I love Steve Poltz. He is one of my favorite artists to watch perform. If he is playing in your town, go see him. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. When the crowd is good & Poltzy is in the groove, it can be a memorable and entertaining evening. “Conversations” was released after Steve had left The Rugburns, a San Diego based band, and released “One Left Shoe” as a solo artist. It is a unique type of album in that Steve has spoken introductions to several of the songs. Anyone that is familiar with the eclectic Poltz knows that a huge part of the appeal of his live performances is the banter and occasionally introspective songwriting revalations.This album is actually more of an “EP” as it contains only 6 actual songs. Of the six cuts on the CD, 2 of them are studio tracks off his “One Left Shoe” album and 4 new offerings. “Silver Lining” kicks off the disc and is from the “One Left Shoe” album. It is also one of three songs on this set cowritten with Jewel, possibly because part of the agenda on this release was to take advantage of her skyrocketing popularity at the time. It’s a fun, upbeat song that was a staple of his live set for years. “Silver Lining” is also the only song on this disc that does not get a Poltzy introduction. The second song offering is Steve’s acoustic version of the “You Were Meant For Me” the smash hit song that he and Jewel wrote together and she made a gazillion dollars from. This, of course, is the engine that runs the ship of this release. I don’t know what I can add about this song that has not been written. The odds are good that a lot of you out there reading this may not have heard of Steve Poltz but the odds are pretty slim that you out there in the blogosphere have not heard of “YWMFM”, as it is often labeled on live Poltzy recordings. I am biased but I prefer Steve’s version, especially if you get to see it live where it can run up to 12 minutes long with a Poltzy story to bridge it.The 5th track on the record is another from”One Left Shoe” called “Good Morning (Waking Up With You)”. Because he has a penchant for writing fun, goofy and sometimes WTF style songs, he sometimes will catch you off guard with a beautiful and sappy gem like this. Following the blueprint of most slow ballad type Poltz songs it is built around an acoustic guitar played expertly and melodically. While for most people the big reason to pick up this album is the Poltz version of “YWMFM” , which is understandable given its immense popularity, for me it is easily “Nice Guys Finish Last”. Steve and I have shared correspondence and talked at shows….mostly about baseball. I am an unabashed and unapologetic baseball geek and its a trait that he and I share. For Steve it’s the Padres, for me it’s the Twins and one of these years we will get that dream World Series match up…where the Twins win in 7 games! But I digress. This song may possibly be one of the best baseball songs I have ever heard, ranking right up there with Jeff Arundel’s “Harmon Killebrew”. Only a fan who loves the game as much as Steve could have written this beautiful ode to Leo Durocher (“Leo The Lip”) the great former baseball manager who coined the phrase Nice guys finish last. Every time I hear this song I can picture Steve on a stool, gently rocking back and forth with his eyes closed singing this from his heart. I have seen Steve play on many occasions but I have only seen him play this once…so Steve please play this song more often. This record closes out with another collaboration with Jewel “I Thought I Saw You Last Night” and the very odd bluesy tune “Satan’s Choir”.
While this was never really considered a full length studio release in the eyes of most it is a must have for the recordings of “YWMFM” & “Nice Guys Finish Last”. Let’s see if Steve will post a link to his store to help you add this to your collection, Steve?