They topped the pile when Rushonrock revealed its Best Country Albums of 2023 list and Restless Road returned to the UK this month determined to deliver on the potential of red hot debut Last Rodeo. Simon Rushworth caught up with the trio at London’s Lafayette following their festival-stealing stint at Country 2 Country.

When we first sat down with Restless Road at Sony Nashville HQ last November, Zach Beeken, Colton Pack and Garrett Nichols took some convincing that their band — and their brand — was increasingly big news back in the UK.

Given that they’d only toured these shores once before, in support of one-time reality TV buddy and now label boss Kane Brown, the sense of disbelief was understandable. 

And yet the release of debut album Last Rodeo and an unstoppable buzz Stateside meant that the clamour for Restless Road across the Pond had become ever louder.

If Zach, Colton and Garrett didn’t quite believe it back then, they were left in no doubt that British fans really do want to see and hear more of their radio-friendly fare following a breakout weekend at Country 2 Country and a first headline show in London.

“It’s been amazing,” admitted the band, holed up in their dressing room just hours before appearing at the dreamy Lafayette, just a short stroll from King’s Cross station. “Country 2 Country was incredible and to sell out a gig in London is just beyond words.

“We’re so grateful to our UK fans. We’ll be back.”

That promise was reiterated midway through a 20-song set that reinforced Last Rodeo’s rich diversity and widespread appeal. 

An album a decade in the making comfortably translates to the live arena and a trio schooled in the rigours of primetime reality TV were clearly born to perform.

Muscle-bound, bass-heavy Beeken and outlaw country-styled six stringer Pack perfectly complement Nichols’ understated cool and gentler tone.

In fact, Restless Road’s relentless triple threat increasingly looks like making the biggest noise on country music’s vocal group scene since Midland broke through pre-pandemic.

Opening up with TikTok favourite Bar Friends, the pace rarely slackened. A 600-strong capacity crowd lapped up every minute of a dizzying set, as much about forging a bond as bringing the music.

If the super slick three-piece had strolled through their C2C debut with all the assurance of seasoned pros — and don’t forget Beeken and Pack have been doing this together since 2013 and a breakout X Factor season — then this was an up close and personal opportunity to connect with die-hard fans.

Restless Road took their chance and made it count: doubling down on that growing popularity this side of the Pond with a set rich in authenticity and reassuringly relatable.

Chart-busting Brown collab Take Me Home almost took the roof off before Beeken lightened the mood with a tongue-in-cheek preamble to 10 Things.

Support act Sophia Scott — a stunning addition to this special evening — took the role of Erin Kinsey as she joined the boys for a neat rendition of Most Nights before a well-placed piano medley featured a memorable Nashville take on Lewis Capaldi.

Last Rodeo was the last song of a triumphant show but it seems that sense of disbelief still prevails. 

Beeken, Pack and Nichols looked utterly shocked in the face of furious acclaim from Lafayette’s packed floor and bouncing balconies.

Maybe it’ll take a full UK headline tour to finally persuade Restless Road that a new home from home is theirs for the taking. 

Check out Rushonrock’s Best Country Albums of 2023 here