The Hawkeyes are a modern rock powerhouse. Rooted in rhythmic stomp and guitar-driven snarl, they make music that nods to the hard-hitting heavyweights of rock & roll’s past, refashioning that diehard sound into something contemporary and larger than life.
Although hailing from Pittsburgh, the Hawkeyes sharpened their sound on the road. It was there — on the sweaty, beer-soaked stages of America’s dive bars, clubs, and theaters — that the band’s four members began blending anthemic hooks, hard-rock crunch, and amplified attitude, with frontman Jay Wiley leading the charge. Headlining their own shows one minute and opening for groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Collective Soul the next, the Hawkeyes became genuine road warriors, building their audience song-by-song and show-by-show. They solidified their lineup along the way, with drummer Luke Zajdel and guitarist Noah Myers both teaming up with Wiley to carry rock & roll’s torch into a new era.
To properly capture their sonic swagger on record, the guys headed back home to Pennsylvania, where they teamed up with producer Sean McDonald — a Pittsburgh legend who had previously worked with another group of Steel City exports: The Clarks — to craft Ever for After. McDonald encouraged Wiley to dig deep into the music he’d grown up loving, including records by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Oasis, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Foo Fighters. Working together as co-writers and collaborators, McDonald and Wiley crafted a new batch of raw, larger-than-life songs that built upon the songwriting chops Wiley had already been honing for years, not only as the founding member of the Hawkeyes, but also as a solo artist. The result was an album that matched Wiley’s melodies and Rust Belt persona with the power of a revved-up modern rock band.
With singles like “Stone’s Throw Away” and “Wanted Man” receiving regular airplay on the band’s hometown rock radio station, WDVE, the Hawkeyes have become hometown favorites. They’ve played some of Pittsburgh’s largest venues, including Stage AE, Rex Theater, Thunderbird Cafe, and Hard Rock Cafe. They’ve also continued racking up tens of thousands of highway miles on the road, making appearances at national festivals like Mile of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Sturgis Music Fest in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Driven and dynamic, the Hawkeyes are dedicated to updating rock & roll’s adrenalized sound for the modern world. This is the sound of a band on the rise.
-written by Andrew Leahy