Steve Poltz is not normal.
He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) but has lived most of his life in
Southern California and those geographic poles are quite likely responsible for his
unhinged genius. He is a dual citizen – Canada/USA – but has often said that,
“should a hostage situation arise, I become conveniently Canadian.”
Over the course of his life he’s met Elvis Presley (who hugged his sister for far too
long), trick or treated at Liberace’s house (each finger had a diamond ring), was
Bob Hope’s favourite altar boy (according to him), bravely traveled the world
busking before he knew how to do it, famously co-wrote “You Were Meant For Me”
with Jewel, pissed off David Cassidy and can count some of the world’s coolest
people as fans.
He’s also an ex high school wrestler (98 pound class), an obsessed baseball fan, a
yoga practitioner, a hopeless romantic, a smart-ass philosopher and a child-like
adventurer/observer with an absurdist’s view of this crazy world and the various
life-forms that inhabit it. He’s interested in it all – the big and the small, the sublime
and the ridiculous, the terrestrial and the cosmic. He doesn’t just love life, he rides
it bareback, naked, at a full gallop with one hand clenched deep in its mane and the
other waving to anyone watching as he flies by. Time is ticking and he has work to
As a recording artist, he’s fronted the semi-legendary Rugburns and is responsible
for a critically lauded body of work on his own: One Left Shoe, Chinese
Vacation, Answering Machine, The Barn (a children’s album), Tales From The
Tavern (a performance DVD), Traveling, Unraveling, Dreamhouse, Noineen Noiny
Noin and most recently the soundtrack for the acclaimed Sundance-screened
documentary film, Running Wild – The Life of Dayton O. Hyde.
As good as his albums are (and they’re very, very good), Steve positively owns a
crowd when he’s on stage, where the proverbial rubber hits the road. His shows are
the stuff of legend – no two are alike – and can take an unsuspecting audience
from laughter to tears and back again in the space of a single song. He is a master
of improvisational songwriting and works without a set list to be free to react
instantly to the mood of a room. It’s also worth mentioning that he is an
astonishing guitar player on top of everything else. He is quite possibly the most
talented, and engaging, solo performer on this planet. That’s what 250+ shows a
year on three continents will do for you.
Whether he’s Canadian, or American, or simply from space there’s no denying
there’s only one Steven Joseph Joshua Poltz and to know him is to love him.