November 4, 2022
Music Recording Group LLC
1.”Ballad of a Misspent Youth”
2. “Girl On The East Side of Town”
3. “Ain’t For the Faint”
4. “Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead”
5. “Shadow On The Street”
6. “Say Goodbye” – Favorite Track
7. “Lovesick City”
8. “Forgive But Won’t Forget”
Total Recommended / Favorite Tracks – 8 / 8
Total Background Tracks – 0 / 8
Total Skip Tracks – 0 / 8
Who is Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Ballad Of A Misspent Youth for?
Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts 2022 Album, Ballad Of A Misspent Youth, is laser focused on the classic rock market, but not the typical influences, which makes it way more interesting.
Tuk Smith has always bled his influences combining the stylings of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, T. Rex, Gary Glitter & AC/DC.
Vocals / Guitars – Tuk Smith
Guitars – Ricky Dover Jr.
Bass – Shane Rickerson
Drums – Nigel Dupree
Where did Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts Originate from?
Tuk Smith came to rock n roll prominence with his original band, Biters, based out of Atlanta, GA.
Biters’ 2015 album, Electric Blood, released through Earache Records, garnered lots of attention in the rock n roll music industry. Notable accolades include Nikki Sixx, Danko Jones, Classic Rock Magazine, Alternative Press, Planet Rock and many others.
I was introduced to Biters with the track “Low Lives in Hi Definition” from 2015’s Electric Blood album. I quickly found myself listening to track after track. My favorite track is “Time to Bleed”. The opening track to Electric Blood is entitled “Restless Hearts”, which is a skip track for me and definitely would have not opened the album with it.
In 2017 the Biters released the sophomore album, The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be. I really dig the first half of this record, it’s like a more polished Electric Blood, especially “Stone Cold Love”. The rest of the album is good, but it’s basically filler tracks. The band was touring to support this release, the press was rolling in, but then the discography was pulled down & the Biters hit the pause button.
Tuk Smith basically stated in the Danko Jones podcast that the members decided to go an indefinite hiatus beginning in 2018. Tuk Smith then broke off, moved to Nashville, TN and founded Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts.
If you are interested in the Biters catalogue it is currently back up and streaming on all platforms.
Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts & Covid
On January 2020 Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts released the debut single, “What Kinda Love”. Tuk Smith’s credibility & the single landed the band a stadium tour with Def Leppard and Motley Crue. Then Covid 19 hit and everything was erased. The debut album, Lookin’ For Love, Ready For War, was to be released in late 2020, but was shelved.
“When the pandemic hit, it was like hitting the reset button on my music career”recalls Tuk, “everything got taken away…album campaign, stadium tour, record deal. The world was in lockdown, and the only way to escape was to throw myself into writing. My thoughts began exploring the past, and the inspiration for the songs just came in tidal waves.” – Tuk Smith
During the Covid Lockdown Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts released the EP Covers From The Quarantine through Better Noise Music. I was confirmed Tuk is the shit because he covered the Kiss song “Hard Luck Woman”, which is the reason why everyone should buy a twelve string guitar.
Then finally in November 2022 the debut album Ballad For A Misspent Youth was released.
Ballad Of A Misspent Youth – Album Review
This record had me so curious. The 2020 single, “What Kinda Love”, sounded like a more polished less gritty Biters using The Who & Queen as its soundtrack.
Tuk Smith is incredibly consistent with the songs he dishes out. It’s the AC/DC way of songwriting. Every song is good, they all sound the same and in this case Tuk basically polished up the Biters tracks and recycled them. Tuk loves Tom Petty, Thin Lizzy, “Surrender” & Gary Glitter so much!
Ballad Of A Misspent Youth is a jukebox of all your major key classic rock. It’s almost like a version of The Darkness without the falsetto vocals. I applaud Tuk Smith for focusing influences on the 70’s glam side, there are so many bands that try to imitate Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and after awhile it gets played out or comes off as lame.
Tuk Smith has been successful and able to get away with rewriting very similar songs across two bands, but is it sustainable? If I were in Tuk’s ear I would be pushing him to write 99% up tempo slightly more aggressive tracks for the next record in order to make it relevant in the discography or get crazy with Pink Floyd / Rush inspired tracks.
If the same rewritten material comes out for now a fourth record I think the majority of the album will come off as filler tracks. At least make sure there are zero traces of Tom Petty, The Who, “Surrender” and Gary Glitter. Tuk is a solid songwriter and you’ll always at least get two killer tracks in whatever he does. I would love to hear the band jam out a bit maybe in a darker Sabbath tone.
The press surrounding Ballad Of A Misspent Youth is totally positive and deservedly so. Every song on this record is solid. Also the performance & production is stellar. I cannot make single negative comment other than Tuk is walking a tight rope with wearing his influences on his sleeve.
Ballad Of A Misspent Youth served its purpose. It has put rock n roll fans on notice that Tuk Smith will not just roll over and there is plenty of high quality music still in the tank. The follow up release is going to make or break Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts. The band either breaks and makes it their own or will forever be lumped in with retro vintage cruise lineups, which could fun, but probably under achieving.
Whatever Tuk Smith does I’m following.