When walking into a Steve Poltz concert, expect the unexpected. A surprise ode to a stage-sharing Florida cockroach for instance. The audience spotted the bug first, at one of the first stops on the celebrated songsmith’s tour in St. Augustine, Florida.
“Without missing a beat, I made a loop, a sort of hip hop song about a palmetto bug,” he said. Poltz never lets precedent get in the way of fun, often singing about audience members, the venue or the location he’s in (and its creepy crawlies) off the cuff.
“People always freak out, like ‘how did that happen’? I don’t know how it happened, it’s magic,” he said. Poltz plays the Haliburton Legion in a Haliburton County Folk Society show April 23.
If you haven’t heard of him, you’ve almost certainly heard his work. He wrote songs like “You were meant for me” that helped launch Jewel into the global spotlight.
His songwriting career has spanned 14 albums that weave smooth guitar with quirky lyrics that tap into soda pop, getting older, religion, Emmylou Harris, quarantine blues, love, baseball … and just about anything else you can think of.
He’s also a prolific tourer, notching nearly 250 shows a year.
“Probably, I’m just insane,” he muses. While Poltz’s set lists are usually different, there’s a chance he’ll be drawing from his 2022 album Stardust & Satellites which was profiled in Rolling Stone and positively reviewed across North America.
“I never really plan on making a record. I sort of just think up songs. I think ‘I have a collection of songs here, I should record them’,” he said.
Don Gage of the Haliburton County Folk Society said he’s been trying to bring Poltz to the County for a while. The timing was finally right, as Poltz is playing other shows such as Orillia’s Roots North festival around the same time.
Gage said he was “blown away” by Poltz the first time he saw him live. “He’s a comedian and an entertainer as well as a songwriter and singer,” Gage said. “You cannot leave a concert by Steve without a smile on your face. I dare you to even try.”
Perhaps Poltz, in “Wrong Town,” describes his style best: “I’m emo, I’m screamo, I’m country, I’m folk, Americana if you wanna’, I’m old fashioned but I’m woke.” But mostly, Poltz continues, “I’m just here to sing for you.” Tickets are available at haliburtonfolk.com