The glorious sounds of the Torch were forged in the fires of country music and southern culture in the fall of 2006 when Jason Yeary, a talented, band-less songwriter from Kentucky was walking the lonesome roads of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and a flaming hammer burst out of the stratosphere, scraping the September sky. Angelic whispers and the sound of a wiry, pedal steel guitar accompanied the blazing light through the night. The heavenly noise pierced his ear like nothing had before and the fiery mess left behind nothing but a trail of smoke that spelled out: “HAMMERTORCH”.
That smoke became an explosive country rock band from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Since their birth in 2006, the Torch has been burning everything in their path from the premier Nashville venues to hot spots all across the southeast and Midwest. With their honest, no-holds-barred, blue-collared approach, Hammertorch has consistently proven why they have earned the label of “Nashville band”: a fierce dedication to music. They are not your run-of-the-mill country band, but rather a volatile, unpredictable vehicle of Southern goodness that is driven by an earnest desire to explore uncharted musical terrains. Given the ever-narrowing closed-mindedness of high-dollar country music in Music City, they have their sights set on destroying any and all boundaries that have traditionally limited Southern music.
In the past, they have acted as backing band for Nashville songstress Caitlin Rose and have played alongside The Black Diamond Heavies, Justin Townes Earle, Glossary, The Watson Twins, Those Darlins, How I Became the Bomb, Tristen, Ghostfinger, We Were The States, The Bohannons, Shoot the Mountain, The Velcro Stars, The Last Straw, Jamie Randolph & The Darkhorse, Bawn In the Mash, The Only Sons and many other national/regional acts.
Jason Yeary - Vocals, Guitar
Steve Daly - Guitar, Pedal Steel
Tyler Coppage - Drums
Jason Harding - keys
Jared Forrester - Vocals, Bass
EP - "This Hammer Fell From The Sky" 2007
LP - "Lions Don't Cry" 2009
EP - "Big Softies" 2009
The single "Too Little, Too Late" from Lions Don't Cry has recieved airplay on Nashville's Independent Radio Station Lightning 100.1.
Hammertorch CD Release (Please Hammer, Don't Torch Em Pt. 2)
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Sometimes Hammertorch crank out the type of driving, blue-collar alt-country—saturated with influenc...Sometimes Hammertorch crank out the type of driving, blue-collar alt-country—saturated with influence from the Stones to Gram Parsons—that most native Tennesseans might find perfectly familiar. The pounding barroom piano, colossal drum sounds and melancholic vocals of songs like “Breakneck Speed” are of an elusively palatable and smart Southern-rock ilk. But it’s tunes like “Cemetery Dance”—with its entrancing steel-guitar hook and astonishingly appropriate disco beat—that let you know these dudes are truly on to something. “Too Little Too Late” is an epic, echoing ballad just a generation removed from Crazy Horse or The Band, while “Roger McFadden’s Danger Society” bursts into riffy interludes so sharply played that we’re tempted to call them “Countrytallica.” But we won’t. We will say, however, that Hammertorch’s latest, Lions Don’t Cry, is much, much smarter than the vast majority of country-tinged rock ’n’ roll you’re likely to come across, and it’s played by a set of guys probably skillful enough to have careers on Music Row. You know, if that’s what they were into.
Album Review of "Lions Don't Cry"
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Southern rock has had its torch blazing through the sound waves for over 30 years, and with its new ...Southern rock has had its torch blazing through the sound waves for over 30 years, and with its new release, Lions Don’t Cry, Hammertorch has not only kept that flame rising, it has infused that heartfelt, country born, rock’n and roll’n with a contemporary pop awareness that leaves listeners warm with the comforts of traditional country-rock and deep-fried in a vat of tastefully restrained guitar work. What separates Lions Don’t Cry from the rest of neo-southern rocker attempts to recreate the seemingly unrecreatable, is an undeniable focus on songwriting and a crafty sensibility of where to let the songs loosen their belts and let it all hang out.
Careful not to let it all hang out all the time is evident of the first cut of the album, “Cemetery Dance,” where slick pedal steel work and a steady back beat are smothered and never dothered with one of the most memorable guitar riffs to hold its place in the Nashville arena of unforgettable guitar work. One could have easily written a song solely based on this riff alone, but what turns out to be the most amazing facet of this song is the song itself: beautiful lyrics that make you covet the emotions as if they were your own and a tremendously catchy arrangement. “Cemetery Dance” sets the album off in a direction that has all the fix’ns in all the right places; this is a great album and a great BAND!
After the first cut, these doctors of Southern rock don’t leave your innards hang’n out; instead they mend your heart with some smooth ballads like “Back to the Country,” “Fire Eyes” and most notably, “Too Little Too Late.” “Too Little Too Late” has that chest tingling, head ring’n sound that takes you to a warm giddy place in a slow dance daze, remembering to keep your head up and your hands on the wheel.
Don’t let your tree get too sappy cuz there are plenty of tracks on this album that keep your foot stomp’n and your heart thump’n, like Roger McFadden’s “Danger Society,” “Breakneck Speed” and especially “Green Grass and Slower Footsteps.”
The production on Lions Don’t Cry is truly seasoned with experience and a delicate ear for the subtle nuances that capture this great band as they are and should be. For all you could bes and have beens, you might ought take note of the folks involved on this record; they’re on their way.
J. Clive Morris 06.AUG.09
Hammertorch Hits The Star
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Turn on the radio these days and within four songs you’re bound to have your ears assailed with t... Turn on the radio these days and within four songs you’re bound to have your ears assailed with the modern “pop-rock country music”, packaged to be the perfect blend of twang, guitar and trendy to set your mind on auto pilot and start your mouth repeating the inane and overly catchy lyrics that will drive you and your nearest and dearest absolutely bat-shit for the next year or so. Blame it on Paducah radio, or society, or whatever you like. What’s the answer to this inundation of ‘preprocessed,
overly mixed, sing-song garbage’ problem? In a word: Hammertorch. They can be called a country/rock fusion, but bass player Jared Forrester likes to point out that even the band is not quick to define their sound so easily, “We Consider ourselves a rock band with a country twinge…steel guitar and all”.
Forrester, a native of La Center, went on to say that he and the rest of the band
believe “modern pop country is entertainment, but it’s not music…we strive to be
at the polar opposite…just be quality music that people can actually enjoy. We’re
kinda like a revolt against Nashville pop country.” The revolt seems to be in high
gear, and has been going strong since 2006.
Don’t believe me? The Hammertorch guys have played all over the Nashville scene,
as well as the surrounding area, and have even made it as close as Murray before.
They have managed to generate quite a well deserved buzz, and have dedicated fans far and wide (one even contacted me about them from Pennsylvania), but now Forrester finally has his long awaited shot of bringing the band and music he loves home to meet the family, as it were. Who doesn’t like to hear about a local boy making good, right?
To date Hammertorch has released an LP titled Lions Don’t Cry and, more recently, an EP titled Big Softies that can easily be found online at ReverbNation or on bandcamp.com (http://hammertorch.bandcamp.com). I checked them both
out and was more than just a little impressed. I had read up on the band before talking to Forrester about their work, and I was expecting, due to all the rave reviews available online everywhere, another cookie cutter radio friendly reproduction – Wow was I wrong.
I listened to them and then downloaded them, so I could keep listening to them. (Say All The Things has made it into my regular MP3 rotation) To me, Hammertorch sounds like the Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival had a love child in modern day Nashville, taught by some of country’s greatest legends, with the energy and youth to still know how to rock and roll. The sound is, in fact, rock and country, but skillfully blended in a way I know I personally have never imagined before. I am genuinely interested to see where this band goes, and hear how they grow as artists. These five guys are definitely a talent heavy group.
I could go into a great and thrilling personal analysis of what I believe their “sound” is, but there is something far better than that you can do to really get a feel for it; see them firsthand at “A Mid-Summer’s Evening with Hammertorch” at the Star, on Friday June 25th. Come prepared for a good time, it’s bound to be memorable for the music alone, and if half the press in Nashville is to be believed the show should be as good as or better than you could hope for. Hammertorch in Paducah; it’s about time!
- Dennis Sharpe
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Sorry Penguin, sorry Cuttlefish—you’ll have to face the fact that Hammertorch may be the last great ...Sorry Penguin, sorry Cuttlefish—you’ll have to face the fact that Hammertorch may be the last great band to emerge from Murfreesboro’s waning rock revival. Falling somewhere between Ghostfinger’s instrumental virtuosity and Glossary’s Southern realist song-craft, the Torch’s 2007 EP, This Hammer Fell From The Sky, is filled with the boozy swagger and youthful energy that epitomized Bucket City’s formerly bustling music underground. Their live show is a rowdy, rockin’ affair—halfway between house party and honky-tonk—that would have been right at home during the halcyon days of the Red Rose Café. 9 p.m. at The End —SEAN L. MALONEY
August Artist of the Month nominees part 2: Hammertorch
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Hammertorch is the first of our two Murfreesboro nominees, and as the comments on our poll already i...Hammertorch is the first of our two Murfreesboro nominees, and as the comments on our poll already indicate, they have a strong local following. They’re backing Caitlin Rose at The Five Spot Thursday July 10, but Hammertorch can most definitely hold it down on their own. Their sound is something like My Morning Jacket injected with a dose of pure classic country. Between their skillful steel parts and Jason Yeary’s passionate, towering vocals, I’d say they’ve earned the "Nashville" label, even if they are from the Boro. -D. Patrick Rodgers
Hammertorch rocks with a little twang
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"On Dec. 7 I saw Hammertorch open up for the always rockin’ Last Straw at the newly improved Bluesbo..."On Dec. 7 I saw Hammertorch open up for the always rockin’ Last Straw at the newly improved Bluesboro Rhythm & Blues Co. I was thoroughly surprised when Hammertorch hit the stage. Not to make comparisons, but if you like Kings of Leon and local legends Glossary, you’ll really dig this band. They combine elements of country and rock in a way that makes them tough to place in either category.
Hammertorch is comprised of Tyler Coppage on drums, Steve Daly on guitar and lap steel, Jared Forrester on bass, Jason Harding on the keys and Jason Yeary on lead vocals and guitar. The players manage to keep listeners on their toes with sharp and strikingly different changes in time and style.
My particular favorite track of theirs is “Murfreesboro Motel,” since I grew up within walking distance from the hotel with the mostest and used to buy Starburst from Tommy’s Market in grade school. You gotta be down with the ’Boro like me and Hammertorch to get that one.
Anyways, I digress; Hammertorch is a band worth your time that is playing in a bar near you very soon. Go check them out at myspace.com/hammertorch if you are ignorant to the ways of the Hammertorch and check out their next Boro Bar and Grill show Jan. 18 with the Turncoats and the Bohannans. Peace love and hair grease!"
-Marc Williams January 10, 2008
"This Hammer Fell From the Sky" review
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This Hammer Fell from the Sky, Hammertorch's new southern classic rock EP, comes at us with Cinemasc...This Hammer Fell from the Sky, Hammertorch's new southern classic rock EP, comes at us with Cinemascope vision--big long songs, allegorical stories that flesh out worlds of motels and long windy roads to nowhere and open-minded use of feedback swlls and sheets of white noise. But one senses that "concept album" wasn't really all they had in mind here. Abstract sounds are utilized in "This hammer Fell from the Sky (part I)", but otherwise the songs are radio-friendly and delightfully listenable, the way The Band and Neil Young used to be. Songs like "Dark Country Night" and "Flat Tire" are soulful sing-alongs that, with the help of Jason Harding's ambient steel guitar, bring those artists to mind.
This pack of songs feels a bit redundant (four of the seven tracks share the same title making two of them reprises), but there's evidence they were chosen with careful intention. Although there seems to be no overt lyrical or instrumental theme, playing the songs sequentially reveals a gradual thematic arc. Opener "Murfreesboro Motel" offers a classic rock, lighthearted feel, but as the hammer continues to fall, the tracks take an intentionally affective dive through obscure noise rock in "This Hammer Fell from the Sky (part I)" into the despairing lyrics in "Flat Tire" and, gaining momentum, into the heavier and faster Wilco-esque indie-rock riffing of "This Hammer Fell from the Sky (part II)." The mood finally elevates at the end with a fiery guitar solo. Once genial again, the album opens wide once more into an upbeat southern rock song "Dark Country Road (Reprise),' highlighted by its excited and redeemed refrain, "We knew it all along."
This Hammer Fell from the Sky is a fine first release that represents impressive ingenuity with EP length and framework. (Self-released).
All Drunk & Bored
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On the Fourth, the 'Boro hosted its annual freedom bash. Hammertorch played: They rocked, they twang...On the Fourth, the 'Boro hosted its annual freedom bash. Hammertorch played: They rocked, they twanged. I really like them. I didn't stay for the other bands, as I had out-of-town obligations, but I'm sure Ghostfinger rocked. I really don't know about the other bands. I doubt you've had a chance to hear Hammertorch's debut EP This Hammer Fell From the Sky. It's like a Southern-fried version of The Hold Steady. Really captures the feeling of living in Murfreesboro—all drunk and bored. They are working on the follow-up as we speak.
"This Hammer Fell From the Sky" review
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“Hammertorch’s 'This Hammer Fell From The Sky' felt like finding a soft pillow after having to sleep...“Hammertorch’s 'This Hammer Fell From The Sky' felt like finding a soft pillow after having to sleep on rocks for a week. The music is rock ‘n’ roll. It is straight forward with a little bit of an interesting twist that come from a unique front vocal and very solid harmonies…The instruments have the vintage feel and tone of classic rock with only a slight modern edge.
The songwriting is interesting. The first song ‘Murfreesboro Motel’ definitely caught my ear with a good chorus and strong melodic content. Hammertorch immediately struck me as a band who plays well together.”
Please, Hammer, Don't Torch 'Em
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Hammertorch may sound like the name of hard-chugging, skull-crushing death metal band from Sweden, b...Hammertorch may sound like the name of hard-chugging, skull-crushing death metal band from Sweden, but they are in fact a part traditional country, part indie-rock five-piece from Murfreesboro, Tenn. With their graceful steel parts and admirable work ethic—they share members with a handful of local rock acts and often serve as Caitlin Rose’s backing band—Hammertorch bring to mind another certain Murfreesboro-based alt. country group. (Hint: Rhymes with “Flossery.”) While the ’Torch certainly know their way around a leisurely Southern groove, their live show packs a mean punch, and frontman Jason Yeary’s fast-fingered noodling is good enough to land him a gig with an actual Swedish death metal group. Well, maybe not. But he’s still pretty good.
-D. Patrick Rogers
Blues & BBQ lead up great Oxford weekend
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"Saturday night brings round a host of new sounds, with Hammertorch and Giant Bear at Two Stick. Bot..."Saturday night brings round a host of new sounds, with Hammertorch and Giant Bear at Two Stick. Both these bands have lush country sounds with that twinge of indie. Hammertorch, from Murfreesboro, TN, gives us that hillbilly sound, replete with railway drumbeats, lap steel and twangyness. But something's different than your run-o-the-mill hayride tune. Imagine the Shins with a steel guitar and maybe even drunk on illicit corn whiskey."
Hammertorch plays almost exclusively original music. Most sets range from 45 to 80 minutes. Typical sets are mostly original, but some occasional covers may include the Beatles, Everly Bros., Elvis Costello, Neil Young, or any other artist who has played a good song.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.