Nothing like a little 'Jambo in January.'
And nothing better to warm up a cold winter's night than a live performance from one of the Ohio Valley's favorite sons, Joe Zelek.
Wheeling's Generations Pub heats up Saturday night when Zelek and his stellar band take the stage for their annual Halfway to the Hills concert.
Members of the Joe Zelek Band are, left to right, Peter Wilson, Corey Congilio, Dan Bozek, Joe Zelek and Kelly Jones.
Last summer, Zelek celebrated his fifth anniversary as a Jamboree in the Hills main stage performer. Over that period, he's continued to write engaging country music and is anticipating a banner 2012 both recording and performing.
"We're in the studio right now cutting some songs we're really excited about," Zelek said over the phone earlier this week.
"In fact, we're planning on debuting many of these new tunes at Generations. These are songs I think many of our fans can relate to. We always look forward to playing this January show and reconnecting with a lot of folks who go out to Jamboree in the Hills in July."
Zelek, who moved back to the area following a brief residence in Nashville, speaks highly of his band's current lineup.
"Some of the music we're recording now has a true Joe Zelek Band feel. I hope our fans will agree," he stated. "I think we've truly found our own identity and as a result, we're all looking forward to an exciting year ahead."
Zelek still travels to Music City on a regular basis where his career took shape over the past few years. "Yes, I get down there frequently. Unfortunately, the industry has taken somewhat of a downturn in recent years and fewer acts are being signed."
Despite that notion, Zelek maintains a firm grip on the business side of his career and has a few anticipated projects as 2012 progresses.
In the end, it all comes back to Zelek's writing and vocal skills and his ability to perform at perhaps, the most successful country music festival of it's kind.
"It's pretty hard putting into words what playing (Jamboree in the Hills) has meant to us," he stated. "What a great relationship...not to mention the exposure."
For the record, Zelek's notoriety is not confined to the immediate area. He's made more than a few friends over the years.
"We're fortunate our live show has connected with so many both (here at home) and around other parts of the country as well," he remarked. "No question, the Generation's show has become one of our most popular. We really like the idea of playing an extended set. Last year, we did something around two hours."
Before Zelek and his band takes the stage Saturday night, another area standout, Tim Ullom, plays a spirited set.
For advance ticket info, phone 304-232-7917.
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org