Now based in Nashville, singer-songwriter and comic troubadour Steve Poltz returns to his beloved longtime home of San Diego on Nov. 2 for a tuneful, story-filled concert recounting songs and stories from his life and career. (photo by Laura Partain)

Songs and stories come to Poway

By Ken David

Steve Poltz will debut ‘A Brief History of My Life’ at the Center for the Performing Arts

The Poway Center for the Performing Arts October and November shows will be highlighted by a Nov. 2 performance by longtime San Diego favorite singer-songwriter Steve Poltz. 

Poltz has been playing guitar since age six. He was told he couldn’t do it for a living, even though it seems like he always wanted to. He started his first band, the acoustic duo The Rugburns, while still attending the University of San Diego. He remembers the group’s dubious first gig at O’Hungry’s in Old Town San Diego, where very large beers called “yards” were featured. 

Steve Poltz will reflect on his experiences as he debuts “A Brief History of My Life” at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 2. (photo by Laura Partain)


Oct. 2-30 – Art exhibit: “A Different Perspective”
Three local artists – Cottone, Taylor and Bindford – share their interpretations of life in Southern California and beyond.

Oct. 12 – Back to the Garden in “Monterey ’67 Revisited”
Through “Monterey ’67 Revisited,” the band Back to the Garden pays homage to the 
 “Summer of Love” and the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Oct. 24-26 – Poway High School Titan Theatre Presents “Leading Ladies”
Set in the 1950s, “Leading Ladies” focuses on two English Shakespearean actors who find their careers in a rut as they perform “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania.

Oct. 29 – Poway High School Choir Concert
The Poway High School and Twin Peaks Middle School choirs present their annual fall concert. For tickets contact Maria Nunez, (858) 776-4840 or email Jessica Schemmel at jschemmel@powayusd.com.

Nov. 2-Dec. 1 – Art exhibit: “Straight Tank Swallow”
Artist Weston Riffle displays two decades of triumphs and yields in the desert, a retrospective of paintings of people who work to live in California.

Nov. 2 – Steve Poltz with guest Jack Tempchin
Poltz will showcase his storytelling talents and songs from throughout his career including his latest release “Shine On.”

(858) 748-0505
15498 Espola Road

“At the very beginning of the gig, we knocked over a yard glass or two,” Poltz recalled. “So, rather than making the $50 we were supposed to be paid, we ended up owing five or 10 bucks.” 

He tried working outside of music, but he always felt the pull to write and perform. 

“I always played and then I got a job when I got out of college, but my heart was always in music,” he said. “I had a job and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. So, I followed my heart and I haven’t had a ‘real’ job since 1992.”

Along the way, Poltz has put out a number of albums of original music – a sound he describes as Americana folk storyteller – mostly on his own label, while building a reputation as a talented musician and songwriter who sprinkles shows with entertaining stories from his life.

With singer-songwriter Jewel, he co-wrote the hit song “You Were Meant for Me,” which reached number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list in 1997, and he wrote the soundtrack for the documentary “Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O’Hyde.”

An unforeseen challenge sprang up when he suffered a stroke on stage in 2014. Halfway through a show, Poltz said he couldn’t see, so he ended the show early. He stayed to autograph items after the show, even though he couldn’t see what he was signing, and then went to a hospital. It turns out the lasting impact of the stroke was limited.

“It affected my vision, so I took some time off,” Poltz said. “When my vision came back, I wasn’t able to read, but it all came back to me fast. For a few months I felt like I got bashed in the head by a two-by-four, but now everything is good as far as I know.” 

While he has done a few collaborations, Poltz focuses mostly on his own music, much of which he will recap at the Poway Center for Performing Arts. 

“The show is called ‘A Brief History of My Life.’ It’s something that I want to start doing, so this will be the first place I do it,” he said. “I really like the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. It’s such a beautiful venue so I thought it was a cool place to (debut the show).” 

After living in San Diego for many years, Poltz is now based in Nashville, Tennessee. While he loves San Diego and returns often to visit his father and a sister still in the area, he said Nashville offers a special draw for a musician.

“It was really neat to branch out and move to a town that is so involved in music and so steeped in the tradition of music,” he said. “Everybody (in Nashville) is doing music for a living in some form, whether it’s as a songwriter or a touring musician or a video maker or an attorney or publisher. Everything happens there so it’s kind of neat to live in such a music town versus San Diego.”

Opening the show for Poltz is his longtime friend, Jack Tempchin, a recently inducted member of the Songwriter Hall of Fame who authored the Eagle’s hits “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone.” 

More information is available at powaycenter.com or by calling (858) 748-0505. The Poway Center for the Performing Arts is at 15498 Espola Road.