Interview: Why Restless Road are turning full circle

Restless Road touring in January
Restless Road will be in the UK in January.
Photo Credit: Matthew Berinato

Restless Road have been on a long road to get here.

Back in 2013, they auditioned for The X Factor USA as solo artists, ultimately finishing fourth as a newly-formed group. Flash-forward almost a decade and they have a debut self-titled EP to their name and a hit single in ‘Growing Old With You’. 2023 looks even brighter for the trio and sees them crossing the pond in January to support Kane Brown.

Zach Beeken, Colton Pack and Garrett Nichols managed to find time in their busy schedule to chat to us.

Restless Road have had quite an eventful road to say the least! You started off as solo artists on The X Factor, where you were ultimately put together. Did you have any reservations back then? You started off as individuals, you didn’t exactly plan to leave as part of a band…

Zach: Back then, at that moment, there were no reservations. We had seen the success of other bands that had been on the show, like One Direction and Fifth Harmony, so we were just excited that we could be a part of something similar.

As the years go on, you get more experienced and go through more trials and tribulations. Being in a group is hard. [When] we said yes to being in a band, we didn’t know anything about being in a band – we said yes blindly. When we said yes to working with Kane, it meant a lot more because we’d been through so much already that, when we made that commitment, it was a lot different to when we’d started.

Someone who could’ve been a member back then was, of course, Kane Brown. Obviously he didn’t, but now, some 10 years later, here you are touring, recording and working with him. That must feel very full circle.

Colton: That was our motto when we restarted this thing. Everything really did feel full circle. We met Kane in 2013, he was supposed to be a member of the band but did the solo thing and blew up. Then we were able to get to work with him. Getting to work with somebody so closely who is at his level is awesome, but getting to do it with somebody who is already a friend just makes it that much better.

Colton you had a period away from the band, leaving for a few years before returning. What did you do in that time? Did you need that time away?

Colton: I went back and started construction, got married and had kids. Music has always been a dream of mine but getting married and being a father has always equally been up there.  Once I had kids, I didn’t think it would be possible. Then Kane reached out and we were able to get the band back together.

To say it’s difficult would be an understatement but we make it work and it’s been unbelievable. I’m so blessed to get to do what I do every day, it feels great.

Being 18-year-old me after The X Factor and leaving the band…that was probably the toughest decision I ever had to make. This, getting back with the band, was the easiest. It was something that I wished I had given more time when I was 18 but, you know, I always say everything happens for a reason. I think we had to go through everything as individuals and as a band to get to where we are today. I wouldn’t change anything, I’d go back and do it the exact same way because, ultimately, it led us to where we are today.

And ‘today’ is working with Kane, as you signed to his record label. What is it like working with him?

Garrett: Through the years we’ve worked with a lot of different people. Some experiences have been better than others but, finally, we’re with Kane and his team. We feel very, very blessed to work with everyone that we work with. It’s been so great to work, not only with Kane, but our management; our manager, Joey; our booking agent…everybody involved. It feels like family. One of the biggest battles is finding somebody that believes in you and will stick their neck out for you every step of the way and everyone we have now have been nothing but good to us and pointed us in the right direction. We couldn’t be happier.

Your debut EP, Restless Road, was released in 2020, obviously quite a few years after your stint on The X Factor. What was the writing and recording process like as you were putting that together? How did it feel to finally get it out into the world?

Zach: A lot of those songs were songs that we’d written in the years prior, just living in Nashville and working with our favourite writers and producers. They were songs that we had and just hadn’t had the opportunity to record and put out. When we started working with Kane, we picked out a few that we really believed in. We all still had side jobs at the time, working in bars and restaurants. We’d go into the studio and record with Kane and our producer Dan Huff…then we’d go back to work at the bar and come back the next day.

We worked out four different songs. One of those songs was called ‘Take Me Home’ which was a song that Kane had sent to us, saying that he’d had this song for a long time and he’d been waiting for the right person to put it out with. We loved it so we recorded it and he was a part of it with us. That song came to life and was a really special song for us. 2020 came around and we got to put it out and it was a huge weight off of our shoulders to be able to put out music – it had been such a long time.

Then there is your song ‘Growing Old With You’ that really took off, and has become a special song for so many – there’s even been proposals mid-song that have become viral online. How does it feel to know and to see your music having that sort of impact with so many?

Colton: When we’d initially heard that song, we connected to it and we were hoping that would be the case for fans. It’s been really cool for us to watch that actually happen in front of our eyes – people at shows getting engaged and we [even] flew to the Bahamas to surprise someone for a proposal. [They] loved that song and we’re going to get to be a part of the wedding day. It’s been really cool to watch it all play out. As an artist, you hope you can either write a Christmas song that becomes a classic or you write a song that becomes a wedding classic. We hope that happens with ‘Growing Old With You’.

It’s been unbelievable to watch. What you see on the outside are the videos that we’ve highlighted. It’s unreal, still to this day, how many people we get coming up to us like ‘that was our first dance song’ or ‘we walked down the aisle to that song’. It’s thousands and thousands of people. I don’t think any of us had an idea of what the song would do, or how big of an impact it would have. It changed our lives.

You guys are great songwriters in your own right but that song wasn’t written by yourselves, it was written by Charles Kelley, Jordan Reynolds and Jordan Minton. What was it about that song, when you heard it, that made you – as you said – ‘connect’ with it?

Zach: The lyrics are just so powerful, they say everything you would want to feel about that person you do grow old with. It’s about your soulmate, and everybody wants that one person, whether you’ve found them yet or not. When we heard it, the harmony potential [also] really attracted us to the song. It felt so wholesome and warm and powerful.

Restless Road latest single
Sundown Somewhere, written by Cole Swindell, Ben Hayslip, Jacob Rice and Cole Taylor, was released by the trio in October

From proposals to festivals to a lot of shows…2022 has been a busy and incredible year for you guys. But…if you could pick just one highlight, one moment, of this year…what would it be?

Garrett: Just one moment…there have been so many, and there’s many cool things that happened at the end of ‘21 that I can’t remember if it was ‘21 or ‘22! *laughs*

Colton: I think ‘Growing Old With You’ was a really good moment. We premiered it on The Bachelor. That was early 2022 and that was cool because we’ve always been big Bachelor fans. We had a big watching party, and it was surreal as we hadn’t really seen ourselves on TV before.

Zach: We got to play the Grand Ole Opry many times this year, and we got to be a Grand Ole Opry’s NextStage [artist].

Colton: That was massive.

Garrett: That was a huge thing.

Zach: We [also] got to play the Houston Rodeo this year, there was a lot of stuff. One cool thing that we [also] did was that we played a private show at my family’s lakehouse. My great grandma was there, my family was there and that was special for me. That was one of my favuorite moments of the year. My great grandma had never seen us play before.

Colton: She danced her heart out the entire night! *laughs* Going to Australia for the first time, that was incredible.

Garrett: Morgan Wallen told Colton he had a great mullet.

Colton: Morgan Wallen told me that my mullet was better than his. That was a big moment. 

2023 is right around the corner – it’s literally next month! You’re, of course, coming over here to the UK with Kane in January which is a great way to kick things off. What else does the year have in store for Restless Road? A full length release maybe?

Garrett: We have no idea what the structure will be but we have tons and tons of music already recorded, we’re writing constantly. 2023 will be a big year for us. We have so much stuff coming out. We’ve been teasing some of the tracks and we have so much more on the way. We’re excited to get this new stuff out and keep giving our fans more fuel for the fire.

Colton: The fans, especially fans over in the UK, will have ‘On My Way’ to look forward to. I don’t think we’ve necessarily announced the exact date of when it comes out but it should be out while we’re in the UK…I’ll say that. *laughs* That’ll be our next release, we’ve teased it and it seems to be doing well with fans.

RESTLESS ROAD’S UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR DATES:
Tue., 17 Jan, 2023 – Glasgow, UK*
Thu., 19 Jan, 2023 – Manchester, UK*
Fri., 20 Jan, 2023 – Birmingham, UK*
Sat., 21 Jan, 2023 – London, UK*
Wed., 25 Jan, 2023 – Amsterdam, Netherlands*
Fri., 27 Jan, 2023 – Cologne, Germany*
Sat., 28 Jan, 2023 – Munich, Germany*
Sun., 29 Jan, 2023 – Berlin, Germany*
Tue., 31 Jan, 2023 – Stockholm, Sweden*
(* w/ Kane Brown)

Visit www.restlessroad.com for full details

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