Steve Poltz: Have guitar, will travel

Steve Poltz is a hell of a busy guy. He is spending the summer of 2010 playing shows just about anywhere that will have him, whether it means playing major festivals events such as the Ottawa Bluesfest or at the Petite Riviere Vineyards in Crousetown, Nova Scotia. And actually, if you take a peek at his schedule on his website, he is also playing numerous house parties over the course of the summer as well. Clearly, when it comes to spreading the gospel of his music, no reasonable offer is off limits.

“I’ve been on the road since 1992. I don’t know why it hasn’t gotten old yet,” Poltz says.

The fact of the matter is, Poltz has been making music for the better part of forever. In all seriousness though, his first band The Rugburns released their debut record in 1994, their second record in 1995 as well as a couple of EP’s before disbanding when Poltz left the group to pursue life as a solo artist.

Those aspirations would produce his memorable folk-influenced solo debut One Left Shoe, released in 1998. Signed to Polygram Records at the time, Poltz was being hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as the “next big thing”. Not bad for a guy born in Nova Scotia and raised in California.

Just months after One Left Shoe hit store shelves however, Poltz was dropped by Polygram leaving One Left Shoe dead in the water but remains philosophical about his fleeting major label experience, even to this day:

“I ended up selling what would be a lot for an indie label but just not up to major label sales standards,” Poltz says.

Speaking with The MusicNerd Chronicles after a sound check in Jacksonville, Florida, Poltz goes on to say:

“The experience was a lot of fun. Plus the whole Rolling Stone thing was great for my ego,” he laughs. “Once I made peace with the fact that the music business is a brutal business, I look back on the experience fondly.”

Thankfully for us, Poltz continued chasing his musical aspirations, happily making music for anyone who cared to give him the time of day.

In 2008, Poltz returned to his birth province of Nova Scotia and was performing a show when part-way through, he noticed the one and only Joel Plaskett in the audience. Calling the artist up for a take on Plaskett’s own “Light Of The Moon”, the spur-of-the-moment duet marked the beginnings of a friendship that would ultimately lead to Plaskett being in the producer’s chair for Poltz’s newest record, Dreamhouse.

“Joel was a great contributor to my new record. In fact, I don’t feel as though the record would be what it is without him.”

Asked what specifically Plaskett brought to the table, Poltz is quick to offer a number of positive attributes:

“First and foremost, Joel helped keep things organized and together. He was able to sift through the songs and was able to put them together in a cohesive package. He was incredibly patient and had a lot of great suggestions to offer.

“We ended up forging a really strong friendship in the end.”

Even though mass commercial success has eluded Poltz’s solo career to date, he remains confident about his career choice:

“On the road, you truly never know what you’re walking into from one night to the next. There are some nights that you are treated like a king, getting a great dinner and great accommodations and then the next night, you aren’t given the courtesy of free water.

“All of these experiences teach you something though. At the end of the day though, you just gotta enjoy the ride, no matter what cards you are dealt. There’s nothing worse than a bitter musician.”