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Just Along for the Ride 

Steve Poltz will always be on tour

Singer-songwriter Steve Poltz’s flight from Denver to Los Angeles was cancelled. He then rented a car to drive the distance with his partner on tour, singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips. I caught them on the phone just as they were re-writing “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” for their Mother’s Day gig in L.A.

I can hear Phillips crooning the tunes of their Mother’s Day set in the background as I ask what the duo has in store for us here in Oregon.

“We are probably going to be singing about wizards, sisters, and Dalmatians,” says Poltz with an audible smile.

Poltz, who is known for his on-stage improvisation and satirical lyrics, often comes up with his material on the spot, and though Phillips’ most recent album is a serious reflection on his family heritage, they both collaborate on the seemingly random material featured on this tour.

“It has been fun touring with Grant-Lee,” says Poltz. “It is neat because we keep coming up with ideas for songs.”

When he isn’t touring with someone, Poltz is takes to the road alone.

“I like being on the road,” he says. “I must have Gypsy blood in me. I’ve never really toured because of an album. I like to tour, to tour. The album is a side thing. I’m going to die on the road. I will always be on tour; it is a good life. Willie Nelson is still doing it at 80. If he is doing it; I can still do it.”

Though Poltz enjoys playing all over the world, including his native country of Canada and 14 trips to Australia, he says he still keeps a special place in his heart for Oregon.

“It will be a fun show,” he says. “I have a lot of friends there, and there are a lot of music lovers up there. People in Oregon are nice, except for the mean ones.” He posits, “Are there mean people in Oregon?”

I assure him that there are no mean people in Oregon, some of us just have bad days from time to time, and then I am about to ask about a possible new album, when Poltz says, “Whoa, look at that! A semi-trailer is turned on its side. Get a picture! That is why we have been going so slow.”

This is the stuff that new material is made of, I think. But to answer my question…

Following his 2014 release The Accident, Poltz is currently working on an unnamed new CD, though he admits it may be the last of a dying breed.

“I will release one or two more new CDs, and then I think the CD will be history. Then I’ll release a few digital tracks at a time,” he says.

Steve Poltz with Grant-Lee Phillips
7 pm, Saturday, May 16
The Belfry, 302 E. Main St., Sisters

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