Every so often, our Santa Barbara stages are blessed with that perfect opening act/headliner combination. On these nights, fans score two killer sets that not only sound good but also flow seamlessly from one to the next. I’m predicting S.B.’s next will be Thursday, February 10, when SOhO hosts Steve Poltz and Santa Barbara’s own Meghan Lehman & The Ragged Company. For the unacquainted, Poltz is something of a hero in the California singer/songwriter scene. (He also helped pen Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me,” back in the day.) Mixing a loveable speak-sing with an affinity for keeping things lively, Poltz brings to mind a funnier, more experimental Brendan Benson. He’s also a longtime friend and mentor to one-fourth of his Thursday-night opening act. In advance of her first onstage turn with The Ragged Company, frontlady Lehman dishes on a few reasons to attend below. For tickets and show info, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
1. Reunited and It Feels So Good: As the story goes, Poltz and Lehman go way back, and watching them share a stage will certainly carry a magic all its own. “I met Steve a couple years ago on a camping trip/songwriting workshop that he and Tim Bluhm [of The Mother Hips] do every year,” explained Lehman. “He sat down on a log and started singing “Music Box,” and I just started crying, it was such a beautiful and sad song. Logically, I tried to get him to be my boyfriend because I figured if dating him could make Jewel and Anya Marina famous, it would work for me, too. That didn’t really work out, so now we just send each other weird text messages.”
2. Hear It First: While Lehman’s played her fair share of shows, Thursday will be her first with newly formed band The Ragged Company. Andrew Schoneberger mans the drum kit, former oso bassist Andrew Fedders holds down the low end, and pianist Chris Coventry plays keys. “I will always love the whole singer/songwriter solo-chick thing,” she says. “But I think this will just be a lot more fun for everyone.”
3. Poltz’s Antics: “I heard that last time he played at SOhO, he danced on the bar and bought everyone shots,” recalled Lehman. “He might make you cry … He might make you get up on stage and tell everyone how you lost your virginity. He’ll probably take off most of his clothes. I can’t tell you what to expect from the show, but I swear that you will leave SOhO a new fan.”