The Lineup

Wylie Hunter and the Cazadores

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Two records into a career that has already earned them notable label interest and a modest regional following, Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores nevertheless have no guarantee they’ll make it to the promised land. Still, the ambition in Hunter’s voice and the assuredness in the Chapel Hill band’s musicianship suggest these are the early days of a band bound for glory.

That they take their share of cues from classic rock ’n’ roll heroes—Petty, Springsteen, Seger, and the like—suggests a desire for timelessness. They seem less concerned with contemporary notions, even as they slide in alongside fellow American revivalists such as The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady. On 2010’s self-titled EP and this year’s full-length Someone You Used to Know, the Cazadores have firmly established their identity, proving adept at emotionally charged anthems as well as more subtle acoustic numbers.

If no-nonsense heartland rock is their bread and butter, it’s more a launching-point than an endgame. “I love so many different kinds of music, and it almost seems unfair sometimes that when you’re in a band, people want you to be good at one thing,” Hunter observes. “I want to be able to do anything that we would want to do. If we wanted to make a soul record, I would love to do that. The bands that I admire the most are bands that continue to evolve.”

There’s time for evolution; in the meantime, there’s an urgency and immediacy to the music the Cazadores are playing right now. Whether they’re blazing down a new road in “Someone You Used To Know,” soaking up the sun in “Child of the Summer,” or seeking redemption in “Get On Up!,” their passion burns bright as they drive straight into the heat of the night. —Peter Blackstock