Cult hero Steve Poltz is known for his unhinged live performances, incredible way with a comedic lyric and ability to spin a ripping tale. But Poltz outdoes himself with “Quarantine Blues,” a sprawling, many-versed litany of pretty much every single Covid experience you’ve gone through plus the sort of experiences you’d have to enter Poltz’s alternative world to even think of. Poltz has shared an animated lyric video for the song along with an interview with his [former] hometown paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Quarantine Blues” will be available starting this Friday, October 2, as a digital single through all digital service providers.
After riding out the tornado that impacted his East Nashville neighborhood, he and his wife decided to drive cross country at the height of the lockdown to spend the summer in San Diego near his 90-year-old widowed dad, Joe. Nagged by his landlord to “write a quarantine song,” Poltz holed up in Jason Mraz’s home studio (Mraz plays organ on the track) with local music scene mainstay Jeff Berkley and came up with the stream of-conscious hilarity that is “Quarantine Blues.” Some may say the dude overshares, but it’s a refreshing look at what happens when you take a musician who’s spent decades on the road and ground him for a few months. Steve talks to George Varga at his hometown paper, UT San Diego, and talks family, Covid, and more.
“I don’t mean to sound like I’m not taking coronavirus seriously, but — in times like these — I think people need some irreverence,” says Poltz.
The track came out after 57 takes. “Jason [Mraz] heard us recording. He liked the song and offered to play on it,” Poltz says in the interview. “I told him I thought organ would work well, because ‘Quarantine Blues’ is like (Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ — it doesn’t have a chorus, just verses. I realize, now, that I channeled Jerry Reed a little when I sang the ‘Yeahs,’ because I was playing (Reed’s 1970 song) ‘Amos Moses’ on my guitar a little earlier that week.”
This is the first new release from Poltz since his Red House Records debut, SHINE ON. A fixture on the tour and festival circuit, Poltz will be returning to his home in Nashville in time for his first live show since the pandemic hit, followed by select dates (see below).
UPCOMING LIVE DATES:
THU, NOV 19 Nashville, TN — City Winery (early and late shows)
MAY 27, 2021 – MAY 31, 2021 Grass Valley, CA — Strawberry Music Festival w/ Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Steep Canyon Rangers, Samantha Fish, Rainbow Girls & more!
JUN 18, 2021 – JUN 20, 2021 San Luis Obispo, CA — Live Oak Music Festival w/Rising Appalachia, The Mother Hips & more!
JUN 20, 2021 Novato, CA — KC Turner Presents at HopMonk Tavern Novato w/ Travis Linville