STEVE POLTZ plays C’est What August 23. See listing. Rating: NNNN
The title of Nova Scotia/southern California singer/songwriter (and former Jewel collaborator) Steve Poltz's 13th album may look a bit ridiculous, but it's a nod to the year he first played Australia, appropriate given that the album was recorded in Perth.
It's a generous package - 12 songs plus a folkier bonus disc - and a fun, fully produced ride complete with big drums, organ, slide guitar, tenor guitar and a touch of strings and horns. In his typical fashion, Poltz shocks a bit while he entertains, conjuring up story songs about travel and transvestites. (Trash is a fictional tale told from the perspective of a cross-dresser killed by Johnny Cash.)
But Poltz's lyrics centre on his emotional life - crying and not crying, the borderline between sanity and insanity - and he doesn't lose his audience along the way. An impressive feat.
Top track: Salt Suit