Steve Poltz’s work is familiar to anyone who ever sang along to Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me,” a song the San Diego-based artist co-wrote … you know, the one about not putting wet towels on the floor. Since then, the prolific Poltz has written and recorded jingles, mini-songs, children’s music, and a handful of solo albums.
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For his first foray into film scoring, Poltz came up with the soundtrack to Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde, an award-winning documentary on the cowboy poet and wild horse lover Hyde.
Listen to two songs from the soundtrack, “Song For Hawk” and “Pray It Never Comes To This,” below.
“‘Song For Hawk’ came about as a result of my first trip out to Hot Springs, South Dakota,” Poltz tells American Songwriter. “I was inspired from meeting Dayton O. Hyde and standing under such an immense sky as wild horses thundered by. I sat down in my kitchen when I got home and wrote it and recorded a demo and sent it to the director Suzanne Mitchell. She thought it was too slow and mournful, so I went back to the drawing board and sped it up and took out the sad bridge and assassinated a few minor chords and basically made it a bit more hopeful. This time she bit like a spotted black bass and I reeled in the song and headed out to Austin to give it a better college education. I added some violin and drums and bass and next thing you know we had the end credit song.”
“I Pray It Never Comes To This” basically wrote itself, says Poltz. “I wrote it one morning when I was I Melbourne, Australia and I was still in bed,” he says. “I had ‘borrowed’ a four-string tenor guitar from my dear friend Gregory Page. He won it in a poker game and wasn’t using it at the time. This is why you should never lend me things. I still have the guitar and I have the aforementioned song.
“I was playing about with a tuning that Joel Plaskett uses on the tenor — CGCG. You basically can’t hit a bad note and you instantly start writing songs. I went to make a cup of tea and the tenor was already playing the song like something out of a Stephen King novel. The guitar hopped in my lap and my fingers fell into place and voila! I love it when that happens.”