Steve Poltz might be one of Canada’s best kept musical secrets — largely because he got the heck outta Dodge as soon as he could and spent the three decades of his musical career living everywhere but here. Hatched in Halifax, Poltz earned his sardonic rock-country-folk chops as co-founder and frontman for underground legends and road warriors The Rugburns, crisscrossing the continent tirelessly in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. In 1996, while playing at a coffeehouse in San Diego, he met and fell for another musician, and despite Poltz’s sardonic wit and left-turn lyrical tendencies, he wrote a heartfelt little love song that she went on to perform. The musician was Jewel, and the song was the multi-platinum “You Were Meant for Me.”
With his fortune made, and no need to ever play or tour again, Poltz continued playing and touring like his life depended on it. He recorded a prolific 13 albums over the next 18 years. Having lived for two decades in San Diego, his partner decided it was time to try living in Nashville, the musical experience Poltz hadn’t tried yet. The resulting album is 2018’s Shine On which evokes themes of hope, love, contemplation, celebration of Wednesday, pharmacists, and the fact that windows are not inanimate objects and they sometimes have conversations with each other.
Despite Poltz’s irrepressible tendency towards smartassery, his music is also replete with shimmering beauty, like the song “All Things Shine,” written in response to one of the dishearteningly frequent mass shootings on the news, and espousing the belief that however bad things might feel, “there is still beauty. All things shine in their own way.” Poltz certainly does.
Biography by Shereen Samuels