If you are a first-time reader of this blog, then skip to the second paragraph. If not, please let me explain and apologize (There should be a single word for that, maybe like “splainogize.”) about why all I seem to do these days is (1) go to Grimey’s in-stores, (2) write about Steve Poltz, and (3) wait so long to write about things. Well, I’m slow, and this East Nashville happening was just way too cool to not be forever memorialized.
What all started out as a Poltz appearance to promote his great new Shine On record sure turned out to be way much more. And although Steve didn’t call me up on stage to hug me and thank me, there’s no harm in me thinking that my Facebook thread with he and Mike Grimes may have got this whole shebang going in the first place.
It was an otherwise normal 6pm on a Wednesday night before it went “balling.” Things started fairly calm with Steve joined on stage by Nashville treasure, and Shine On’s producer, Will Kimbrough, who accompanied Steve by layering in lush tones on electric guitar. As one would expect at a simple event such as this, we were ready to hear songs from the new LP. Poltzie started with two Shine On cuts, “Over the Top for You” and “Pharmacist,” which of course led to his diatribe about the latter song’s inspiration who works at East Nashville’s “Kidnap” Kroger and not “Murder” Kroger.
But things soon went zanily off course. While lamenting on the evening’s free beer (“Why did I quit drinking?”), Steve spotted some young ones sitting down front eating ice cream cones. His simple remark to them that “ice cream is better than beer” quickly took on a life of its own. Steve then proceeded to go wild with his pedal board into a rip-roaring techno-inspired improvised song with lyrics created on the spot. It was hilariously electrifying.
For the next number, “Ballin’ on a Wednesday,” Steve brought up Anthony da Costa, the song’s co-author to join in on harmony vocals. Steve then turned his banter into a da Costa tribute taking the spotlight off himself which would continue into the next song.
His next victim was Molly Tuttle who he invited up to sing “Million Miles,” an old unfinished Poltz-Jewel song that he and Molly tidied up for her latest LP. We again got the story I told you about before, and after her mellifluous performance, humble Steve was now encouraging everyone to go buy her record instead of his.
Then pure pandemonium broke loose for the final number leading up to store co-proprietor Doyle Davis’ closing remark of “Welcome to The Last Waltz.” Closing the set with a Netflix-inspired cover of Dylan’s “Forever Young,” Poltz proceeded to call to the stage every musician he saw in the audience, and he didn’t miss any.
First came both of The Mastersons and Grant Lee Phillips after which Steve recalled both Molly and Anthony. Then, like a pro quarterback, Steve arranged the play so that Will would take the first guitar solo, then pass his guitar to Anthony for the next, and then to Chris Masterson for the closer.
Well, this zaniness worked, and with folks trading off on vocals, including Grant Lee’s spot-on requested Neil Diamond impersonation, it became one of those “Only-In-Nashville Moments.” No one was allowed to escape, and during the song Poltz even summoned locals Amelia White and Amy Speace to participate in the joyous frolic.
Man! I’m exhausted just recalling what all went down in what Poltz would perhaps justifiably call “The Greatest In-Store Ever.” All I can say in closing is that Nashville is certainly a better place with Steve Poltz in town. Now, if we can just clean up those Krogers!
- Over the Top for You
- Ice Cream is Better Than Beer (improvisation)
- Ballin’ on a Wednesday (with Anthony da Costa)
- Million Miles (Molly Tuttle lead vocal)
- Forever Young (with all)
Steve Poltz – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar and Harmonica
Will Kimbrough – Electric Guitar and Backing Vocals
with special guest vocalists:
Anthony da Costa
Grant Lee Phillips