The PondHawks / Bio

Are The PondHawks Chicago’s Best Kept Pop Music Secret? New Album May Change That

The up and coming unsigned indie band is making waves not only on the radio, but also in social media. They have more than 320,000 likes on Facebook and thousands of followers on Twitter, MySpace, Youtube and Reverbnation putting their fan base over 400,000.


Formed in 2007 by songwriting partners Mario Novelli and Jorie Gracen, The PondHawks have since captured a worldwide audience with catchy melodies and a pioneering approach to music. Some may call it retro-rock with a now sound, but the band’s unique signature style falls into its own category.

The PondHawks have an artistry for storytelling, which evolves through meticulously crafted passages that create atmosphere and mood. Their music is driven by poetic lyricism that is clever and compelling. Stellar vocal harmonies intertwine seamlessly through musical interludes that unfold with stunning synchronicity and energy. Instruments are carefully selected to drive the melody and the emotional power of the song.

Their critically acclaimed albums, The PondHawks Have Landed (2010) and Dreaming Over Ireland (2012) received extensive Triple A FM radio airplay in the US and massive Internet radio play worldwide with albums selling out their initial runs. The PondHawks Have Landed, reached the #7 spot in the Top 10 (USA) Regional Albums of 2011.

The band’s hit song “Drive,” from Dreaming Over Ireland, charted at #1 on Music World Radio’s Top 20 Alternative Songs Euro Chart. Votes from thousands of fans from around the world kept the song at #1 for 13 weeks.

When The PondHawks’ holiday song “Winter Wine” premiered on a UK radio station in December 2015 — their first new music in three years — 45,842 listeners from around the world tuned in to hear the song. At the time the song aired, it was 11:50 PM EST and 4:50 AM in Europe.

At a recent outdoor concert headlined by the band, 8,000 fans showed up. Some traveled long distances from other states and many sported PondHawks T-shirts.

In The PondHawks’ hometown of River Grove, a suburb of Chicago, phone calls from fans flooded the Mayor’s office. The band’s outdoor concert was cancelled due to weather and fans wanted to know when it would be rescheduled.


The PondHawks' newly released third album Blue Light, their first new album in four years, is making an impact on popular streaming services. Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music are driving album sales on iTunes (US, Europe), and Amazon.com (US, UK, Russia, Europe).

Blue Light hit the top album spot in the Official Holiday Music Guide of iTunes Download Releases for November 2016 and made the 59th Grammy Awards ballot in 13 categories. It was the second PondHawks album to make the prestigious Top 10 Regional Albums of the Year (2016) charting at #6.

Two days after the album’s first single, “Bitter Game” was released, it charted at #3 in the Top 15 Reverbnation Picks of the Week posted by A Journal of Musical Things.

Alan Cross, music critic at, A Journal of Musical Things, writes:
"The Pondhawks have a mid-to-late ’60’s sound that brings to mind a combination of The Beatles and David Bowie.”

The album continues to get robust radio airplay in the US and Europe with all 10 songs popping up on radio station playlists. Album track, “Future In Our Hands” charted at #1 on Milwaukee, Triple A radio station, WBSD 89.1 FM’s playlist.

Alan Haber of Pure Pop Radio had this to say about Blue Light:
“This Chicago trio is a melodic treat, melding retro and contemporary influences for a decidedly catchy listening experience. Clever touches delight across the whole program, from the mandolin-powered “Armadilla,” with its playful vocal harmonies, to the pop pleasures of four-on-the-floor pop-rocker ‘Bitter Game.’ Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen and Michael Gillespie deliver a highly desirable album and win on all cylinders.”

Blue Light charts at #6 - Top 10 Regional Albums of 2016
Music critic Tom Lounges (Northwest Indiana Times) writes:

The Pondhawks create tasty ear candy while blending the British flavor of those beloved Mersey Beat boys with the kind of Sunshine-pop made famous by the likes of Boyce & Hart. Its groovy psych-pop sound resonates with us boomers who miss the sparkling hooks and bouncy beat of Sixties pop. Be warned! This 10-song collection is upbeat, energized and prone to causing spontaneous "happy feet." "Blue Light" not only fulfills the promise The Pondhawks made to music fans with their debut album "The PondHawks Have Landed" but continues towards the next level on the more progressive '60s sound of the last two tracks, "Orange Sunset Time" and the Eastern-flavored "Incredible Dream."

After one listen to Blue Light, fans of The Beatles, ELO and Paul McCartney and Wings, will be delighted to find a happy mix of pop, rock, and classic rock influences jam-packed with tasty Beatlesque flavors and psychedelia.

The PondHawks are currently the #1 ranked Indie band in the USA and the world on the Reverbnation charts. They were selected out of 3.7 million bands to join the prestigious Reverbnation Connect A & R group based in New York City. Connect’s A & R Director, Matt DuFour, described The PondHawks’ music as “timeless.”

General Info

Band Members
Mario Novelli - Vocals/songwriter/guitar/bass/keyboards/drums/mandolin/ukulele/percussion, Jorie Gracen - Vocals/songwriter/keyboards/piano/synth/guitar/percussion
Artist Name
The PondHawks
Profile Page
Active Since
Indie / Alternative / Adult Contemporary

Contact Info

Chicago, IL

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