While Rust Belt songsmith Joe Zelek’s new album Days of the Wild is clearly informed by classic Petty and Springsteen, it’s the combination of Americana and indie rock influences lurking in the corners that ultimately define it as his most authentic and personal thus far.
The record is anchored by a six-song classic JZB studio reunion that occurred back in March of 2017 that saw guitarist Corey Congilio, drummer Peter Wilson, and bassist Dan Bozek back in their long time roles of interpreting and delivering JZ songs with unspoken clarity and passion.
The final four tunes see Joe taking on a self-reliant approach in his home studio producing, engineering and playing most of the instruments along with a minimal but vital list of contributors including Pittsburgh indie rock band Donora’s Jake Hanner and Jake Churton.
From the heartland pulse of the title cut co-written with The Clarks’ Greg Joseph, to the Brian Wilson meets The Cure stylings of Reckless Youth (which tells the story of JZ’s real life teenage heavy metal band) the album seamlessly fires on both nostalgic and modern cylinders. The collection combines a wide range of co-writes with starkly honest self-penned tunes such as the quiet troubadour confessional “All I Know” and the Dawes-tinged heartbreak of “Don’t Want You To Go.”
Joe Zelek is a native of Mt. Pleasant, OH and spent several years touring as a drummer for the Gathering Field and Bill Deasy before launching his solo project. He has been a main stage performer at Jamboree In The Hills for the past decade and his songs can be heard in Duck Dynasty, The Wahlburgers and other television outlets including major network high school football coverage in markets such as Orlando, FL and Green Bay, WI.