By Sheila Phibbs
The Haldimand Press
KOHLER—A “unique sound of foot stompin’ rootsy blues” describes the new album One Day Older None The Wiser by Jay Pollmann released on March 26, 2021. The music and lyrics reflect a Canadian road trip and what he refers to as a rural/urban divide. The former he experienced with his wife and three young children, while the latter is a perspective gained firsthand in the fields and backroads of Haldimand County.
Growing up in Kohler, Pollmann found musical inspiration right at home. His dad played in a band and Pollmann says, “I would pick up instruments down in the basement.” His interest in music and performing deepened at Cayuga Secondary School (CSS) where ‘garage bands’ were commonplace. He, his brother, and a friend started their own band – Gruve – and were known for their dirt rock sound.
After 10 years of performing with that trio, Pollmann became primarily a solo artist, releasing his first solo EP, Head In The Clouds, in 2017. He was employed at CGC, but the job wasn’t working for his family. One day his wife suggested, “You could quit and we could sell everything and hit the road.”
That unexpected idea led to a family adventure; in May of 2019 they purchased a pick-up truck and travel trailer and toured Eastern Canada. Pollmann was able to put on some shows and perform at house and kitchen parties. The trip provided great memories for the family, including his three children aged six, three, and one at the time. It was also a source of inspiration for the songwriter.
Reflecting on the road trip, Pollmann says, “I was searching for answers to determine if it was ever worth the effort to create a full album again. Upon arriving back in Ontario and full of inspiration from the travels, my musical fire was re-lit. I wrote and reworked 10 songs, took them into the studio and recorded One Day Older None The Wiser.”
The album genre is Americana, rootsy blues, and folk, but Pollmann is open to all styles of music. He finds inspiration from other musicians, saying, “There’s a sense of watching your heroes writing songs and wondering how they do that. That was my drive; that feeling when you create something and have people react to it.” He adds that, as an artist, “You’re forever chasing that good song.”
That chase occurs in an industry that can be unpredictable in a time when streaming is how most fans access music. Pollmann acknowledges, “Buying music from the store is a lost art.” He believes that purchasing an album was part of “the whole experience of bonding with the artist. It was a whole different way of connecting with the music fans.”
That connection is critical to building a fan base and social media is an important tool in achieving that, especially now that live performances are severely limited. Prior to the pandemic, Pollmann performed in a variety of settings from small, bar-type venues like Concession Road Brewery in Jarvis, to larger festival stages. He has enjoyed doing ‘house concerts’ as well, which help an artist develop as a storyteller.
Pollmann had been planning an album release show last May at a location near Port Dover, where he and his family currently live, but those plans were cancelled due to COVID. In its place was the recent online release and he is working on music videos and streaming events. He is writing new material and he says, “I have to try to keep the momentum going from this.”
He adds, “I’m trying to incorporate the people supporting me; I want to keep in touch with them through music.”
Though he doesn’t reside in Haldimand at this time, the county remains an influence. Pollmann recognizes the divide between rural and urban living and its impact on his business.
There are fewer opportunities for bigger performances in this area, but he appreciates the environment and landscape of Haldimand. The geography of his home and eastern Canada are both reflected in his music.
With that genuine approach, Pollmann strives to create music that is real and authentic and it’s what he appreciates in other musicians. He says, “That’s what I can get behind. It’s got to be real and fun for me to get into it. Keeping it real and authentic is my motto.”
“It’s a strange thing to have people buy your music.” Pollmann says of promoting his new album. “The album speaks for itself. I hope people can connect with the songs and come out to a performance when we can do that again.”
Until that time comes, music fans can find the album at jaypollmann.com and look forward to what comes next as he continues to chase that good song.