BY LESLEY HASTINGS
It’s been a long time coming for their ever-growing fanbase, with line-up changes and of course a global pandemic among other issues to navigate since the band’s formation 10 years ago, but the long awaited debut album from Nashville based Restless Road was finally released on 20th October via Sony Music.
I must admit to not being in the least bit familiar with the band or their music until this album dropped, but their impressive harmonies instantly won me over and the more I immersed myself in their sound the more I found to enjoy. The title track/album opener, appropriately all about the resilience and tenacity the band have both needed and demonstrated was the song that immediately made me sit up, pay attention and want to listen to more of the album. And while it’s very different to my usual preference for female Americana or trad Country (I’m sure I’m not their target demographic in any way!) it’s an album I’m really liking.
Named as one of Spotify’s “Hot Country Artists To Watch for 2023“ as well as an Opry Next Stage Artist, the trio (Colton Pack, Garrett Nichols and Zach Beekin) have a wealth of life (and love!) experiences between them to draw upon for inspiration and that’s something that comes across throughout many of the album’s 18 tracks, 12 of which they have writing credits on. It’s definitely one of the lengthier debuts but showcases their versatility both as writers and vocalists (as well as those slick harmonies I love their ability to share lead vocals) from stunning ballads such as the clever breakup song “10 Things” to the insanely catchy and fun “Head Over Heels”. As well as brand new songs it includes previously released tracks with which their existing fanbase will be familiar, such as their Sirius XM The Highway #1 hit “Growing Old With You” (an outside cut whose writers include Lady A’s Charles Kelley) and “Bar Friends“ which I must admit to finding rather generic (every band/artist seems to need a fun drinking song these days! ) but I can see why it’s apparently become a fan favourite and I’m sure it goes down a storm live.
There’s a fair bit of over-production for my liking on some of the tracks but in general I love the arrangements and am a big fan of Texan native Erin Kinsey’s beautiful vocals which feature on “Most Nights” and sent me down a rabbit hole exploring her own music ……. I see she is joining the band Stateside on their recently announced headline tour in early 2024.
My favourites on the album tend to be (no surprise!) the heartbreakers ….. the uptempo (unusual for a song of regret) “Leave Them Boots On” is one of the best as far as I’m concerned, such a clever concept and lyrically the references to cowboys throughout are fantastic …. lines such as “she was a heartbreak mustang, kind that you can’t tame” … and just listen to that fiddle that cuts through like a knife. Slowing things down, “Go Get Her“ is really beautiful on every level …. an outside cut that is just perfect for the trio.
For the romantics out there, as well as the already-mentioned “Grow Old With You” give “You Don’t Have To Love Me“ a listen ….. I think this has all the makings of a modern day classic.
In general, the variety throughout the tracks on this album really showcases the massive potential of Restless Road, it’s a fantastic introduction to the band if (like me) they are new to you and for existing fans I’m sure the release has been well worth the wait.
Having supported Kane Brown on his UK dates earlier this year I’m wondering whether we may see the guys returning next year for some festival dates or even their own tour ….. time will tell.
Keep up to date with all their news at https://www.restlessroad.com/
Stream/ Download “ Last Rodeo” here https://rr.lnk.to/LastRodeo
Last Rodeo Album Track List
1. Last Rodeo
(Trannie Anderson/Lindsay Rimes/Garrett Nichols/Zach Beeken/Colton Pack)
2. Head Over Heels
(Zach Beeken/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack/Jacob Rice/Kyle Sturrock)
3. Growing Old With You
(Charles Kelley/Jordan Minton/Jordan Reynolds)
4. Could’ve Been a Love Song
(Zach Crowell/Ben Hayslip/Hunter Phelps)
5. Roll Tide Roll
(Zach Beeken/Garrett Nichols/Kyle Sturrock)
6. Bar Friends
(Geoff Warburton/Jordan Schmidt/Kyle Clark/Tyler Filmore)
7. Tell Me Not To
(Zach Beeken/Emma-Lee/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack)
8. Go Get Her
(Josh Jenkins/Brice Long/Mark Nesler)
9. I Don’t Wanna Be That Guy
(Colton Pack/Garrett Nichols/Zach Beeken/Jared Keim/Travis Wood)
10. 10 Things
(Zach Beeken/Devin Dawson/Jared Keim/Garrett Nichols)
11. Leave Them Boots On
(Zach Beeken/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack/Jonathan Smith)
12. Easy for You to Say
(Zach Beeken/Josh Kear/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack/Lindsay Rimes)
13. You Don’t Have to Love Me
(Austin Shawn/Zach Beeken/Nate Kenyon/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack)
14. No Can Do
(Jessi Alexander/Zach Beeken/Matt Jenkins/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack/Jacob Rice)
15. That Town and You
(Ben Burgess/Devin Dawson/Joshua Kerr/Jordan Reynolds)
16. Most Nights (feat. Erin Kinsey)
(Zach Beeken/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack/John Pierce/Lindsay Rimes)
17. Sundown Somewhere
(Ben Hayslip/Jacob Rice/Cole Swindell/Cole Taylor)
18. On My Way
(Zach Beeken/Kyle Clark/Garrett Nichols/Colton Pack/Lindsay Rimes)