2009 - Present
By the release of their next studio effort, Embracing Mainstream Success, in July 2009, Paul Naronis had returned, replacing Jaillon on guitar, and new bass player Greg Szlezak had relieved Spanos of his bass player duties. This line-up stayed true to the band’s roots (“Shoplifting Bananas” and “Serving Beer To Miners” became instant classics) while continuing to spread its boundaries (“Hazardville Headlines”). Much to their fan’s [sic] surprise, the band slowly began weaving classic rock covers into their sets (akin to their early days) widening their palatability so that gigs like the much-sought-after NYC Marathon, the Lithuanian camp Giraite in Connecticut (for which a documentary was produced when they co-headlined with Randy Jackson of Zebra) and the ilk became standard.
In celebration of thirty years, the group released Variety Pack (still available exclusively through Bandcamp) which included new song contributions not only by current members but also Jaillon, Spanos, (Ed) Kezys and even Adomaitis’ son, Clark, playing a myriad of instruments. Due to this anniversary album as well, a new turnstile approach in regards to which members wound up appearing in concerts (including the 2012 XIV Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival held in Boston) was brought to life much to audiences’ delight. Also, because of this radical direction, luckily, the band was able to write, record and perform with Ellis Spanos several more times before his untimely passing in March of 2013. Some of this material appears on a commemorative re-release of Midnight Train to Siauliai. (On Amazon, the original version was ranked 969,434 in sales as of this writing.) Live material from an understandably emotional performance the following month at the Long Island Music Festival Semi-Finals appears on their 2014 release, Nakturnal Wood.
The following February, hot on the heels of three stellar New York-area appearances including a stint at Hail Hail in Brooklyn, all of which included Ed Kezys on bass, Steel Wolf released their eighth studio album, Hot Honey Liquor, which, aside from other mediums, became accessible through KristalAudio.com (the premiere Lithuanian music distributor) as well as the Nassau county public library. Astonishingly, a fan's video upload on Facebook of a live unplugged performance of a non-album single received an unprecedented over-22,000 views! The song,“Kur Tas Kugelis?”, was later released on a limited edition live album, The Spotlight Tapes, and gained more popularity through special performances at Northeastern Lithuanian events (plus a Los Angeles one) and through merchandising. The song became a set list staple at Steel Wolf performances. (Most of Steel Wolf’s more recent concert set lists are now available at setlist.fm) During the next twelve months or so, the band performed most notably at Baltimore's Lithuanian Hall during the weekend of the 2016 XV Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival (The show was attended by Jurgis Didziulis!), the weddings of both Lynda & Paul Slabosevicius and Anna & Greg (former SW bassist) Szlezak, a fundraiser for the Andrew Burrous Best Buddy Foundation at the Floral Park Knights of Columbus, and played full concerts at both the Covert Avenue Street Fair in Long Island and the New York Lithuanian Festival in Brooklyn on the same day.
In 2017, Steel Wolf’s 35th anniversary year, among gigs at other venues and an accepted invitation to be flown to the Los Angeles Lithuanian Fair, the band left audiences stunned at Harlem's legendary Silvana multiple times. At these concerts they delivered full-steam performances of songs from a new offering, The Unreleased Album, which joined their other releases’ availability through iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and other websites and included (on the full band-autographed, physical CD) a bonus EP, Loungin' Live 2017. The album also received the highly-desired positive review from Long Island’s Good Times magazine. Another of that year's highlights was undoubtedly when a representative of the Zildjian cymbal company, Peter Valaitis, bestowed upon Steel Wolf, mid-concert, a cymbal with the band's logo emblazoned on it. The band would go on to display it at many future performances. Later, the band was honored with a tour of their facility in Massachusetts.
Commencing in late 2018 and continuing into 2019, the band (with help again from Clark and also brothers Stasys and Simas Janusas) began Not Playin’ With A Full Deck [sic] at many of their familiar (Desmond’s in NYC) and even unfamiliar (KJ Farrell’s and TC Kross’ Village Pub on Long Island) haunts and releasing new songs via Bandcamp and Soundcloud with video clips streaming on Youtube culminating in their tenth studio album. Mark and Ed now performed acoustically (and continue to do so) as Steel Wolf But Unplugged. Before year's end the band reunited with Naronis for a concert performing Embracing Mainstream Success in its entirety to celebrate that album's tenth anniversary.
In the new decade during the coronavirus pandemic, writing and recording has continued for future releases but the band produced five well-received videos with members both past and present performing their parts while in quarantine. Additionally, a sixteen-song live album comprised of material from the previous year, Loungin' Live Now!, was distributed to fans. Even though full concerts were put on hold, Steel Wolf But Unplugged has been making surprise monthly appearances at New York-area open mics bringing smiles to the faces of event organizers. Click the button below for a taste.