Restless Heart

Ok, most of you know I have wanted to work in the music business for a long time. Well, these are the guys that have given me the chance to do what I love. I have worked almost 10 gigs with them from Texas to New Mexico to Nashville and back. They have been great to me. So I am asking you. Yes YOU, the LOW readers, to spend 10 bucks or so and download some tracks for yourself and hear how great they are.

Larry Stewart
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Plays: Lead Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
Birthday: March 2nd
Musical Influences: His father

Though Larry Stewart was exposed to music early on, it was sports that initially captured his attention. After receiving a baseball scholarship to Nashville’s Belmont College, Larry, whose father had passed away from a heart condition, found music as a way to close the gap he was feeling without his dad.

“In some ways, I moved to Nashville to live out my father’s dream,” admits Larry Stewart of what was to become his musical destiny. “When I got here, there were all kinds of people who valued musical talent–and I found myself slowly fitting into the music business.”

“The way I act is very normal. I just do what I do and let it go at that,” explains the soft-spoken vocalist. “It comes from growing up in a small town where the people respected each other and looked after each other. The values I learned there pretty much shape the way I look at the world around me.

“I had a pretty basic childhood. My parents loved me and I was around music from the first day I remember. My dad was a great singer and as I got older, I played piano for him, but I also played a lot of sports. They gave me support with whatever I did. They taught me lessons and gave me the tools to seek my dreams.”

“Being in Restless Heart showed me how powerful music can be,” Stewart says, defining his motivations. “I always knew how much it moved me–and there I saw it did the same thing to other people. To me, you need to sing songs for more than yourself. Making records is a privilege. I think you need to find songs that might give people a little insight into their own lives. Or give them words they may not have to tell the people they care for how they’re feeling.

“Let’s face it, he adds, with a laugh, “most guys aren’t real comfortable talking about their emotions in everyday conversation. I know I’m not!”

And so, Larry Stewart makes records. Over the years, many of the songs he’s sung have become standards. But for someone with a rich musical background, it makes sense. “My dad was one of the best singers I’ve ever heard, because he had this smooth, very warm baritone and sounded like Bing Crosby. But when he sang, it was like he was talking to you–it was conversational.

“He was friendly with Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires and the Imperials. All those old classic gospel groups: the Statesmen, the Prophets, the Blackwoods–I was around all of them growing up. I remember going to singings, that’s what we called them, with the Happy Goodman Family.”

By the time he moved to Nashville, Stewart’s rich musical foundation was firmly in place. When he decided to make the transition from sports to music he, like so many hopefuls, had his share of menial Music Row jobs. He was a stock clerk at the Country Music Hall of Fame, mowed grass at performing rights administrators BMI and ran tape copies at MCA Music. It was while working at MCA that longtime family friend Jerry Crutchfield coaxed Stewart into singing a few demos for his brother Jan.

The word quickly spread about the young man with a voice that mixed strength and intimacy with a honest raggedness that made him real. Suddenly, Stewart was an in-demand demo singer–and it wasn’t long until destiny came knocking in the form of Tim DuBois, who was putting together a band called Restless Heart. It was a group marked as much by the quality of the songs they sang as their lush vocal harmonies.

“Two people searching for the American dream/Doing the best we can do/There ain’t much glamour, glitter and gold/It’s an uphill battle if the truth be told/This is a real life love/It ain’t perfect, but it’s close enough,” he sings on “Real Life Love,” of his album Heart Like A Hurricane. In that moment, it’s crystal clear why millions of people have clamored to hear him sing love songs over the years.

Though he believes that his strong suit is as a vocalist, Stewart is also an accomplished writer. In addition to penning “Long Lost Friend” for Restless Heart, he’s also contributed “But I Will” to Faith Hill’s debut, “Fool To Fall” as a single for Pearl River and “This Road” to Mike Reid’s critically acclaimed Twilight Town.

Though he’s reluctant to call himself a romantic (”I’m not sure it’s what you do, but more how you feel–and my family knows how I feel about them”), he does admit that every song he sings is something that speaks to people with his intense passion for music and emotion.

“To me, commitment is everything. Life isn’t easy; love isn’t easy,” he begins outlining his motivations. “But, if you’re committed and you stick with it, then it will work out. “I made a commitment to my family, my friends, country music and, especially, myself. Without that, there’s nothing–and it takes commitment to tough it out through the hard times. But you gotta.

“If you make a commitment, you have to carry it through. Maybe that’s where integrity comes in. At least, that’s what I hope for and work towards. And at the end of the day, you know you gave it your all, whatever it is. If that’s the case, then you have to feel good, because you’ve done what you believe in. That, to me, is what it’s all about.”

Dave Innis

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Plays: Keyboards, Vocals
Birthday: April 9th
Musical Influences: All groups whose name end with the letter “S”

Dave Innis was attending Belmont University as a music business student where he met Larry Stewart. Dave, who was friends with fledgling songwriter/producer Tim DuBois, invited Larry to audition to sing for a new band Tim was forming.

Dave took a break from the band after the Big Iron Horses album, but is back making music and touring with the guys.

Paul Gregg

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Plays: Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
Birthday: December 3rd
Musical Influences: Nat King Cole, Crosby- Stills & Nash, Grand Funk Railroad, Jimi Hendrix, Stepenwolf, Simon & Garfunkel, Mahalia Jackson, Santana, Bing Crosby, The Beatles and The Eagles to name a few

Paul is a “Road” scholar. We mean he actually honed his skills “On the Road” and in the trenches. He relies solely on what he hears and feels in his heart for his contribution to the music of Restless Heart.

Born in Altus, Oklahoma, Paul is the son of a cotton and wheat farmer. Hard work, hometown values, and a tenacious desire to follow his heart are what drive him. That and a bus driver with plenty of sleep.

Paul left Altus early on to chase his dream. He and his brother got their first taste of the road performing at ski resorts throughout New Mexico and Colorado in the summer of 1976. Still not sure if music would be a career that would sustain him, he attended a Tech School in Okmulgee, Oklahoma for two years where he studied fuel injection. In may of 1978, under the encouragement of his brother, he moved to Nashville, where he worked for two years as a fuel injection specialist on Main Street to make ends meet. When an opportunity finally came to do a couple of road shows for Opryland, he took it.

Over the course of the next four years he continued to play and travel, meeting and making new friends with ties to the music industry. One of those people was Greg Jennings, the bands lead guitarist. Greg, after sitting around a table at Paul and his brother’s house listening to them sing and play, insisted that they meet a friend of his named Tim Dubois, a song writer in Nashville. Tim, along with his partner Scott Hendricks, would end up being the bands first producers and would later become heads of major record labels in Nashville. Paul and Greg teamed up with Tim on different projects to try and get record deals as outlets for some of the songs that Tim was writing. Paul had also been working in a rock band with a drummer named John Dittrich for about a year when, once again, Tim came to him with the idea of putting together a band and doing some music that was off the beaten path for country music at that time. Paul called John and together with Greg and two other singer musicians, Dave Innis and Larry Stewart, the band Restless Heart was formed. It was 1984 and after a showcase where the band performed for just about every record label in town, Joe Galante, the head of RCA Records, decided to sign the band. The rest is history.

Greg Jennings

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Plays: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Birthday: October 2nd
Musical Influences: Chet Atkins, Jimi Hendrix, Todd Rundgren and James Taylor

While at Oklahoma State, Greg played in a band with producer Scott Hendricks and Tim DuBois who managed the band and later became head of Arista Nashville. The trio later moved to Nashville, and formed Restless Heart. After the group disbanded, Greg played guitar in buddy Vince Gill’s band.

It’s a well known Restless Heart fan fact that Greg’s favorite song is Somewhere Over The Rainbow from the Wizard of Oz.

John Dittrich

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Plays: Drums & Percussion, Lead Vocals
Birthday: April 7th
Musical Influences: Drummers like Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, etc. Jazz, Big Band, Fusion and Rock

Apart from being a monster on the drums, John has sung lead on many RH songs over the years, but moved more into that role on the Big Iron Horses and Matters Of The Heart albums. His most recognizable contribution came when he took lead on the 1992 cross-over smash “When She Cries.” After the band quit touring in 1995, John joined up with the band The Buffalo Club which produced a hit album and singles.