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30-plus years in, Restless Heart is happy with finding its own path
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Restless Heart's Greg Jennings has sympathy for fellow country singers breaking the Nashville mold.

After all, his pop-influenced group did the same when it formed in 1984.

"I know the struggle," Jennings said. "People are questioning their authenticity. I see what they're going through. But just play, just play and sing — that speaks for itself."

That helped keep Restless Heart together for its initial 10-year storming of the charts. The band released four gold records and six No. 1 hits in its heyday, making it one of Nashville’s hottest acts in the 1980s. After splitting in 1994, the band reunited briefly in 1998, then for good in 2002.

Now, the band will return to Amarillo for a 10 p.m. Friday show at Hoots Pub, 2424 Hobbs Road. Cover is $25 in advance and $30 day of show. Lubbock's Randall King will open.

When Restless Heart formed, Jennings said, it drew on a broader range of sounds than traditional country acts.

"We tried to combine a lot of different influences, not in a formulaic way but because that's what we listened to and assimilated," said Jennings, the band's guitarist. "We liked traditional country, but we also liked The Eagles; Crosby, Stills & Nash; James Taylor — all these country-influenced acts and those harmony vocals."

Harmony turned out to be the key for Restless Heart, but "it was a happy accident," Jennings said. "Everybody has their range, and when we sang together, there was a chemistry and we fit together without even thinking about it."

That led to the runaway success of such singles as "That Rock Won't Roll," "I'll Still Be Loving You," "The Bluest Eyes in Texas," "A Tender Lie," "Wheels" and "Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)," which fans can count on hearing at the band's show.

"They're good songs that I enjoy playing," Jennings said. "(And) to see people that those songs have meant something to them, and they're singing along and their kids are singing along because they were played when they were growing up — it's pretty rewarding." 

Also rewarding? Playing with long-time friends.

"We get along better now than we ever have," Jennings said. "All the rough edges have been smoothed out. Everybody knows how to get along with everybody else.

"We enjoy playing and love the fact that we still can do it."