As the country's top-grossing singer, Kenny Rogers is a performer who truly needs no introduction. But his Utah fans will want to know the time and place of his upcoming Salt Lake concert - the Salt Palace on Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m., where he'll follow the hot recording group, Restless Heart. Tickets at $18.50 are now on sale at the Salt Palace box office and at Smith's Tix outlets.
Rogers has been in music for three decades and for 13 years has had an extraordinary solo career that has captivated millions. His formidable accomplishments include three Grammys, 11 People's Choice awards, 18 American Music awards, five County Music Association awards and eight Academy of Country Music awards; nine platinum albums, one platinum single, and many gold albums and singles, plus dozens of other recognitions, including nods from readers' polls in Rolling Stone, Billboard, People Magazine and PM Maga-zine/-USA Today.Rogers has recently received a more personal recognition - the Horatio Alger Award, given to those who have distinguished themselves despite humble beginnings. This award recognizes his early life in a Houston public housing project with seven brothers and sisters. And his Kenny Rogers/J.C. Penney Classic Weekend, a sports and entertainment television special taped at his Georgia home each September, generates funds for the homeless in the Athens, Ga., area.
New albums, concert tours and television specials, charitable undertakings, commercial endorsements, and even his own clothing line keep this tireless personality constantly on the move. Among recent projects is last September's "Love is Strange" on Reprise label, continuing his collaboration with Dolly Parton. Songs of this album follow one of his own precepts for making a successful record: give voice to something every lover would like to be able to say or hear.
When they came together, the five members of Restless Heart were restless with the way country music was. They wanted to stretch the boundaries a bit, and they feel there's room for two kinds of country.
"There's country music the art form, the Montana cowboy poet or the Appalachian hillbilly singer, and there's the kind you hear on your radio," said keyboardist David Innis. "What we try to do is build bridges between those islands - to connect contemporary music with the tradition of country."
Today, Restless Heart is the Academy of Country Music's vocal group of the year, with top-selling albums.
"Not everyone is a coal miner or on a farm," said lead guitarist Greg Jennings. "We grew up cruising Main Street and going to the drive-in, and people tend to forget that's a very real part of the American existence. That's certainly where we come from, and it's one of the things we sing about."
Besides Innis and Jennings, the group includes bass player Paul Gregg, lead singer Larry Stewart, and percussionist John Dittrich. Making a hit with their first album, "Restless Heart" (1985), they have since produced two more gold albums - "Wheels" (1986), with four No. 1 hits; and "Blue Dreams in a Small Town" (1988), equally popular. Their latest, "Fast Movin' Train" (1990), continues their upward spiral.