Restless Heart brings three decades of songs to Park City
April 18, 2014
For the past 30 years, country group Restless Heart has entertained music fans around the world.
Known for its hits "(Back to the) Heartbreak Kid," "Til I Loved You," "This Rock Won’t Roll," "I’ll Still Be Loving You," "Wheels" and "Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)," Restless Heart was one of the first country bands that blended pop and rock sensibilities into its sound in the 1980s.
The band lead guitarist Greg Jennings, vocalist/guitarist Larry Stewart, bassist Paul Gregg, keyboardist Dave Innis and drummer John Dittrich — will give Park City a sample of that when it plays the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, April 24, and Friday, April 25.
Jennings said he feels blessed to be able to play music with the band for the past three decades.
"It’s great to still have a gig after 30 years," Jennings said during a telephone call to The Park Record. "It’s amazing."
Longevity in country music is a lot different than it is in the pop-music world, he said.
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"I’ve always known that I was in it for the long run," Jennings said. "That’s what’s great about country music. It’s not like pop artists who are here and gone. Country artists kind of live forever."
The guitarist remembered how the Nashville scene was different back in the 1984 when Restless Heart started making noise.
"That was the era of the new traditionalist country artists such as Randy Travis and Ricky Skaggs," he said. "We were sort of the new kids that combined a lot of different influences that included the Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, which was not the norm of that time.
"So it was kind of a fight to get on country radio," Jennings said. "But we persevered and it’s what it is now. Everyone embraces all those differences these days."
Playing shows around the world and performing for the U.S. military are some of the highlights of Jennings’ career.
Furthermore, throughout its run, Restless Heart has charted more than 25 singles, with six consecutive No. 1 country hits. Four of the band’s albums have become certified gold albums, meaning they have sold more than 500,000 copies, and it has been given the Academy of Country Music’s Top Vocal Group award.
"It’s also been wonderful being able to appear on all the award shows and being able to hang out with different artists who we have been fans of," he said. "Those all have been humbling experiences."
These days when the band embarks on a tour, it takes its set list seriously.
"We have a big pot to choose from and we select ones that we know fans want to hear and throw in a few things for us to make it fresh," Jennings said.
One of those songs fans want is "I’ll Still Be Loving You."
"When we first heard it, it was very different demo," Jennings explained. "It was ethereal piece that used fretless bass and synthesizers."
The band was concerned about the lyrics as well, but after it was released, "I’ll Still Be Loving You" turned out to be the wedding song of 1987.
"It’s become one of those songs that people who come up to us after a show tell us how much it’s meant to them," Jennings said.
While helping fans fall in love is a great accomplishment for Restless Heart, the band is also involved in charity work, notably with the Nashville Rescue Mission, which helps the city’s homeless.
"Dave and his wife are involved with the mission and go down and volunteer and through his connections, the mission decided to do a benefit with a symphony on year and they needed someone to host the first show," Jennings said. "Dave spearheaded that, and from that point, we got started with Music with a Mission concert and hosted the past three years. We hope to host it again this year."
Jennings said it’s important for people who are in the spotlight to work with charities.
"We’ve been blessed and have had great success and fortunate and when you have blessings like that, you have to give back," he said.
In addition to working with the Mission and various cancer charities, Restless Heart is looking towards the future.
"We hopefully will continue to make music," he said. "We did a Christmas album last year and are working on a new project this year."
Jennings is also interested to see what the band can do internally.
"We’ve all been in the business for quite some time and would like to translate that experience into some sort of recorded music also," he said.
Restless Heart will perform at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., on Thursday, April 24, and Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $39 to $70 and are available by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.