The boys are back!! Larry Stewart, John Dittrich, Greg Jennings, Paul Gregg and Dave Innis, the complete original band collectively known as Restless Heart, say it all in the title of their soon to be released album Ö Still Restless.
One of the very few musical groups to chart again and again for a ten-year period, they re-enter the musical arena after a ten year hiatus.
During their hey-day, they scored three gold-selling albums that produced seven number one singles in a row; they received a dozen Grammy, CMA and ACM nominations and were named ACMís Vocal Group of the year in 1990. Larry Stewart, lead singer, left the group in 1990 to be a solo act. He released three solo albums and had a Top 5 country song with "Alright Already."
The four remaining original members continued as Restless Heart. Later just three had a crossover hit with "When She Cries," with John Dittrich singing lead. "When She Cries" was named BMI song of the Year for 1993 and it was followed by "Tell me What," another top ten crossover single.
Many of the vocal bands that have started in recent years say they owe much to Restless Heart. Still, no one has matched their wonderfully melded harmonies, their instrumental musicianship, and their ability to choose songs that audiences can bond with emotionally.
Two of the band members, Paul Gregg and Dave Innis, sat down with CSO to share the hows and the whys of the original groupís return to the road and to the studio.
Dave Innis relates, "We had a 10 year run as Restless Heart, had a lot of hits Ė traveled the world together, really grew up together. " But, he continued, it was like a marriage of 5 guys. They saw more of each other than they saw of their families. And things left un-said and not worked out festered.
Then came the volatile breakup. After not speaking for years, Gregg called Innis and said, "Letís bury the hatchet." Innis flew to Nashville where Gregg was waiting in the airport, but didnít recognize his old band mate and friend. Both laughed when they talked about the moment of non-recognition and how different they looked from the earlier days, especially the hair.
When asked if Alabamaís retirement had any influence on their reunion, the reply was "Not really... it sure would have been fun to have been on their final tour. That didnít happen. But, those guys helped us a lot. We toured with them for 2 or 3 years."
"Then why the return now. Is there a timing factor?" Innis responded, "I think breaking up the way we did leaves you hungry Hereís the deal, Paul and I were such good friends and when we had a bitter falling out, which I canít remember really any details of it. When he called me, it was such a wonderful feeling to reunite. ĎCause Paul is like a blood relative to me. To prove it Ė I live in Colorado Ė and every single time I fly into Nashville, he picks me up at the airport - I stay at his house. We have keys to each otherís houses."
"When we started to play together as a band again, we all realized pretty quickly that we were family, that we grew up together. And were happy and relaxed about being together again and making music.
Asked if their theme song for the reunion could be "Together Again" or "On the Road Again, the quick-witted Gregg responded, "No, it was more like ĎHoney, Iím Home.í" Innis continued, "Making this record was so easy Ö I donít guess weíve ever done a record thatís come together so quickly and so comfortably. Maybe some of itís because weíre a little more seasoned now, a little older a little wiser. Weíre a little less apt to try to overwork things.
"As far as the chemistry we have vocally. I mean, Iíve sung, after I left Restless Heart, with some great singers. And it was always work to get it to tune up and get the phrasing right. But man, with Restless Heart we sang together so much and so long that itís effortless; itís almost like we canít sing out of tune. (Gregg interjects laughingly, "Now Dave I wouldnít go that far). OK, I exaggerate, but from the first rehearsal you could tell that it was just supposed to be that way. "
After doing some shows together, they decided they wanted to do a completely new album. There had been album releases of the "greatest hits" package variety, but nothing new. They were looking for "new music and new vibes."
What did you bring to this album thatís unique? "I think the fact that weíve always played on our own record and sing and nobody else is doing that Ö itís part of what makes you who you are. It gives it a personality and some character."
When asked did you write for the album? "Not all of them Ė we just wanted to get some great songs. I think the album is very diverse Ė in its style and its content."
"The lyrics on this record have some meaning. And Iím proud of that Ė whether they were autobiographical by band members, or songs that we found that expressed something we wanted to say because of where we are in our lives at this point. We put together some songs that take you on a journey, I donít think weíve done that before Ė had a record hang together where you really have to listen to the whole thing. It takes you from the beginning to where we are now.
"We hope people see the honesty of the music and that thereís something there for them. The pressure is off and we can loosen up and be who we are. "
And who they are is a tremendously talented group with an established track record, together again making great music!
The target radio date for the single, "Feel my Way to You" is July 14th.You can get a "sneak listen" at this site. http://www.feelingrestless.com
the username: koch
the new album, Still Restless, Gregg says, "Iím nervously
anxious to see what Ďs going to happen next. " Innis says,
"Iím amazingly relaxed about it Ė this whole thing is a gift to
Feature article by Helen Neal