Since I have no idea where to begin when it comes to describing Steve Poltz, I will start with our very first interaction. In 2022, Poltz was playing a show (probably his best show ever) at Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. I arrived at the gig a little late, and he was already on stage performing. I had never heard of Poltz other than seeing his name on the artist list for that day. As I was walking towards the stage, he was singing and talking with the audience at the same time, making them laugh. I thought, "Okay, this guy seems fun and kind of weird, that's right up my entertainment alley." I unpacked my camera gear and walked out to the front of the stage. Poltz noticed me immediately, and I got a bit nervous because he already seemed pretty unpredictable.
Poltz finished up the song he was playing and made a direct beeline in my direction. He stood right in front of me and said, "Hey, do you want to make the best picture in history?" How could I not take advantage of not knowing what was to come, and politely and excitedly said yes, I would. He said, "Okay, I will count to three, and all you have to do is snap on three and leave the rest up to me." Once again, I obliged with a solid yes. Poltz then counted, and on three, he jumped higher than anyone his age has the right to—we are the same age, so I know this for a fact. I would have pulled a hammy on that move. He asked, "Did you get it?" and I said, "Yes, I did."
After his set, I was waiting for him on the side of the stage to show him the best photo in history, and he said, "Oh my god, you got it, and it’s amazing." We chatted for a bit, and after that day, I have not seen him in person until yesterday. Since then, the photo has been on the cover of The Joshua Tree Voice Magazine in April of 2023 and is also the cover shot on the Steve Poltz website (link included here - https://poltz.com/). I have a feeling Poltz makes many friends in this manner, and boy, am I glad he did. After really digging into his musical journey, I quickly discovered it's pretty far out, adventurous, and downright cool. Poltz could write a song about a space heater and make it interesting and fun; he simply has the ability to entertain an audience with such ease and joy it almost seems unreal. His songwriting is like a moving picture of inspiration and knowledge that comes from somewhere else in the universe, and the cool thing is he sings about it.
Over the years, Poltz has gained many fans and accolades for his thought-provoking and often times comical lyrical truths. His personal interaction with his audience and his uncanny ability to spread joy to the world is inspiring. He writes music from what his eyes capture, his ears hear, and his heart feels. He may think there is no rhyme or reason to his craft, but there is an outcome for everything on this planet, and his happens to be making people happy. He is an unsung hero in some ways as he has penned many beautiful compositions for other artists; you could almost call him the Prince of Folk. He co-wrote the multiplatinum Billboard smash hit ‘You Were Meant For Me’ with his longtime friend Jewel. Poltz’s busker persona, charming wit, and clever delivery of his music work together like nothing normal should.
Well, I hope Steve Poltz can redeem double frequent flyer miles as he flew to Colorado twice yesterday. His first flight was getting ready to land in the Rocky Mountain state when it was determined too dangerous to land with the winter weather bearing down on the Denver airport. The flight flew back to Salt Lake City and returned to Colorado later in the day once the weather cleared. As exhausting as that sounds, Poltz arrived at the gig on time, he was in great spirits, and performed a great set. Armed with his guitar and quick-fire wit, he played music from several different eras of his career and some newer material as well. The consummate storyteller described the origins of the songs and how they came to fruition.
The audience was either tapping their feet or laughing hysterically during the show. Poltz, part singer/songwriter, guitar player, and comedian, shared funny stories of his everyday life. He told a story about meeting Barbara Walters and sitting on her lap while he played her a tune. He told stories of songwriting collaborations with some very colorful characters that inspired some of the weird and wonderful music he played. Poltz had a cool finger-picking style using all of his fingers to pick his well-selected notes on his road-worn Taylor guitar.
Poltz also had a looping setup that enabled him to record layers of his voice and guitar and play it back to the audience. He was adding lyrics over the pre-recorded segment, creating a new song on the spot. The song was about writing songs for someone else and not dealing with the bullshit that comes along with it. The show was great, Poltz is an anomaly of goodness and joy. His approach to music is so clever and unique, offering the listener a perspective they probably never considered. Stay tuned for new music from the denim troubadour, and if you are ever in a position where you might be meeting Poltz and you think he may be hungry, get him a veggie burrito; take my word for it.
Shanna in a Dress opened the show for Poltz and will be opening tonight in Denver as well. Her songwriting was personal, witty, and delivered with style and class. Full of introspective observations of life and love, and with great storytelling abilities, her songs flowed beautifully through the room. It’s not often you get two amazing artists in the same room on the same night who can slay you with a song and make your ribs hurt from laughter. Shanna in a Dress did an amazing job entertaining the audience, and we hope to see her back in Fort Collins soon.
Thanks to Steve Poltz and Shanna in a Dress for visiting Fort Collins. Thanks to Phil Einsohn at 7S MGMT, and thanks to The Armory’s staff and guests.