With such songs as "Let the Heartache Ride," "The Bluest Eyes in Texas" and "Big Dreams in a Small Town," Restless Heart has won the love of Utah.
The band has played all over the state, sometimes stopping by for a show as many as four times a year.
"We love coming to Utah," said singer Larry Stewart, calling from Nashville, Tenn. "It is our favorite state in America. Really, it is. We have a great following. In the '80s it was truly our best market, and it is still very good. We don't quite know why, but we love that. It is a long-standing relationship."
Restless Heart is coming up on its 30th anniversary next year. Stewart has sung lead since soon after the band started, before they'd yet cut their first record. The other members, who have been with the group from the start, are John Dittrich, Paul Gregg, Dave Innis and Greg Jennings.
Between gigs, the band is working on recording some Christmas music, as well as what Stewart called "an encores project."
"This is where we are recording standards, the kind people might see as kind of untouchable -- songs like 'Please Come to Boston' and "Wichita Lineman,' and putting those old Restless Heart harmonies to them. The Christmas album, we'd love to get out this year, or at least a six-pack of songs. We are hoping to get it done, but we'll have to see what kind of time we have. We are playing a lot right now -- which is wonderful, of course."
Restless Heart has a sound that manages to cross borders between country, pop and adult contemporary music. Their harmony vocals made them appealing.
The band was brought together by producer/songwriter Tim DuBois, who wanted a harmony vocal band that would get play on country radio. Instead of a vocal group that would use studio musicians for support, he put together a real band, of musicians who actually played their own instruments as well as singing good harmony. While not all of the members have classic lead singer vocal abilities, the group's voices blend well in five-part harmony.
"It's kind of effortless for us now," he said. "Everyone has his own timbre and part, and when you put it all together, it makes a really, really good bowl of stew."
"I have the best gig in the band because I get to stand in the center of them and listen to harmonies all around me. I used to do that with my dad, but I never would have dreamed that I would get to play with four other guys who bring that harmony to the table."
Stewart plays rhythm guitar, with Dittrich on drums, Gregg on bass, Innis on keyboards and guitar, and Jennings on lead guitar.
"It is fun to be a band," Stewart said. "Frankly, we had no idea what we were doing in the beginning, but something we did know is that when we wanted to play live, we wanted to sound like we did on the record. We wanted to do that with just five of us. I'm proud of that. It's been a neat adventure."