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Interview: Restless Road discuss Take Me Home, their EP and working with Kane Brown

The breakout trio chat about their music and their journey so far.

Restless Road
Credit: Sony Music

Restless Road rose to fame on The X Factor US in 2013 where they placed fourth and reached the semi-final under the guidance of mentor Simon Cowell.

At the time the trio consisted of Zach Beeken, Colton Pack and Andrew Scholz, and during their time on the show they met Kane Brown who was auditioning as a solo artist but decided to leave the competition. Following the show Andrew departed the band and Garrett Nichols joined the line-up.

The trio was signed by Kane to his label and in February they released their debut self-titled EP, which features the track Take Me Home.

I caught up with the guys recently to talk about their journey so far, discuss Take Me Home and find out what advice Kane has shared with them…

How did Restless Road originate?

Zach: About seven years ago Colton and I auditioned for the TV show X Factor and we formed this band on the show. Simon Cowell was our mentor. On the show we had actually met Kane Brown, he was on the show as a contestant as well. He decided to leave the show do his own thing and we went on as band and got fourth place. A few years later after the show ended we were out there trying to do our thing and make our career happen, and we had Garrett joined the band. We’d seen videos online of him singing and we thought he’d be a perfect addition to the group. Two years after the show, Garrett joined the band and we spent a few more years trying to write music, record music, get on tours and things weren’t working out the best. One day Colton put out a cover on his Instagram and Kane saw it, and he remembered Colton from X Factor and it led to some some conversations that led to the band getting back together. We all sat down with Kane last year and played some music and reconnected. He said, ‘hey, I’d love to work with y’all and bring y’all on the road’. From that point forward it’s been a whirlwind. We’ve been in the studio and we just recorded our first debut EP that we put out a couple months ago. We’ve started the Worldwide Beautiful tour with Kane and we’ve been opening up for him. It’s just been a dream come true, honestly, ever since we started working with Kane.

That’s fate isn’t it that you crossed paths with Kane all those years ago and now he’s signed you to his label? Is it crazy to think this is where you are now?

Colton: When we originally met Kane, like Zach said we were all just competing on the show, and then to watch him blow up and become successful over the past like five years, it was absolutely amazing. For him to think about us and remember us when he wanted to start his own label that really meant a lot.

Kane features on your current track Take Me Home, which samples John Denver. This is the first time that John’s family have agreed to the song being sampled. How did Kane end up on the track and how did it feel to get John’s family’s backing?

Garrett: After we had worked with Kane for a few months, we knew we were gonna go out on the road with him and we needed to get some songs together for our EP. We actually wrote the other three songs on it, but we were looking for that fourth thing to put on there and Kane came to us and was like, ‘hey, I got this song called Take me Home pitched to me a few years ago, I think it’d be really cool. Y’all should check it out’. We heard it, and obviously it was an interpolation of the John Denver song, but we instantly fell in love with it. It was just such a cool fresh take on it and we really enjoyed it. Over a few weeks we lived with it and decided we wanted to do it. Out of the spirit of working with Kane Brown, we just went went up to him and we said, ‘hey, man, I know you were asked to do this song a few years ago and I think this would be a cool thing that both of us could do together’ and he was all about it. He said yes and then a couple weeks later we went in the studio and the rest is history.

Zach: It feels really amazing having John Denver’s family approve it because growing up my mother was obsessed with John Denver. I remember being about eight years old and we would go on road trips through Yellowstone National Park and she had John Denver’s Greatest Hits as the soundtrack for that vacation. That was really the first vacation I can remember being on and the first time I remember listening to Country music. Colton is from West Virginia so Take Me Home (Country Roads) is the anthem. It’s in his DNA. When we heard it and we felt how familiar tt was, it was a no brainer for us because of the harmonies and it was a very nostalgic feeling to be able to get to do it. We’re really honored that John Denver’s family allowed us to do that.

Having someone like Kane, who has had so much success over the past few years, must be pretty amazing for you. How has he been as a mentor to you?

Colton: When we first got together with Kane, we had a million questions for him about how he’s been so successful in such a short amount of time but honestly I think it all comes down to his fans. The person that you see and the person that people read about and and watch perform, that is him through and through. He’s just one of the most authentic people that you’ll ever meet. He truly believes that his fans are the number one thing and they are his family basically. He leaves like his music in their hands. When he goes to pick songs, he lets fans be the ones to choose like when he posts those Instagram videos of him playing new songs for people and sees which songs fans would like the most. It’s little things like that, that we picked up on about how important social media is and how important it is to get fans engaged early. It’s been awesome. The the reaction we’ve gotten from Kane fans and just from people around the world. We have just been blown away. I remember the very first night on the Worldwide Beautiful tour, we went out and played in Atlantic City. Garrett opened up the song Take Me Home and when we did, people were singing the song so loud that me and Zach were just sitting there in awe listening to them sing along. We had literally released our EP the day before that so to hear people jump on this song so fast, there was nothing like it.

For the EP you worked with Dan Huff as the producer. What was it like working with those guys?

Zach: Dan was was incredible. He’s a really master musician but he’s really great at communicating and he’s really great at explaining where he thinks the song needs to go and what needs to change or what we need to bring more out of a song. He has so much experience and he has so many smash records that knows what works and why. He has a really great way of explaining that and finding ways to incorporate those things in the music that we’ve written. It was just really cool getting to hear our song go from where we got it to, to where Dan could take it to next. Dan is a super special guy and he’s a huge part of why we love the way that music came out. He’s just really, really talented.

It must be frustrating having put the EP out and just started on the Worldwide Beautiful tour, to have to top everything due to the pandemic. What’s that been like?

Colton: It was a big shock. We had just gotten this big opportunity to go out on the road and we had played a couple shows with Kane and got a taste for what it could be like. At first it was a little frustrating but I think you’ve got to find the silver lining in it. I think now more than ever, we’ve had to be forced to be more creative and really test yourself on your songwriting and making content and figuring out how to engage with your fans still. We’ve been trying to find new ways to connect and we opened up a band phone number to text our fans daily. We’ve been trying to get ourselves into Tik Tok to try to make some funny videos or something. It’s fuelled our hunger to get back out there and really just try to make the best of this time and make the most of it. A lot of times you don’t have much time to stay off the road and get creative and be at home with your pals making music. We’ve really tried to just stick together and make good stuff while we can.

Zach: We’re obviously keeping our eyes on everything that’s going on but all the tour dates that we are a part of with Kane, they have been rescheduled so far. The new rescheduled dates are on our website and Kane’s.

When we do come out the other end have you guys got any plans to come over here to the UK?

All: Absolutely!

Zach: We’re small town country dudes so we haven’t really been that far from home. It would be really fun to get to be able to. I think it’d be all our first time.

Garrett: I’ve never been out of the US! (laughs)

Zach: That’d be incredible to see the history and everything. That would be awesome.

As Kane can tell you, the audiences can get pretty wild in the UK. He blew the roof off his first UK show earlier this year…

Zach: Yeah, he told us how cool the experience was and he said it was it was amazing, and everything went better than expected with the fans over there. AHe’s definitely trying to get back over there as soon as he can.

Looking to the future, what’s your vision for your music after this EP?

Colton: We’re definitely working towards a full length album. The timetable is really to be determined on how all this stuff goes but that’s something that we’ve been working on. We’ve been writing tons and tons of songs throughout this quarantine, and I think we’ve got some really amazing stuff and we’re super excited to share it with our fans. Working towards a full length album and trying to get back out on the road as soon as possible, those are our immediate goals.

Can your fans see you doing any live streams over the coming weeks?

Zach: Oh, yeah! We’ve been doing weekly live streams on our Facebook and Instagram. We just did one the other night here at home. It was a blast. We played all the songs off the EP and had a fun night so if anyone wants to be able to follow along and watch, just follow Restless Road on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – we’ve been doing tons of live streams and Tik Tok dances for all those folks who are into that stuff (laughs).

Restless Road’s self-titled EP and single Take Me Home are out now. Watch the video for Take Me Home below:

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