for creating this music. The amazing thing to me is the feeling of how badly this music was needed without being aware of it. It's been longer than I can remember since an album has so strongly resonated with me. When I get new music at KPOV, I listen to some and decide whether they should get airplay. Then I play The PondHawks right after and there is no comparison. "

David Bash (founder of the International Pop Overthrow Festival)
"The PondHawks, a tremendous five-piece with stunning melodies, harmonies, and energy... the true trifecta of the IPO ethos! Love 'em!! One of my fave bands at the IPO. Their songs keep rising on various charts, and for good reason, because they rock the British inflected '60s influenced pop music! Radio friendly pop/rock with some British influences and U.S. influences... but their stock in trade are their wonderful male/female harmonies and sparkling hooks! One of the tightest, most professional bands we've ever had at the IPO. As good as their CDs are, they're 10 notches above it live!"

Thomas Gilding, Station Manager WBSD-FM 89.1 (Milwaukee, WI) " I just got a chance to listen to the whole The PondHawks Have Landed album... WOW! Innovative, unabashed, catchy, interesting, even kooky (in a great way), and always consummately professional in all four-part harmony! "

Joe Johnson Majic WMXJ-FM 102.7 (Miami, FL) " Fire Eyes has a super guitar vibe with bright vocals and a pleasing melody. Great guitar licks give this energetic rocker a bouncy, positive feel, reminiscent of the surfin 60 s but with a new, now sound! This song will stay with you all day long! All in all, The PondHawks Have Landed is a great CD to pop in the car for a long drive! "

Brian Ray, guitarist of Paul McCartney's band " WOW!!! Sweet Dreams In The Rain: Epic! I couldn't help but think ELO! "

Terry Flamm ( Illinois Entertainer staff writer) " The PondHawks can cut loose with guitar-driven tunes with a modern edge like "Fire Eyes" and "Midnight Howl," but also place a strong emphasis on harmony vocals. "Your Mind Is Hard To Find" features them working in a slower, more Beatlesque vein. "



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SAY ABOUT
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REVIEW OF "Dreaming Over Ireland" CLICK
REVIEW OF "The PondHawks Have Landed" CLICK



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"The PondHawks are literally THE band to watch ..."

The PondHawks Have Landed
Genre: Indie / Alternative Rock
Key Tracks: Fire Eyes, Sweet Dreams In the Rain, Your Mind Is Hard to Find

The PondHawks are literally THE band to watch, major label deal or no deal. The band's latest project The PondHawks Have Landed is a classic album and anyone with an ear for great music will hear that factor is missing in the alternative rock genre these days.

"Sweet Dreams In The Rain" -- WOW!  I love the mystery in the music and vocal performances. This song has some of the coolest guitar riffs and the keyboards, percussion and bass add so much color to the music.  The band exudes a Beatles-esque vibe that I haven't heard many bands today offering. This is a great song and you should check it out.

Another incredible song on The PondHawks Have Landed is "Your Mind Is Hard To Find."  The song is all about trying to understand a complicated person you're in a relationship with. The vocal harmonies take you on a real ride full of twists and turns and I'm actually sitting here trying to figure out how they actually harmonized all of those vocal spirals? This is freaking awesome!

Other notable tunes on this project include: "Cliff Note," "On The Phone With Thillerie," "Weather Girl," "Time Flies and "Fire Eyes."

Overall, The PondHawks Have Landed is an amazing album project that anyone who appreciates bands like The Beatles will appreciate. I'd recommend you go check these guys out and show your support of this terrific band.

Review by: Senseitional
I Am Entertainment Magazine



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The PondHawks Soar to the top of Music World Radio's Alternative Chart at #1

Chicago's #1 Indie band, The PondHawks, have captured the attention of Euro Indie radio with their new song "Drive".

PRWeb Chicago's #1 Indie band has taken their song to the top of the Euro Indie charts. After being nominated for "DRIVE" on Music World Radio (UK), the band entered at #1 on the station's Top 20 Alternative Songs Chart. A feat MWR says not many artists have achieved.

The PondHawks' appeal is that they have a sound like no other band. They stand out from the current crop of Indie and Top 40 artists because their music has an edge. The band's music is influenced by a variety of classic rock legends and has a unique musical quality of its own. Carved with a signature sound that echoes The Beatles, ELO and Wings, The PondHawks have transformed their music into a retro, infused, 'now' sound. You won't hear a song in their catalog that sounds like the last one. What you will hear is a band that can be easily identified by their music. A refreshing change and bold move by an unsigned band that refuses to follow today's trend.

Mario Novelli and Jorie Gracen founded the band back in 2007 and together, write, produce, record, and perform their own music. Outstanding, male/female vocal harmonies give The PondHawks' music a rich brilliance. Every song has a catchy melody accompanied by dazzling hooks. Songs are peppered with 'secret ear candy' that can only be heard with headphones ­ a treat for the 79,000 plus fans of the band.

The PondHawks are storytellers. They write about love, romance, life, dreams and beauty, but they also embrace life's struggles ­ pain, disillusionment and loss through their own personal experiences. Songs are poetically rich with expression and thought. No words are ever wasted.

The meanings of songs have many interpretations for the listener, and that is deliberate. Their finely crafted lyrics are meant to evoke more than one meaning. At times you may hear a double-entendre ­ a clever, but subtle invitation to listen to songs over and over.

In March 2010, the band released their critically acclaimed debut album The PondHawks Have Landed, which still receives radio airplay in the U.S.A. and Europe. The album placed in several Top 100 Contemporary Albums of the Year charts, taking the #7 spot on the Top 10 Regional Albums list for the Chicagoland area.
The PondHawks Have Landed was a personal pick by music critic, Tom Lounges of the Northwest Indiana Times, who compiled the year-end list.

In May of 2012,
The PondHawks released a five-song EP called Dreaming Over Ireland. The title track is a lyrical maze of scenarios, shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The song begins softly, and builds to a techno crescendo. Then it erupts into a burst of keyboards, drums, and guitar licks, paving the way for Gracen and Novelli's sparkling vocals. The surprise comes when the song morphs into a spirited and infectious rocker, climaxing with an outro that will have you singing and dancing.

"Drive" is a song that unleashes its own fury, portraying a couple's struggle through clever musical innuendos.
Gracen and Novelli depict a rocky relationship that has gone sour. "Drive" has an edge, a grudge, and an attitude. The gritty organ solos have a maniacal charm. Catchy guitar riffs meander throughout, culminating in a riveting power chord that crashes into overdrive.

Like many of
The PondHawks' songs, "Drive's" frenetic music creates atmosphere and emotion ­ the perfect marriage of lyrics and music ­ and a number one hit.

The PondHawks are currently working on their highly anticipated third album, which will be out in 2014.

-- Martha Lars



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THE PONDHAWKS
are pleased to announce their new CD
"Dreaming Over Ireland" 5 - song EP

Available to Triple A radio

TRACK LISTING
1.
Dreaming Over Ireland
2.
Sun Rain
3.
Drive (13 weeks at #1 in the UK)
4.
The Raven Flies Away
5.
Eerie Street

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The Pondhawks: Dreaming Over Ireland

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PRESS REVIEW "Dreaming Over Ireland"



Penny Black Music Magazine (UK)
"Dreaming Over Ireland"
album review by
Lisa Torem


PennyBlackMusic.co.uk
Label: Riverpool Records
Format: CD

The PondHawks "Dreaming Over Ireland "
By Lisa Torem

Since my review of ' The PondHawks Have Landed ', the Chicago-based Alternative band has received nearly a year of Triple A radio airplay and are currently considered one of the top 20 Alternative bands in Chicago, but that's not surprising ­ those prolific PondHawks continue to churn out contagious tunes with lilting harmonies and thought provoking, yet down-to-earth lyrics.

Their influences are straight ahead and easy to determine ­ their pop sound recalls The Beatles and Buddy Holly, two of the band's undisputedly favorite muses - essentially, their tunes bring out the best elements of British and American rock.

Their debut featured the memorable and celebratory 'Midnight Howl', the old world 'On The Phone with Thillerie' and the devilish 'Dragonfly.'

Now Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen, John Rivera and Michael Gillespie all come together on their new project, 'Dreaming Over Ireland'. The delightful logo of a set of dragonfly wings fastened to a vintage guitar is still there, but this time it is floating underneath a dazzling rainbow and above emerald green.

From the first measure, the bustling activity and the loopy narrative come alive. "Flying into Heathrow (travel incognito)"as they embark on a covert adventure.

You can imagine them gazing from the plane window, during 'Sun Rain.' Novelli sings, "I can feel the Sun Rain moving in/Blowing holes in my sky." We find out that 'Sun Rain' is not just a wistful by product of nature ­ the cunning manipulator is "living off everyone's tears."

A holy cow of a chorus, Gracen's snazzy keyboard riffs and a bitter edged sentiment codifies 'Drive': "Who are you to think you're better?" wails Novelli, as Gracen responds in kind.

'The Raven Flies Away' features more of those sweeping Gracen/Novelli harmonies ­ in fact, they radiate through out this haunting, cinematic Poe-fest, and, after listening to the songwriting duo's powerful images, "Flying through his mist of memories" as "shadows fall on silent poetry", we understand exactly why this song soars miles above the standard pop pabulum that fills the air waves these days.

The fun continues with 'Eerie Street.' Roger Burden guests as a roving harp player on this rockabilly extravaganza. John Rivera's reliably, scorching beat signifies the spirited fun. It's positively PondHawk heaven.





Mario, Jorie & The PONDHAWKS BAND
Sandyfest 2014
(Left to right)
Ed Parisi, Sam Svita, Jorie Gracen, Mario Novelli




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Mario, Jorie & The PONDHAWKS BAND
Sandyfest 2014
(Left to right)
Sam Svita, Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen


"The PondHawks Have Landed"
Northwest Indiana Times: "2011's Top 10 Regional Albums"
Placed at #7 on Tom Lounges' list for the Chicagoland area

"Penny Black Music Writers: Albums of the Year 2010"
taking the
#2 position on writer Lisa Torem's list

"TOP FAV Indie Albums of 2010"
Placed at #2 on Scrub Radio's Sparky ShockPop's

"Top 100 Contemporary Albums of 2010"
Placed at #33 on David Bash's (IPO)

TRACK LISTING
1.
Midnight Howl
2.
Dragonfly
3.
On The Phone With Thillerie
4.
Your Mind Is Hard To Find
5.
Weather Girl
6. Sweet Dreams In The Rain
7. Start Over
8. Cliff Note
9. Fire Eyes
10. Stranded
11. When Autumn Comes To Town
12. Time Flies
13. Crying Hyena
14. Shattered Dreams/Broken Wings

"The PondHawks Have Landed"
Is available in stores and online at:

iTunes "Landed"
Tower Records "Landed"
CD Baby "Landed"
Amazon.com (US) "Landed"
Amazon.UK (Europe) "Landed"
CD Universe "Landed"

ORDER LINK
PondHawks T-Shirts & Autographed CD's


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universal sizes for Men and Women !!!


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DHAWKS


Mario, Jorie & The PONDHAWKS BAND
Sandyfest 2014
(Left to right)
Sam Svita, Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen


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The PondHawks in the press...



Chicago Rock Band Called The PondHawks Inspired By
Buddy Holly and The Beatles...


" The PondHawks are light years ahead of most new artists ..."
Tom Jasper of KPOV-FM 106.7 FM (Bend, OR)

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 29, 2011 -- The PondHawks rock band from Chicago, has written a new song about the late great Buddy Holly. "Time Flies" was inspired by a news item posted on the Surf Ballroom's Web site commemorating Holly's last concert there on February 2, 1959. PondHawks' Mario Novelli and Jorie Gracen wrote the song on the 50th anniversary of Holly's final concert in Clear Lake, Iowa. Holly along with J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens, perished shortly after their plane took off in the early morning hours of February 3rd from Mason City. They were headed to Moorhead, Minnesota after playing the Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom.

"I've always loved Buddy Holly's music," says Gracen. "It has a natural simplicity fueled by a powerhouse of rock 'n' roll energy. Mario and I wrote 'Time Flies' after reading about Holly's last show. The song is a tribute to his music, which influenced ours. There are several references in 'Time Flies' to Holly's songs."

Novelli adds, "The instrumental break starts with mandolin and ends in electric guitar. Holly played a mandolin on his early demos and ended up as a guitarist. I wonder if any Buddy Holly fans will say, 'Yeah I get it!' "

The PondHawks are currently ranked in the top 20 Alternative bands in Chicago and have received over 10 months of Triple A radio airplay from their critically acclaimed debut album, "The PondHawks Have Landed".

One could describe their music as Adult Contemporary with a unique retro rock 'now' sound. The band's vocal harmonies are reminiscent of another big influence that shaped their signature sound, The Beatles. After listening to this album there should be no doubt why this virtually unknown, unsigned band is getting unprecedented longevity on the radio. There is not a bad song on the album. Their sound is refreshingly original and doesn't follow the current cookie cutter trend of top 40 music that has plagued charts with banal carbon copy music.


Gracen says, "We are true to our own music and try not to sound like everyone else. None of our songs sound like the last song. We work very hard to be musically innovative and creative, rather than follow the current trend."

The PondHawks have support from many DJ's at Triple A radio stations. Tom Jasper of KPOV-FM 106.7 in Bend, Oregon is a big fan of The PondHawks.

"I received a copy of
'The PondHawks Have Landed' album and to say I was blown away would be an understatement. Thank you so much for creating this music! The amazing thing to me is the feeling of how badly this music was needed without being aware of it. It's been longer than I can remember since an album has so strongly resonated with me. When I get new music at KPOV, I listen to some and decide whether they should get airplay. I then play The PondHawks right afterwards, and there is no comparison."

Thomas Gilding, General Manager of WBSD-FM 89.1 radio in Burlington, Wisconsin said this about the band. "I just got a chance to listen to 'The PondHawks Have Landed' album. Wow! Innovative, unabashed, catchy, interesting, even kooky (in a great way) and always consummately professional, in all five-part harmony!"

Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ-FM 106.7 in Los Angeles called "Your Mind Is Hard To Find" by The PondHawks a "BOLD=new song."

David Bash founder of The International Pop Overthrow Festival hosted the band's album release party in Chicago and had this to say, "We at IPO were honored to host the CD release show of one of Chicago's coolest bands, The PondHawks! Their songs keep rising on various charts, and for good reason, because they rock the British inflected, '60's influenced pop music! Some British influences, some U.S. influences, but their stock in trade are their wonderful male/female harmonies and sparkling hooks! Said CD, 'The PondHawks Have Landed' , is nothing short of awesome! As good as their CD is, they're two notches above it live!"

The band's album made several year-end 2010 Best of Contemporary Albums charts, placing in the high top 40. "The PondHawks Have Landed" also placed in the top 40 on local radio station charts across the US.

What is next for The PondHawks? They are already hard at work on their second album, which has a breakout song that promises to be a chart topper. After hearing early mixes of this song I can say it definitely will be a huge hit. In fact the band has written an arsenal of music that could fill another 10 albums with many songs that would fit quite nicely in trendy film soundtracks. Record companies will soon be lining up to sign this band.

-- Martha Lars (United Rock Press)






Mario, Jorie & The PONDHAWKS BAND
Sandyfest 2014
(Left to right)
Sam Svita, Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen

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"The PondHawks Have Landed"
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Dreaming Over Ireland"
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Mario, Jorie and The PONDHAWKS BAND (Photo by Daniel Locke)
(Left to right)
Mario Novelli, John Rivera, Michael Gillespie, Jorie Gracen

BAND BIO

The PondHawks, are an original band from Chicago who are changing the style of Pop/Rock music. Catchy melodies are exhilaratingly fresh and Beatles-esque. The songs are delightfully infectious with playful lyricism that is exuberant and gutsy. The band's arsenal of music takes the listener on an eclectic journey into Indie Rock spirited by Classic Rock influences that transcend the boundaries of contemporary music. You could say The PondHawks have created a new music genre.




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Penny Black Music Magazine (UK)
The PondHawks Have Landed
album review by Lisa Torem

PennyBlackMusic.co.uk
Label: Riverpool Records
Format: CD

This band that should be called a band on the rise has been frequently compared to a certain band that penned 'Band on the Run'. In 2007, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist Mario Novelli, (a dashing McCartney look-alike) along with Jorie Gracen, singer, guitarist, keyboardist and iconic rock photographer ('I Saw Him Standing There'), formed The PondHawks Band with Michael Gillespie, Roger Burden and John Rivera.

Heavily influenced by the Fab Four, Clapton, Hendrix and the miraculous range of Roy Orbison, the band has infused indie pop with sophisticated, bright tonalities, shimmering harmonies and themes that touch on frothy romance and fantasy. That said, their live performance has usually garnered surprises; such as when they were joined by the Harrison Street Ukulele Players who balanced out their grand slam signature, 'Dragonfly.'

Their outstanding oeuvre encompasses levity, handclaps and 'Sergeant Pepper'-esque kitsch. A video from their debut album, 'The PondHawks Have Landed', two and a half years in the making, was created by Randy Reisen and shows blonde Gracen brandishing the twist while the charismatic Novelli flashes an intoxicating smile towards an imaginary audience.

Opening track 'Midnight Howl' reveals, "Photographs of days gone by/never seem to ease the pain," and waxes about "Something in the air tonight/looking for a late night prowl." This immediately enthralling track, trembles boldly along with a cliff-hanging bass line.

'Dragonfly' also has an infectious walking bass and the existential thought: "Why am I always out when I should be walking in?" 'On the Phone with Thillerie' features irresistible utterances of mandolin and 'Your Mind is Hard to Find' drips with 'Sergeant Pepper' harmonies and poker-faced irony. Novelli lends wistful wanings.

The wordplay on 'Weather Girl'; from "herky, jerky, radar swirl," to "hot and humid nights have turned to snow" are not only joyous tongue twisters, but perfectly matched to the cobblestone melodies. Snips of electronica, poppy handclaps and a 'Day Tripper' confidence even out the score.

'Sweet Dreams in the Rain' find the strong songwriting partnership of Gracen/Novelli navigating the seismic movements of the alluring melodies; it's beguiling when Novelli defines romance as, "like sparkling champagne in the rain."

The frank 'Cliff Note' has some stately orchestral touches and working class horse-sense; "Even though I watch my step. I walk in your shoes," is how that story goes.

Novelli, in 'Fire Eyes', proves he's not merely a multi-instrumentalist. He possesses a vocal quality that shadows a certain Sir, but relies vigorously on its own self-assured musicianship. The song whiplashes amongst brazen textures.

'Stranded' is layered thick, like an experienced artisan's paintbrush, with wondrous hue. Intoxicating wind chimes and billowy harmonies shore up the backdrop.

'When Autumn Comes to Town' is a more straight-laced ballad which still maintains some luscious harmonies, surmising, "even mighty oaks break." 'Time Flies' is a Calypso teaser and is encapsulated by Novelli's breezy tone and instrumentals that surrender to 'Gunsmoke' and do wop. 'Crying Hyena' has already garnered major media attention. It's smart, saucy and brilliantly memorable.

The PondHawks have a contemporary pop sound that merges happily with an unforgettable past. Dance to it, sing to it and revel in it. It's pop on the rocks that requires no chaser.




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"Dreaming Over Ireland" and
"The PondHawks Have Landed"
Are available in stores and online at:

iTunes "Landed"
Tower Records "Landed"
CD Baby "Landed"
Amazon.com (US) "Landed"
Amazon.UK (Europe) "Landed"
CD Universe "Landed"

The Pondhawks: Dreaming Over Ireland


iTunes
"Ireland"
CD Baby "Ireland"
Amazon.com (US) "Ireland"
CD Universe "Ireland"

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The Pondhawks: Interview PennyBlackMusic.co.uk
By: Lisa Torem


Lisa Torem speaks to Jorie Gracen and Mario Novelli about their Chicago-based group The PondHawks and their much acclaimed debut album, 'The PondHawks Have Landed'

Jorie Gracen, a photographer/journalist/musician has captured so many intimate onstage Paul McCartney moments that I'm close to tears. Shots dramatically zero in on the rock star's boyishness, excitable nature, performing virtuosity, nervousness and clear affection for his true-love and first-wife Linda. Motivated by McCartney's trajectory, Gracen created the impressive Internet news page, 'The Macca Report' http://www.maccareport.com, which has reached nearly 10 million visitors.

Gracen's photos have garnered the pages of 'Trouser Press', London's 'TV Times', 'The Chicago Tribune' and 'Rolling Stone' as well as countless other publications. But, besides being loaded with talent behind the lens, the vivacious blonde is also a skilled keyboard player, vocalist and songwriter.


Mario, Jorie and The PONDHAWKS Band live at the Arcada Theatre (Photo by Luciano Bilotti)
(Left to right)
Mario Novelli, John Rivera, Michael Gillespie, Jorie Gracen

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Mario Novelli has deep roots in the Chicagoland theatre scene; performing in comedies, dramas and musicals, as a teenager. And, like most Chicago-based actors, he found intrigue with the unpredictable challenges of the burgeoning "improv" scene.

Armed with his own explosive reservoir of talent, Novelli went on to perform stand-up in local venues, eventually writing material for other performers. Along the way, he landed a role in a movie and was featured in a commercial, yet somehow managed to keep his life-long passion for music and songwriting central.

The two joined creative forces after meeting at a local Beatles convention. In 2006 Gracen joined Novelli's band The Coyotees, and soon they formed The PondHawks, allowing them to blend harmonies and forge a serious songwriting merger. Their debut album, 'The PondHawks Have Landed', has placed in the top 40 on U.S. local radio charts.

This new release has already garnered responses by high-profile, industry pros: Tom Jasper, of KPOV-LP FM 106.7 exclaimed, "To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Holy buckets! Thank you so much for creating this music." Brian Ray, guitarist for Paul McCartney, referred to track, 'Sweet Dreams In The Rain,' as: 'Epic! I couldn't help but think ELO!" David Bash, promoter of the International Pop Overthrow Festival commented that "they rock the British inflected, '60s influenced pop music."

A video, of the 'Midnight Howl' shot by Randy Riesen - brilliantly shows the excitement The PondHawks have generated.


"MIDNIGHT HOWL"

After Gracen's presentation, I caught up with both artists as the library lights began to flicker. Making the best of it, we got acquainted in the dimly lit parking lot. But, pedestrian surroundings didn't really matter. Broaching a hit list of hot topics, we promised to delve more deeply later that week, but, during that first encounter, I was struck by their candour, undeniable creative chemistry and razor-sharp, quick-witted observations of pop culture.

"I SAW HIM STANDING THERE"

PB: Jorie, in regards to your book, 'I Saw Him Standing There,' (Billboard Books) in which you photographed Paul McCartney over 23 years, how did you approach those shots? How did you finally meet Paul and, after having met him, did this alter the way you approached the concert footage? In other words, does having a personal relationship with a subject influence the choices one makes as a rock photographer?

JG: I met Paul back in 1976 by accident, after his last Los Angeles show. This was before I was a professional photographer. Paul was performing with Wings at the Great Western Forum. I was hanging out with a school friend and walked down the ramp to where his limo was waiting. It was 3:30 a.m., and nobody was around. As I approached the limo, I was stopped by none other than Paul McCartney. Yes, busted by Macca himself. I couldn't be happier. He was very nice and offered an autograph.

PAUL PICKS MY PHOTO FOR HIS ALBUM

 

Years later, I handed him a portfolio of photographs I took during his 1989-90 U.S. tour. He liked one so much he put it on his album, 'Tripping the Live Fantastic'.

Ringo Starr has also used my photos in one of his books and Donny Osmond used a photo I took of him and his wife Debbie for his autobiography.

In my profession it's always helpful to sit down and talk to people before a photo session. People are nervous about having their photo taken, even celebrities. They have to trust that you will capture the most flattering photo of them. Through conversation, I "break the ice" so to speak and they relax in front of the camera.

As for my style of photography, it's very instinctive. I see the shot in my viewfinder and 'click.' Sometimes I envision a photo and when it happens I'm ready for it. I don't need to personally know the rock star to shoot concert photos. Concert photography is not something you can control like a one-on-one studio session. The artist is doing his or her thing for thousands of people. You have to be prepared for the unexpected and that requires split second timing. If I repeatedly take photos of the same performer, I learn by trial and error what is needed to get the most dynamic photos of the star.

Opportunity and experience sets the stage for creativity. The more challenging the assignment, the harder I work to achieve the result I imagined.


Jorie Gracen with Paul & Linda McCartney
at their private London' End of The World' tour party 1990

PHOTOGRAPHING PAUL McCARTNEY

PB: Did your life change after you met Paul McCartney?

JG: No, his life changed. (Pretending to call the police) "SECURITY!" I think Paul has changed in the way he responds to me. I believe he changed because he respects me as a photographer and I treat him like a friend. We had that one-on-one thing through many press encounters over the years. He invited me to a private London party to celebrate the release of 'Tripping the Live Fantastic' because my concert photo of him was included on the album. He and Linda treated me like an old friend.

Back in 1997 things began to change when he actually said my name. I photographed him at a record signing in London where I was on assignment for 'London Features'. I had taken photos of him two nights before, when he was at the Royal Albert Hall for the premiere of his second classical piece, 'Standing Stone'. I took photos during the concert and when Paul walked onstage to take his bows, he looked out into the audience and pointed to Linda (who died five months later from breast cancer) and said, "I love you." It was a touching moment and I was able to capture that in a photo.

I had an 8 x 10 print made of the photo and handed it to him at an HMV record signing In London shortly afterwards. It was a huge record store and there were thousands of people lining Oxford Street to see Paul. After the signing, which was for the 'Flaming Pie' album he grabbed a microphone and thanked HMV for hosting the event and thanked all the thousands of fans who showed up. But then he blew me away when he looked right at me and said, "and thanks Jorie, for the photos."

PB: Once you knew him, was the process of photographing him different?

JG: If you look at my photos of Paul, there's a way that I capture him and there's a way that he responds to me. In several of my photos, he turns his head a certain way when he looks at me and I don't know if that's because I give him photos from time to time.

I know the best angle to photograph him from experience. He'll look at me and I'll manoeuvre my position. By doing so, he turns a certain way, that way. You could say, familiarity of taking his photo, and the uncanny telepathy we seem to have, sets the style of my McCartney photographs.


Paul McCartney at Abbey Road 1997 (photo by Jorie Gracen)


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PAINTING, PHOTOGRAPHY & A BEATLE

PB: When did you first discover your visual gift and how did you get established in the field?

JG: I got into photography indirectly. As a child I always had a camera and loved to take photos. I was born an artist with a rare gift for drawing and painting at an early age.

My paintings were very realistic and because of that I used photography as a tool to obtain accuracy when rendering the photo into a painting. Soon I discovered that many of the photos worked better as photographs, exhibiting unique qualities that could not be bettered in a painting. That's when I decided to pursue photography.

I learned my trade working for local newspapers and taking publicity photos for TV, film and commercials. When on assignment, I took photos of everything and everybody. I was the first choice when assignments for concerts or celebrities came up. Eventually I built up my portfolio, which included studio shots and candids of famous people. My work wound up in 'People', 'Newsweek', 'Rolling Stone' and numerous magazines, books, newspapers and publications worldwide.

In 2000 my book came out, spanning 23 years of photographing Paul McCartney. It covered in detail his post-Beatles concert tours with text and photographs, as well as, intriguing fan close encounter stories.

PB: McCartney fans provided a lot of the narrative. Were you surprised at their reactions to meeting their idol? Was there any fan whose reaction stood out?

JG: No, not surprised at their reaction, because I have been there myself. I totally understand. There are so many great stories in the book. It's hard to pick out the best one. McCartney fans can be very creative when it comes to planning a close encounter with their idol.

One fan wanted desperately to go to a concert. He had never seen Paul. The one snag was his boss who would not let him have the day off. So what did the fan do? He quit his job! That's how much Paul means to people. And the best part of the story is the fan got to meet Paul and Linda!


THE MACCA REPORT

PB: Your website, 'The Macca Report', has become the Holy Grail to lots of fans. How would you describe the typical viewer and what motivates you to keep it up?

JG: The typical viewer is your hardcore Paul McCartney fan; someone who admires and loves to follow the multi-faceted life of one of the most famous rock stars in the world. I provide news and information. Other readers are the 'weekend fans' and editors from newspapers and magazines from all over the world. Often, I get emails often from editors looking for stories or to verify rumours. Many e-mails come from fans wanting something from Paul. If there is a legitimate request I forward those to the appropriate people.

'The Macca Report' has thousands of archived pages dating back to 2002 and dozens of pages documenting McCartney's tours. Many of the pages have reports from fans including photos. Anything that you ever wanted to know about Paul McCartney is posted on 'The Macca Report'.


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VISIT The PondHawks
The%20PondHawksQuantcast
Reverbnation page


"Dreaming Over Ireland" and
"The PondHawks Have Landed"
Are available in stores and online at:

iTunes "Landed"
Tower Records "Landed"
CD Baby "Landed"
Amazon.com (US) "Landed"
Amazon.UK (Europe) "Landed"
CD Universe "Landed"

The Pondhawks: Dreaming Over Ireland


iTunes
"Ireland"
CD Baby
"Ireland"
Amazon.com (US)
"Ireland"
CD Universe "Ireland"

ORDER LINK
PondHawks T-Shirts & Autographed CD's


Visit our myspace page!

Like us on Facebook!


Join The PondHawks
e-mail list for gig updates and FREE MERCHANDISE




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Mario, Jorie and The PONDHAWKS Band open for Davy Jones (photo by: Luciano Bilotti)
(left to right)
Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen, Roger Burden, John Rivera, Gary Diamond, Davy Jones


IT'S ONLY ROCK 'N' ROLL

PB: Is The PondHawks your first band? How did you meet Mario and what made you feel your musical directions would fuse?

JG: No, The PondHawks wasn't my first band. In junior high and high school I was in bands where I played rhythm guitar and sometimes bass. I was quite good on guitar, with some classical training. I played in rock bands and dabbled in songwriting. Back in those days it was fun and not serious. It was just a dream.

I always wanted to play piano as a kid and wound up playing guitar instead. In the late 1980s I bought an inexpensive keyboard and taught myself piano. No lessons. I learned to play by ear. I didn't know the names of chords I was playing and later that became a joke with The PondHawks. I'd play stuff on the piano and they'd ask, "What are the chords?" and I'd say, "I don't have a clue."

I met Mario at a local Beatles convention where I was promoting my Paul McCartney book and didn't know he was in a band. He invited me to the band's rehearsal studio on a Sunday to meet videographer Randy Riesen, who had worked for McCartney.

Later that evening, Mario's band showed up for rehearsal and he asked me if I wanted to "sit-in". I hadn't sung in public for years and felt a little self-conscious about it. As it turned out, I knew the vocal harmonies to most of the songs and by the end of the rehearsal Mario asked me to do the next show with them.


Mario Novelli (Photo by: Daniel Locke)


MARIO, JORIE AND THE PONDHAWKS BAND

PB: (To Mario) What was your first impression of Jorie?

MN: I was very impressed with her photography and found her to be a very down-to-earth person.

JG: I didn't realize Mario was in a band until I went to his rehearsal studio to meet Randy who shot videos of Paul for his 'Space Within Us' 2005 concert DVD.

MN: I just thought it would be cool to get Jorie and Randy together to compare notes on working with Paul. I never knew Jorie sang or played keyboards.

My band wasn't going to rehearse that day, so we all had a good time hanging out. Randy said, "I've got to split." She stuck around.

JG: Mario gave me a tambourine and said, "Come up here to my microphone and sing."

MN: Right after that, I said, "What a voice." It blended in. Her voice blended with my voice right off the bat.

JG: That was on a Sunday.

MN: I asked her if she could come and do the next gig with us on Friday.

JG: I said, "Are you crazy?"

MN: I gave her the set list.

The first thing we worked on together was a jingle. Jorie had a friend from a radio station that needed a jingle. They still use it.




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"Dreaming Over Ireland" and
"The PondHawks Have Landed"
Are available in stores and online at:

iTunes "Landed"
Tower Records "Landed"
CD Baby "Landed"
Amazon.com (US) "Landed"
Amazon.UK (Europe) "Landed"
CD Universe "Landed"

The Pondhawks: Dreaming Over Ireland


iTunes
"Ireland"
CD Baby
"Ireland"
Amazon.com (US)
"Ireland"
CD Universe "Ireland"

ORDER LINK
PondHawks T-Shirts & Autographed CD's

Visit our myspace page!

Like us on Facebook!


Join The PondHawks
e-mail list for gig updates and FREE MERCHANDISE

CONTACT and
BOOKING INFO:




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"MIDNIGHT HOWL"


PB: There's lots of diversity on 'The PondHawks Have Landed'. 'Midnight Howl', in my opinion, really glorifies '60s go -go girls in fishnets doing the pony. It's sheer fun. Was that the plan?

MN: Actually, it's about love lost. But it's cool that everyone projects their own different image after listening to it. I think a song is also the listener's venue for creative thinking.

"DRAGONFLY"

PB: In 'Dragonfly' what kind of instrument is playing at the beginning and end of the song? I couldn't help but hear Everly Brothers and even some Donovan influence on that song.

MN: The solo intro/outro is a six-string ukulele accompanied by a sitar. Very unusual. I think it sounds more like the 'Everly Brother and Sister.' Phil and Don-na?

"WEATHER GIRL"

 

PB: 'Weather Girl' could be the sister of 'Lovely Rita.' There are so few songwriters now that write female character studies like these. Was this based on a real person?

MN: Like many of our songs, it may have started out based on a true story, but then branched off into fiction. Reality provides a great springboard for creativity.

PB: If you could be literary characters, come to life, who would you be?


Jorie Gracen (Photo by Daniel Locke)


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"ON THE PHONE WITH THILLERIE"

JG: I'd be 'Thillery,'of course.

MN: I'm an illiterary person (Laughs).

JG: Not the "crying hyena?"

MN: I don't know. It depends on the mood I'm in.

PB: I can't get the chord progression of 'On the Phone with Thillerie' out of my head. Imagine stumbling into a remote eastern European village, somewhere near a forest, and seeing some musicians pull out strings in front of a roaring fire. Okay, that's the music. But, then we hear, "Smooching in the parlour with Thillerie/I don't mean to be preaching, but that's not what you're supposed to be teaching." So, it seems, it's part satire and part old-world: with a little Queen thrown in the mix How did you, come up with this arrangement?

MN: Jorie talked me into buying a mandolin, so I figured I'd better write a riff for a song on it. We were looking for gypsy-like instrumentation with a 1920's 'Winchester Cathedral' vocal sound. That's Roger playing the blistering lead guitar at the break, which provides the juxtaposition.

PB: Mario, please tell me the chords for 'Thillerie!'

MN: I was sitting on the bench and I had a mandolin. I played the riff before the song and thought "that kind of works." I threw some chords together and made a crude recording to surprise Jorie.

JG: I remember him saying the chords on the guitar are not the same as on the mandolin.

MN: I didn't even know what chords I was playing; I was just - (imitates strumming) ting a ting a ting This is kind of nice! My grandfather played the
mandolin.

THE GRACEN/NOVELLI SONGWRITING PARTNERSHIP


PB: You have both co-written the majority of songs on the album, how would you describe that process?

JG: Sometimes we write songs over the phone, over the Internet, or in person. When one of us gets an idea, they will initiate the song. That might begin with one verse and then it's bounced back to the co-writer to add another verse. Many times we come up with the exact same idea. Or one will write the majority of the lyrics/music or both. Then the other will finish the song. In the studio we might rewrite lyrics and music on the fly as the song progresses. It's a very intuitive process. We seem to both know when something is right and when something just doesn't work. It's a team effort.

MN: I usually have my butler telegram her butler and they write the songs for us...

Seriously though, co-writing a song with Jorie is a magical trip.





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BUDDY HOLLY "TIME FLIES"

PB: 'Time Flies' pays tribute to Buddy Holly. Was he a PondHawks influence?

JG: Mario and I were on the phone surfing the net on February 2, 2009 and came across the 'Surf Ballroom' page. It mentioned that it was the 50th anniversary of the last Buddy Holly concert played there in Clear Lake, Iowa. Every year on that weekend they celebrate Buddy Holly. Many famous acts perform.

We always loved Buddy Holly's music, but weren't familiar with the events that transpired prior to his untimely death in 1959. Once we read the details, Mario and I began writing 'Time Flies'. In the song there are several references to Buddy's music.

MN: The instrumental break starts with mandolin and ends in electric guitar. Buddy Holly played a mandolin on his early demos and ended up as a guitarist. I wonder if any Buddy Holly fans will say "Yeah... I get it!"

LONDON RADIO CALLING

 

PB: The PondHawks have been receiving a good deal of US airplay. I remember watching 'Coal Miner's Daughter' in which Loretta Lynn portrayed by Sissy Spacek would ride around and drop records off at local stations. What's been your approach?

JG: It's funny you should mention that movie. Mario and I are always talking about that scene where Sissy Spacek is changing her clothes in the back of the car as her husband is driving to the next radio station tower. She gets out of the car all dressed up in her cowgirl outfit and they walk unannounced into the radio station with her vinyl record in hand.

It doesn't really happen that way these days, however, I showed up at various London radio stations without appointments and handed them demos of 'Crying Hyena'. The song is about lying, cheating, gold diggers and con artists. I rang doorbells and when they heard my American accent they let me in! They were quite happy to play the CD. And because we had a Paul McCartney connection, people thought the song was about McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills. One London tabloid called Mills a "hyena" after they heard the song.


"Crying Hyena" featuring "Snowball" the dancing cockatoo

Here in the US we have a rep, Ray Paul, who contacts the radio stations after the CD's are mailed and gets feedback from the DJs and program directors. We have gotten some really nice e-mails from station managers about our music and after six months of airplay they are still playing our album!

MN: Our next approach should be to watch the movie again and mark down the names of those radio stations. Maybe Sissy Spacek will even give us a lift?...

BRIAN RAY OF PAUL McCARTNEY'S BAND

 

PB: On the cover you acknowledge Brian Ray, who plays in Paul McCartney's band and also produces albums. I see that you and Mario self-produced the CD. Was Brian around to offer suggestions? How did you and Mario make production decisions?

JG: Brian has been very helpful in providing us with his honest opinion about our songs and giving us guidance about remixes. He would tell us what instruments should be louder or less prominent. We took his suggestions for 'Midnight Howl' and 'Dragonfly'. It's always good to have a 'fresh ear' because you can become too close to your own music and not hear things that other people hear.

THE GHOSTS OF RIVERPOOL
(
"The Legend of The PondHawks" read by Pete Dicks of Beatles & Beyond Radio LISTEN)

PB: Something unusual happened at the Ghosts of Riverpool studios, right?

JG: We call our studio Riverpool because there is a river in the area and pools! Just kidding. Though some of that is the truth. Regarding ghosts in the studio, that is a fact.

The ghosts occasionally pound on the walls to let us know they are present. Sometimes once or twice. We call them Casper because we don't know their names. One night I asked what their names were. The computer in our studio started to type on its own, "I'mmmmmmm!!!"

During sessions recorded vocals mysteriously erased themselves even though they were saved on the recorder. Both Mario and I had to redo vocals several times until the ghosts stopped erasing them. And they were right! Other times we tried to erase parts of tracks we didn't like and couldn't!

MN: Paranormal?... I haven't seen a 'pair a normal' occurrences there yet. Just joking... I'm sure there's probably a logical explanation for almost everything.

 

EDGAR ALLAN POE

PB: What's next for The PondHawks?

JG: We just started working on our next album. There are several songs ready to go. The first one may actually be out before Halloween. It's about Edgar Allan Poe.

MN: It's a melancholy waltz. With a twist of PondHawk.

We have a backlog of songs already written. There are twelve that we know are going to be on the next album. We would like to release a single first. It's a song about Edgar Allan Poe's last dwindling days and there's a lot of mystery behind that. Jorie and I have been working feverishly together on it.

JG: Yes, we are trying to get it somewhat done before Halloween.

MN: Very dark lyrics, very dark melody and it's a waltz. It's 3/4 time and it's really macabre.

JG: Fans of Edgar Allan Poe will appreciate it.

PB: I like that PondHawks meet Poe effect.

JG: Did 'Eerie Street' make the cut?

MN: 'Eerie Street' will be on the album.

JG: Eerie (Emphasizing the double ee sound at the beginning) because, we have ghosts.

MN: We both arranged and produced 'The PondHawks Have Landed' and will do the same for the next album. It's always magic working with Jorie.

JG: Ditto!

PB: Thank you, Jorie and Mario.





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READ ABOUT
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Visit our myspace page!

Like us on Facebook!


CONTACT and
BOOKING INFO:


"Dreaming Over Ireland" and
"The PondHawks Have Landed"
Are available in stores and online at:

iTunes "Landed"
Tower Records "Landed"
CD Baby "Landed"
Amazon.com (US) "Landed"
Amazon.UK (Europe) "Landed"
CD Universe "Landed"

The Pondhawks: Dreaming Over Ireland


iTunes
"Ireland"
CD Baby
"Ireland"
Amazon.com (US)
"Ireland"
CD Universe "Ireland"

ORDER LINK
PondHawks T-Shirts & Autographed CD's

Join The PondHawks
e-mail list for gig updates and FREE MERCHANDISE




THE PONDHAWKS on Billboard

THE PONDHAWKS HAVE LANDED...
The Chicago band is getting nationwide attention with their new album
that critics call "very Beatlesque"

The band is heating up the airwaves with their debut album that echoes classic rock,
with a updated sound that is crossing genres.
READ


The Illinois Entertainer
published Terry Flamm's preview for this
year's International Pop Overthrow in Chicago.

"There are a lot of bands worth checking out at this festival. In addition to the ones mentioned in my Illinois Entertainer piece, I would also recommend THE PONDHAWKS..." READ


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