Steve Poltz

I Didn’t Want to Tell You by Cowtownchad #1902

Chad Cochran, the photographer known as Cowtownchad, created his I Didn’t Want to Tell You, Normalizing the Conversation About Mental Health project nearly 5 years ago. With a fully crafted concept, Cowtownchad refined his approach, and recently debuted the first part of this series via the coincidentally-titled No Depression roots music magazine. (The magazine title comes from a Carter Family song and references an Uncle Tupelo album.)

Sharing How Mental Health Impacts Our Lives

Musicians discuss how the mental health challenges of those they love, their families of origin, and their own struggles impact their lives. From addiction to depression, eating disorders to anxiety, musicians share their stories, hoping their candor helps others. Normalizing the conversation around mental health allows people to find ways to keep going.

What’s next for I Didn’t Want to Tell You?

The I Didn’t Want to Tell You project continues to grow. With future pieces in the series, a book, and possibly a documentary in the works, Cowtownchad intends to help others by expanding the reach of this concept. Ultimately, the goal is to help people find help and find community.

Some resources available in the US, many geared toward the music community.

Crisis Support

  • Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255 for 24/7 trained volunteers to TALK on the phone
  • 24/7 online CHAT with trained volunteers
  • Crisis Text Line TEXT “Home” to 741741 and a trained volunteer will text with you. The Crisis Text Line offers help for a variety of concerns, including suicide prevention, anxiety, depression, emotional abuse, bullying, self harm, loneliness, and eating disorders

Comprehensive Resources

  • Nuci’s Space, Athens, GA Reducing suicide by removing the barriers to care for musicians in the Athens, GA area. This comprehensive outreach includes health and dental screenings, recovery groups, affordable practice space, gear rental, and a recording studio. Nuci’s Space is the official charity of Country Fried Rock.
  • MusiCares The charitable arm of the Recording Academy Grammy Foundation. Provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.
  • Sweet Relief Musicians Fund Provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
  • Music Health Alliance A Nashville-based musicians assistance organization. Heal the Music by providing access to healthcare through services that PROTECT, DIRECT & CONNECT music professionals with medical and financial solutions.
  • HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) An Austin, TX-based musicians assistance organization. HAAM provides access to affordable healthcare for Austin’s low-income working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.
  • Sims Foundation An Austin, TX-based organization that provides mental health and substance use recovery services for musicians, music industry professionals, and their families to support the well-being of the Austin music community.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of people who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem.
  • Al-Anon A mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking

Steve Poltz

And now for something different!

Well, that could be Country Fried Rock alum, Steve Poltz’s, mantra. Since his double album, Noineen Noiny Noin, that we featured here, Poltz has continued to tour and play across the world, and in the meantime, record a film soundtrack.




Buy Steve Poltz’s music here on or HERE on iTunes.

From the press release:

Acclaimed singer-songwriter pens new songs and instrumentals for the award-winning documentary Running Wild, about wild mustang activist Dayton O. Hyde

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Steve Poltz has found success in a variety of musical pursuits. He fronted the irreverent indie band the Rugburns and co-wrote Jewel’s romantic mega-hit “You Were Meant for Me.” Named the Most Influential Artist of the Decade by the San Diego Music Awards, Poltz has released highly-praised solo albums, done a children’s record, penned jingles and even created a CD filled with 45-second “answering machine” songs; however, he has never scored a movie soundtrack — until now.

Poltz’s latest album is the soundtrack for Suzanne Mitchell’s award-winning documentary, Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde, opening in theaters nationwide and on VOD on October 4, 2013 via Screen Media Films. For this film festival fave, he created a set of evocative instrumentals and rough-hewn odes that reflect the life and work of the film’s subject, wild horse activist and cowboy poet Dayton O. Hyde.

According to Poltz, this was the perfect time for him to do a soundtrack. “I don’t think I would have been able to do this 15 or 20 years ago,” the artist admits. When he was younger, he wasn’t as open to other people’s suggestions as he is now. “My skin has gotten way thicker and now I just try to do the best I can.” One talent from his younger days did prove helpful for this project. As a child, he played classical guitar and this background resurfaced when it came to composing the instrumentals for Running Wild. His agile yet relaxed fingerpicking perfectly fit in with the film’s rustic environment.

While Poltz’s quick-witted songwriting skills are well known, he had faced the test of fitting his music into specific spots on the soundtrack. He found this challenge, however, to be fun and one that he had unknowingly prepared himself for. Besides doing more than 50 mini-tunes for his 1999’s The Answering Machine album, he further honed his ability to quickly craft songs when, a few years ago, he served as bandleader for the Internet series The Hugh Thompson Show, and had to create original music for each program. “I like deadlines and restraints,” Poltz confesses.

This high-tech variety show also marked his first collaboration with Mitchell, who is a long-time fan of the singer-songwriter’s work. Mitchell was already working on the Running Wild project when they did the Thompson show and even then felt that his soulful music would match well with Hyde’s life-story.

It was only last year that Poltz really got involved with the documentary. A trip to meet the 87-year-old Hyde in South Dakota and visit his 12,000-acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary greatly inspired him. “It was important to hang out with him and feel his energy, see the way he was with his horses.” Hyde’s unique life-story is rendered poetically in tracks like “Dirt Cowboy” and “Mustang Call,” while South Dakota’s open sky tranquility comes out in the instrumentals’ laidback vibe and in simple pastoral tunes like “Pray It Never Comes to This.”

After visiting Hyde, Poltz dove into writing Running Wild music when he returned home to San Diego. In the spring, he rendezvoused with Mitchell in Austin to record the soundtrack. “It was one of the funnest times,” Poltz says. “We were just looking at film clips and I would come up with pieces on my guitar and having immediate feedback really helped a lot.” When he was told that “Song For Hawk” was too slow and sad sounding, Poltz took out a bridge and sped up the tempo. Mitchell so loved how the track turned out that she placed it as the film’s end credit song.

Creating music for a soundtrack, Poltz discovered, was a slightly different process from making one of his own albums but one he enjoyed nonetheless. “With this project, I’m serving a different master,” he admits. “The person I wanted to please the most was the director.” Both Poltz and Mitchell stated what a great and easy time they had working together. They enjoyed a level of trust, as Poltz explained, that allowed them to be open with their opinions and not worry about being polite.

Poltz is thrilled with the music he created for Running Wild, a film that he very much admires. Several of the songs have already become part of his famously ever-changing live set, which provides him the chance to talk about the film and Hyde. The hard-working troubadour also has not one but two albums in the pipeline. While in Austin, Poltz went into the studio one new song he was dying to record, and wound up with an 11-song rock ’n’ roll album called, appropriately enough, The Accident. He also has finished a more mellow album, The Claims Adjuster, and is still contemplating putting them out together (as he did in 2008 with the Traveling and Unraveling CDs) or staggering their releases. With Running Wild being unleashed this fall and more albums on the horizon, there will be no slowing down for Steve Poltz.

Country Fried Rock Best of 2012

Click to page 3 to listen to the Best of 2012.

Click the titles to purchase on iTunes.  Click the album covers to purchase on Amazon.

25 The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones – Lincoln Durham

Lincoln Durham started playing violin at age 4 via the Suzuki Method of instruction. By 8, he was hiding on stage facing the wall playing fiddle with the Osceola Opry–a loose association of players who met monthly in an old wooden schoolhouse to cover Hank Williams and Bill Monroe songs for the gathered farmers and country folk. Durham picked up the guitar in his early 20′s, which captivated his interest more than the fiddle ever had. Wandering through a period of singer-songwriter expression, Lincoln still felt pulled by something different in music, but had not been able to define it for himself, let alone have it clearly expressed in music. CONTINUE

24 Michelle Malone: Day 2

This album is currently only available directly from Michelle Malone HERE.
Michelle Malone was part of the Atlanta music scene that evolved from the Indigo Girls’ success, enjoying national attention for the music of Shawn Mullins, Tinsley Ellis, and Drivin N Cryin, with her band at the time, Drag the River. The confluence of blues-tinged Southern music at the time made for an exciting music scene, that was later replaced by the still-dominant hiphop scene. Atlanta is a weird place filled with temporary residents who are not from the area, but it is also a collection of neighborhoods with their own identities and people who are part of the arts culture and give different places their distinct vibes. It is from the latter community that Michelle Malone emerges, not as an ingenue, but as the definition of the Atlanta rock sound–Southern, blues-touched, guitar-driven, but still about the song. CONTINUE

23 Sweat Like the Old Days – Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Holy Ghost Tent Revival took their lowest point in the last five years and used it as a reason to find a new sound and revive their music. It’s not any easier to pigeonhole their work than it was before the departure of their bass player and harmony vocalist, but their music is definitely easier to dance to now than it was before. Despite having almost nothing in common with bluegrass music, they are often lumped in there with old time bands–great for a festival lineup, but inaccurate in categorization. Think of the Avett Brothers with a horn section, and you are much closer to the sound of Holy Ghost Tent Revival. CONTINUE

22 Two Step Silhouette – The Corduroy Road

The Corduroy Road‘s fans sounded alarm bells when the band left their life on the road for a long hiatus, but after nearly an eight-month break, the core of the band emerged with some new players in the lineup, refreshed and ready for the next phase of the band. The Corduroy Road musically balances between Americana and bluegrass in the dance-able area we refer to as “upbeat string band.” Their songs make you move, and you might even miss the weight of some of their lyrics, such as a hunter stumbling upon a meth lab in the woods where the meth-farmer and sheriff are in cahoots. Southern Gothic lyrics to outsiders, perhaps, but just another day in the country to some of us enmeshed in baffling small-town alliances. CONTINUE

21 Death of a Decade – Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka records flow thematically, bound together by a premise or idea, but not so tightly as to be concept albums. Initially, the themes were obvious, like Buckle in the Bible Belt, moving towards historical, as evidenced in the album artwork for Novel Songs of the Nouveau South, but for their recent record, Death of a Decade, the idea that emerged from which these songs began surprised me: Michael Jackson’s death. As Brett Anderson explains, every decade their seems to be some iconic political or entertainment figure who passes away, somehow creating endpoints for their times by their death. Jackson was a controversial figure in life, but even his greatest detractors accede that he was one of the greatest entertainers of our era. With Michael Jackson’s passing, it was the death of a decade. CONTINUE

20 Come Home to Me – The Famous

The Famous bring together a punk influence with traditional country, yielding music that seems to emerge only from California. I always imagine skateboarders who listen to country, not for the irony, but for the cool-factor. In the case of The Famous, though, their music is as much a product of the craft brewing scene as anything else. From brew pubs to brew fests–even a song in homage to their favorite beer–The Famous have found a well-heeled, selective audience for their music in the greater San Francisco Bay region. CONTINUE

19 Waiting All Night – Derek Hoke

Derek Hoke left rock and roll in the dust years ago, finding a new sound, which he dubbed “Quietbilly,” a gentle, sweet rockabilly, now twinged with some Southern blues. His previous album, Goodbye Rock and Roll, clearly cemented Hoke’s distinguishable sound, but his recent release, Waiting All Night, explores a wider variety of rhythm, while still being a Derek Hoke record. Producer and childhood friend, Dexter Green (of Sea Lab Sound), partnered with Hoke on the project, taking their time to call upon friends to play on songs between their own touring schedules. The list of guests reads like a Who’s Who of East Nashville and legendary sidemen, and reflects on Derek’s ability to make his peers feel at ease. CONTINUE

18 Bird In The Tangle – Brett Detar

When Brett Detar ended his band, The Juliana Theory, he was not sure he would ever play music again. Seeking a change, he became the customer service department and chief stain remover for his wife’s vintage clothing shop. Detar fully escaped music, trying to evade his self-doubt about his ability to write songs or be an artist at all. During these years, every scrap of paper of a lyric or theme crammed into a box, waiting for Detar to make them into music. CONTINUE

17 Slowburner – The District Attorneys

The District Attorneys live across north Georgia, ranging from Atlanta to Athens, managing to bridge the musical divide of these very different cities–one that is much wider than the lanes of I-85.  With two homemade EP’s (which you can download for free from the band) and their first full-length record on This Is American Music, The District Attorneys have already refined their sound, bringing bare bones indie-pop together with twangy Georgia roots, as if they are the new representatives of Southern jangle pop.  Slowburner solidly places this band in with the list of best debut albums in roots music this year.  (So, I am biased. I love this record.) CONTINUE

16 Gloryland – Kevin Gordon

Kevin Gordon’s album, Gloryland, explores the blues side of roots music, with lyrics that would make the Drive-By Truckers jealous.  Gordon grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, and although he has been away for decades, the reality of life there and the people he knew bring grit to rural life without glorification.  Glorylandis not about redemption or salvation, and definitely not about glossing over the seamy and sadistic side of life in the deep South. CONTINUE


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#1227 Steve Poltz

Steve Poltz’s bio says, “Steve Poltz is not normal.” I cannot judge that from one conversation, but I can say that you might know a few of his songs, and be shocked by some of his other work. No matter which incarnation of his music you like, Read More