Steve Poltz struck gold about a decade ago, when he penned "You Were Meant for Me" with fellow San Diego folkie Jewel. But don't pigeonhole him as one of those sensitive, acoustic-guitar-strumming singer-songwriter types. Poltz once fronted a folk-punk band called the Rugburns, and his own solo material strikes a pleasing balance of introverted and extroverted musings. The recently released Traveling offers smartly executed folk rock that sounds like Wilco produced by George Martin. The jaunty "I Believe" is pure pop, while "Rains" and "Haters' Union" employ a bunch of sonic textures — without sounding as if a trunk of studio tricks was randomly dumped into the mix. Live, Poltz mixes earnest covers (Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" is a fave) with original tunes — like the one about getting a handjob on a school bus.
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