In celebration of 30 years, country music hitmakers RESTLESS HEARTare returning home to their first label to release music, old and new, in commemoration of the three decades. On May 21,2013, RCA / Legacy will unveil the latest addition to its artist compilations with the release of Playlist: The Very Best of Restless Heart. The 14-track album includes 12 of the group's biggest hits, and two new songs, previously unreleased.
Boasting a cargo of four gold-certified albums, six No. 1 hits and nine Top 10s released within a 7-year period (with a career total of 27 charting country singles), Restless Heart was for a time the “fast movin’ train” described in the band’s 1989 Top 5 single of that same name. Formed in 1983 in Nashville, Restless Heart soon gained a head of steam, delivering half a dozen consecutive country chart-toppers between 1986 and 1988. With that string of successes, the band briefly derailed superstar group Alabama, then enjoying an unprecedented run of No. 1 hits that continued uninterrupted from 1980 through 1987. Restless Heart was the first country band to successfully challenge Alabama’s revolutionary 1980s reign, and 1987 saw the release of three No. 1 RH singles compared to only one from Alabama, whose seven-year No. 1 streak was broken that year.
But Restless Heart was no copycat band. The group’s sound was refreshingly different, drawing as much from pop and rock as from the country well. “That Rock Won’t Roll” and “Wheels” showcased clean, supple lead guitar from Greg Jennings, while Dave Innis brought a contemporary flair with tastefully employed electronic keyboards, also adding expressive, country-styled piano to key tracks like “Big Dreams In A Small Town” and “Say What’s In Your Heart.”
Whether upbeat or bittersweet—the group did both equally well—Restless Heart’s true fingerprint was in its rich, soaring harmony vocals. All five members contributed to the shimmering choruses heard on Restless Heart classics like “Fast Movin’ Train” and “A Tender Lie.” Even after the departure of lead vocalist Larry Stewart after 1990’s Fast Movin’ Trainalbum—a loss that would cripple a lesser band—Restless Heart’s combined vocal prowess kept the band going strong, with lead vocals traded by Innis, bassist Paul Gregg and drummer John Dittrich. Dittrich’s lightly-sanded, Don Henley- like vocals highlighted the band’s Eagles influence after Restless Heart proceeded as a four-piece unit. He sang lead on the pop/country crossover smash “When She Cries” (featuring memorable, tear-streaked fretwork from guitarist Jennings) as well as the affecting “Big Iron Horses.” Ironically, the band’s musical identity had solidified and its material was perhaps its strongest ever just as changing trends and fortunes led to Restless Heart’s waning performance on the country charts. The group disbanded in 1994 (notably, the year that several Restless Heart-inspired bands invaded the country scene).
Restless Heart reformed in 2002 and is, as of this release, together in its original line-up. The band has been busy preparing new material, as evidenced by the two previously unreleased cuts included here. “Memphis Rain,” a driving, mid-tempo lover’s lament in classic Restless Heart style, is easily worthy of its opening slot on this greatest-hits-plus collection, while “Home” is a delicate and touching tribute to the determination of America’s military men and women. Recently road-tested on stages across the U.S., both songs have already proven to be crowd- pleasers. Now, as the five original members celebrate their 30th anniversary, it’s an encouragement to new and old fans alike to see this band still restless—and still singing with plenty of heart.
Also in support of their three decades, Restless Heart has hit the road for their "30 Years & Still Restless" tour, bringing their signature harmonies and hits to more than 100 cities by the year's end. For the full tour schedule, visit www.restlessheartband.com.
(Note: press release includes album liner notes by Steve Morley)
Playlist: The Very Best of Restless Heart Track Listing:
1. Memphis Rain (NEW SONG)
2. Fast Movin' Train
3. A Tender Lie
4. When She Cries
5. Home (NEW SONG)
6. Big Dreams In A Small Town
7. The Bluest Eyes In Texas
8. Big Iron Horses
9. Why Does It Have To Be (Wrong Or Right)
10. I'll Still Be Loving You
11. That Rock Won't Roll
13. Say What's In Your Heart
14. Long Lost Friend