Jared Keim’s hard work is paying off. The big winner, however, may end up being the up-and-coming band Restless Road.

Keim, a northeast Missouri native and a graduate of Palmyra High School, recently was named as the replacement third member of the popular trio that finished fourth in Season 3 of 'The X Factor,' a music competition reality show created by Simon Cowell.

Catching up with Keim isn’t easy these days. Studio commitments and meetings with writers consume much of his and his new bandmates’ time. “We've been working with some really cool people and doors are opening up all the time,” Keim said.


Restless Road burst onto the music scene in a big way on 'The X Factor.' The other two band members are Andrew Scholz and Zach Beeken. They were joined by the original third member, Colton Pack, after all three auditioned for the 'The X Factor' separately as solo acts. Neither survived the auditions as solo artists. That’s when Cowell – seeing individual skills that meshed better as a group – formed Restless Road.

If the way the group was formed has a familiar ring to it, that’s because another group was formed in exactly the same way – a group with astounding success that unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last few years you have certainly heard of – the wildly popular One Direction.

Pack parted ways with Restless Road on Feb. 9, 2014, to pursue a solo career. The split was amicable but left Restless Road with an unsure future.


For the 20-year-old Keim, years of writing (he wrote his first song at age 5), playing numerous clubs and events in Hannibal, MO, Quincy, IL and the surrounding area, and endless YouTube uploads showcasing his extraordinary talent all led to a seasoned and very polished performer that was very close to breaking through in the extremely tough world of music. That breakthrough appears to have happened to the benefit of Keim, Restless Road and, most importantly, the music industry as a whole.

While One Direction is decidedly pop with perhaps a little rock mixed in, Restless Road thrives in today’s country genre but with heavy pop influences. Think Rascal Flatts or Hunter Hayes.

“Our style can be described pretty well as a younger, more pop-influenced Rascal Flatts. We are still sticking pretty true to the country roots, but we are running with this new age country pop thing that's going now. We feel like what we bring to the table is new and fresh without being too out there,” Keim explained.

Keim was officially introduced as the third member of Restless Road when the band released a new YouTube video on its Facebook page. That song – a cover of One Direction’s hit “You and I” – already has over 42,000 views in just six days as of this writing. In the video, Keim is introduced after the song.


Restless Road, which spends most of its time between Nashville and Branson for now, knows about blending strengths. That’s how it was created. After losing Pack and adding Keim, the band has had to start fresh again. That’s not a bad thing, however, when you consider they have a head start of sorts. The success of The X Factor has led to a huge fan following. Restless Road has over 130,000 “likes” on Facebook, a very good indicator of popularity in today’s world. The response on social media has been overwhelmingly positive about the addition of Keim. The consensus sentiment seems to be wishing Pack well in his solo pursuits, but welcoming to Keim and excitement about the reorganized and reenergized trio. And the addition of Keim is definitely creating a buzz. Last week he did an #askJared chat with his Restless Road fans and the hash tag trended No. 1 in the world for a while.

Keim is hoping his addition brings out the best in all three band members. “The way the group is working is we want to be able to showcase all three of us in the best ways possible,” Keim said. “I sing best in a mid/high range, Zach has an awesome bass voice and Andrew also has a great mid/high range. The difference between us and most other groups in our genre is that we have the young `pop’ appeal and have a lot of pop influences in our songs, but we thrive off of country music so we'll be a good crossover group.”


Restless Road is young but seasoned. The group has had some success but is still hungry. They have had some disappointment but have been resilient. All roads are pointing to even more success. “I think we're in a really good situation with our style and the direction that we are heading,” Keim said. “Right now we are getting to know each other better and becoming closer as artists. (We are) learning each other's style, strengths, and weaknesses so that our songwriting facilitates to that.”