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Sweat Equity: Hard Work Paying Off for Niagara Falls Band, Hywater

Niagara Falls rock band Hywater has certainly been making a name for itself.


Their debut single, ‘Up in the Air,’ was on the 2024 ballot for Grammy Award consideration for Best Rock Performance. Meanwhile, last year, they were asked to open for Don Felder, famed guitarist of The Eagles, before a crowd of 5,000 people at Batavia Downs. And in between, the band — which just recently returned from playing shows in Youngstown, Ohio — has been working the road to spread their sound.


“It’s getting almost to the point that the amount of love and support is almost more there (in Ohio) than we have here,” the band’s Collin Lacki said of the recent Youngstown shows. “The last gig we played out in Youngstown, we had two people from there, not from here, that came to the show wearing our shirts.”


The band — which is composed of Thomas Tedesco on vocals and guitar, Lacki on keys and vocals, Connor Best on lead guitar and Dylan Howard on drums — traces its origin back to SUNY Niagara where it formed originally as Tedesco Knows Best.


“I went to N-Triple-C which they are now calling SUNY Niagara,” Lacki said. “They had a class called ‘Rock Ensemble.’” Tedesco came into the class to help a mutual friend with his group, and he and Lacki hit it off. It was the first semester of the COVID-19 pandemic and, by this time, Lacki — a multi-instrumentalist – was in a few bands.


Soon afterward, the two started playing together.


“It was the following semester in the fall of 2020 and we already had (the song) ‘Starry Eyes’ in the set, and I asked, ‘what’s your best song?’” Tedesco recalled.


Hywater is managed by Tedesco’s father, Tom Tedesco, who earned success managing the band, Klear. Tedesco is also related to Tommy Tedesco of 70’s recording artist fame in Hollywood.


Lacki, who has been in Nashville and travels back to the Falls for shows, has been able to retain a close songwriting partnership with Tedesco despite the geographical distance. Besides its single, ‘Up in the Air,’ the band released its first EP in December titled, “This Way Up.” Meanwhile, Hywater’s next record will be its debut album, free of any Tedesco Knows Best coattails, the band said.


Reflecting back on its recent shows in Youngtown, Tedesco said: “To go to a place on the road and work that market, it’s a lot of work. But I think we’ve gained a foothold in that area.”


“The crowds are so interactive, so involved,” Lacki added. “The first time they hear a song, they’ll hear the first chorus and by the second they’ll be singing along.”


While music is a labor of love, Tedesco describes the labor as just that: Hard work. And he shared some final words on the forthcoming album, and the band’s future as a whole.


“We’ve got a couple songs in the can, but at the end of the day it’s a lot of hard work, because nobody’s knocking on the door,” he said. “So we have to let ourselves in.”


(Check out Hywater at You can also catch the band live June 9 at Mohawk Place and June 28 at Batavia Downs.)



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