Probably the best exponent of the crossover country/adult contemporary (A/C)/AOR market are Restless Heart, a band that spawned many imitators out of Nashville, all trying to cash in on this market.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Restless Heart
ALBUM: Big Iron Horses
SERIAL: 07863 66049-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Dave Innis – keyboards, vocals * Greg Jennings – guitars * Paul Gregg – bass, vocals * John Dittrich – drums, percussion, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Mending Fences * 02 We Got The Love * 03 As Far As I Can Tell * 04 When She Cries * 05 Meet Me On The Other Side * 06 Tell Me What You Dream * 07 Blame It On Love * 08 Born In A High Wind * 09 Just In Time * 10 Big Iron Horses
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Probably the best exponent of the crossover country/adult contemporary (A/C)/AOR market are Restless Heart, a band that spawned many imitators out of Nashville, all trying to cash in on this market. PplSure, the likes of singing goddesses Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Amy Grant have chipped away at the pop market with a certain level of success, but a decade before, Restless Heart were doing it before anyone knew that it was happening.
Formed in the mid 80’s, the quintet of Innis, Jennings, Gregg, Dittrich and vocalist/guitarist Larry Stewart, put out a string of excellent country infused albums, with a hint of commercial flavour and melodic sensibility. In the tightly contested charts of A/C radio programming, Restless Heart excelled, with its 1986 single ‘I’ll Still Be Loving You’ moving from a #1 country hit to become a #3 A/C hit and reaching #33 on the pop charts.
1987’s ‘Why Does It Have To Be (Wrong or Right)’ got to #11 on the A/C charts, while ‘New York Hold Her Tight’ was another chart success. Their brand of harmony rich country rock, melded traditional country references along with watertight vocals a la the Eagles, Nelson and CSNY.
Restless Heart were already several albums into their career when 1992’s ‘Big Iron Horses was released. Singer Larry Stewart had departed in 1990 for a solo career, so the band were down to four. This is probably their most commercial offering, with the Nashville scene now becoming one big melting pot for country, CCM and secular music styles.
The 1992 top-10 country smash ‘When She Cries’ was a huge hit for the band, and made it to #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart. The follow-up ‘Tell Me What You Dream’ did better and went all the way to #1 in the A/C field. Other highlights include the tender ‘As Far As I Can Tell’, the upbeat and friendly feel of ‘Mending Fences’.
They strike out in a melodic direction with ‘Meet Me On The Other Side’, not to dissimilar to Bruce Hornby and the Range. ‘Just In Time’ is a nice melodic workout, sort of like Nelson meeting the Henry Paul Band at the Interstate Junction between Georgia and Alabama!
The band released ‘Matters Of The Heart’ two years later, but were effectively reduced to a trio, with Innis having moved on. The creative juices and drive to continue waned, and the band jacked it in during 1996.
However, since then, they have joined the reunion circuit, with all the original members getting involved again. However, this is not a permanent thing, and I’m sure we’ll see the occasional Greatest Hits with Bonus tracks in years to come. However, ‘Big Iron Horses’ is a nice way to spend 38 minutes of your hard working week!