Running Wild by Steve Poltz

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The move, Running Wild: The Life Of Dayton O. Hyde has disappeared but the music by Steve Poltz remains.

Poltz has had a somewhat eclectic career to say the least. He fronted the indie band the Rugburns, as a composer he co-wrote Jewel’s hit “You Were Meant For Me,” released a children’s album, created a CD filled with 45-second answering machine songs, and has released a number of excellent and well-received solo albums. Now he is exploring new territory as he has written the music for a film.

The subject of the film, Dayton O. Hyde, is a wild horse activist, naturalist, and cowboy poet. Now 87, his efforts at preserving wild horses and their habitats have been a lifelong pursuit.

As with most soundtrack albums, that are issued apart from movies most people have not seen, there is a disconnect between the songs. The music, which makes sense in the film now has to stand on its own and some of the tracks, especially the short connecters, are out of their elements.

There are 25 tracks by Poltz and 17 are instrumentals. While most are shorter atmospheric  pieces, two longer, fully developed songs stand out. “Happy Hour” is a nice little rocker and “El Centro” at just under five minutes is a classy up-tempo country tune.

It is the eight lyrical tracks that shine the brightest and they find Poltz on familiar ground. “Song For Hawk,” “Dirt Cowboy,” and “Mustang call” are all excellent performances in their own right and rank among the best of his career.

The final song on the album, and the only non-Poltz original, is “Phantom Love” by the band She Rose. It is a haunting ballad and fits in with the rest of the music.

It’s nice to see an artist take a chance every so often. Poltz has produced a solid album of music with a number of real high points. It deserves some attention with and without the accompanying film.

 

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