Steve Poltz's bio says, "Steve Poltz is not normal." I cannot judge that from one conversation, but I can say that you might know a few of his songs, and be shocked by some of his other work. No matter which incarnation of his music you like, Poltz's fans are dedicated to his songwriting and to each other in ways many artists only imagine. Poltz fans follow him from show to show, country to country, and plan their vacations to meet other Poltz fans that they only know through his shows. In his words, if fans are not coming up to the band after shows to buy CD's and asking, "When are you coming back?" then artists need to re-evaluate what they are doing creatively. The call to action should be so deep, that listeners seek out the band. That said, Poltz's music is not for everyone, and his live shows can be so intense that significant others' of diehard fans make a point of telling him how much they hated it!
As a child, Steve's uncle Louis took him to hear classical guitar, and young Poltz became enamored with the gut-string guitar, while listening to music ranging from the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack to Janis Joplin, and later depressing Jackson Browne songs and Pink Floyd's The Wall. As a teen, his older sister worked for a college radio station, and brought home Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True, which opened him up to a whole new world of what songwriting could be. As an adult, Poltz's early songwriting drew influences from Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan (Blond on Blond) and Neil Young (Greendale). Steve's years with the Rugburns clarified the power of writing a song that connects with an audience, but it also made clear that he prefers autonomy to a group democracy, and "going solo" opened him up to a lot more work as a musician and the freedom to hire a band when he wanted, but not be tied down by the needs of a group of people. Flexibility became key.
Steve Poltz's latest record Noineen Noiny Noinis newly released, but he has already recorded his next record, in a whirlwind trip through Austin, Texas, during South By Southwest. The current title comes from an Australian promoter he first met while touring Australia with Jewel (with whom he toured and co-wrote for many years), who said, "Well, I reckon I met first met you in 1999," in his thick Australian country accent. Chatting with Steve Poltz careens from politics to beautiful women to songwriting gems, so I can only imagine what a live show must be like. For now, video will suffice, as do his extensive live recordings.
This post was originally shared on CountryFriedRock.org with expanded information, including the audio for the radio show, the podcast to download, the playlist, and video.