Teen Dreams

Edewaard has only been together since last February, but the Eugene-based band is heating up quickly. “A few of us actually quit our jobs to pursue this music career,” says Jered Pound, Edewaard rhythm guitarist and ad hoc manager. “It’s all about banging on doors and getting the word out. I have my days where I’m up until 3 am contacting venue after venue and doing my best to reach out to radio stations.” And the hard work is paying off: This year the young group made it to the semi-finals in this EW’s Next Big Thing showcase — performing at the Lane County Fair — and they boast a busy and ambitious schedule of live performances, in Eugene as well as up and down the West Coast.

Pound describes Edewaard’s sound as new and eclectic — integrating influences like metal, punk, hip hop, R&B, jazz and good ol’ pop rock from the ’70s and ’80s. “With everyone’s elements we give it a nice alternative sound,” Pound says. But watching Edewaard is a thoroughly millennial experience. Primary songwriter and vocalist Matt Edewaard, complete with tattoo sleeves (he’s also a tattoo artist), has the dreamboat looks and vulnerable voice of a teen heartthrob. Edewaard plays romantic acoustic-based pop songs tailor-made for contemporary top 40 radio: Think Jason Mraz, with less beach and more balls. Edewaard, given time, could be Eugene’s next best hope for a pure pop-rock breakout act. “We would like to stay here as long as we can,” Pound says. “We all grew up here, and would love to put Oregon on the map for something other than football. We’re just here to play rock ‘n’ roll music and we’re absolutely grateful for our fans and followers.”

Edewaard plays with Kayd Z at 8 pm Monday, Aug. 12, at Cozmic; $6.