Strap yourself in and hang on – The Road Hammers are back.
Founded by Canadian Country singer/songwriter Jason McCoy in 2004, The Road Hammers’ high octane live shows and signature blend of southern fried rock and country soul have earned them a reputation as one of the highest energy bands in Canadian Country.
The response from country fans and the music industry at large to the Road Hammers was overwhelmingly positive. Out of the box in 2005 their self-titled debut album hit No. 1 on the Canadian Country Album Chart. It went on to sell over 80,000 copies domestically and garnered the band multiple CCMA Award nominations, a CCMA Award for Group or Duo of the Year, a JUNO for Country Recording of the Year in 2005, as well as CCMA Awards for Group or Duo of the Year and Best Video in 2006. Ultimately it yielded four Top 10 hits, set the tone for their 2009 follow up, The Road Hammers II, and led the band to tour relentlessly over the next six years, both on their own and backing up music legends ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Roy Clark.
Although the band called it quits in 2010 to pursue other projects, the rare chemistry they share inevitably drew them back together. “And that chemistry is stronger than ever,” McCoy says. “When we got together at the 2013 CCMA Awards for a show it was the most potent thing – from the downbeat to the end of the set – that I’ve ever experienced.”
Typically, The Road Hammers gravitate toward songs that celebrate the lives of those who call the highway their home. But while that’s where McCoy and fellow Road Hammers Clayton Bellamy and Chris Byrne have found inspiration in the past, with the 2014 release of their 3rd record in Canada, tentatively titled Wheels (Open Road Recordings), the band is stretching out some and taking on tunes that cover new ground musically and lyrically. While they’re still serving up plenty of road anthems like lead single ‘Get On Down The Road,’ they’re also digging deeper with tracks like their cover of Steve Earle’s ‘Hillbilly Highway,’ which features a guest appearance by Colt Ford.
“It doesn’t have to be a highway song to make the cut, it just has to have a certain kind of energy and vibe so we can ‘Hammerize’ it,” McCoy says, referencing some of the other tunes up for consideration for Wheels. Among them original tracks like ‘Mud’ and Turn It Up’ and classic covers such as BTO’s ‘Let It Roll’ and Del Reeves’ ‘Looking at the World Through a Windshield.’
This time they’re also bringing renewed energy to the studio and the stage. “I think taking a break helped,” McCoy continues. “At the end of our ride the first time we were beat down pretty heavy, but now we’re just on fire again and there’s a fearlessness to what we’re doing that’s probably a result of having something we all loved fall apart for a while. And you know what make a great live show? Fearlessness.”
You don’t have to be a Country fan to appreciate The Road Hammers; you just have to have a pulse. While they’re a band that routinely leaves everything on stage night after night, it’s their trademark harmonies that truly set them apart – McCoy’s deep country drawl speaking from the heartland, Bellamy bringing the rock and Byrne’s sky-high vocal soaring above it all; a blend of voices that’s tight, but not polished to such a fine gloss their individual personalities disappear. And it’s that mix of personalities that makes The Road Hammers’ music as rough, raw and fiery on record as it is on stage.
The Road Hammers are:
Multiple CCMA and SOCAN Award winner, Jason McCoy (vocals, guitar) who was playing local bars and legion halls before he was even legal and grew his local notoriety into a length solo career that’s made the Minesing, Ontario native big news in Canadian Country since 1995.
Clayton Bellamy (vocals, guitar) – a self-described motor head who came by his love of the road honestly, growing up in a trucking family and first hitting the road as motocross racer before touring on his own, then with The Road Hammers and more recently with The Clayton Bellamy Band.
Chris Byrne (bass, vocals), a long time member of McCoy’s touring band who ditched high school at the eleventh hour to take an out of town recording gig with Rip Torn and hasn’t looked back. Since, his smooth high harmonies and solid bass chops have helped lay the foundation and put the finishing touches on a variety of artist’s recordings and live shows.