The Road Hammers
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The Road Hammers

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Still working on that hot first release.



“It doesn’t matter if you drive a car or a Harley… a mini-van or an 18-wheeler – it all comes down to basic human nature,” says Jason McCoy. “There’s a bit of Jekyll and Hyde inside all of us. We want to be domestic animals, but on the other hand we have this natural urge to set out and conquer new worlds. You’ll find this in the heart of the highway.”

That’s exactly where McCoy, and fellow Road Hammers Clayton Bellamy (vocals/guitar) and Chris Byrne (Bass and Backing Vocals) found inspiration for their new record, The Road Hammers II. Equal parts blazing southern fried rock and deep country soul, The Road Hammers II has all the ingredients that made their debut the perfect driving record. Born on the road, forged in blood, sweat, concrete and steel, the new album features 11 no-nonsense tracks that are sure to cement the Hammer’s reputation as one of Canada’s most compelling country acts.

Road Hammers II finds McCoy and company stretching out some. It’s sonic and lyrical depth built on a solid, four-year foundation of writing, recording and rolling down the highways together.

Where their first record featured trucking favourites like Jerry Reed’s “Eastbound and Down” and Del Reeves', “Girl On the Billboard,” (which hit #1 at CMT Canada), with the exception of a signature Hammer take on the John Martin Summers’ classic, “Thank God I'm a Country Boy,” the new record is weighted heavily in favour of original material. The Road Hammers II features raw, riff-heavy anthems like “Cowboy ‘Til I Die,” “No Time for Long Goodbyes” and “Freewheelin’,” complete with Skynyrdesque dueling guitars, wailing Hammonds and the band’s signature harmonies; McCoy’s deep country drawl speaking from the heartland, Bellamy’s trademark urgency bringing the rock, and Byrne’s sky-high harmonies soaring above. There’s ample wry humour, too - songs that find the Hammers cracking wise about everything from “Getting Screwed” by the taxman to the joy of finally finding “A Girl Who Loves To Truck.”

Recorded in Nashville’s Sound Emporium, Airstrip Studios and the Electric Sandbox with McCoy’s long time producer and sonic midwife, Scott Baggett, at the wheel, this second trip down the highway is an even stronger take on what the Hammers do best. It’s a no holds barred, rough and tumble ode to the road that walks the line between celebrating life working the highway and straight talk about the damage done along the way.

"We're not all 19-years-old and leaving nothing behind,” Bellamy says. “You're trying to keep the band going and make sure your wife's happy and the kids are looked after.”

Correspondingly, the record spends as much time on the rewards of tearing a strip off the highway as it does the risks of holding two separate lives together, ‘one to make a living and one to make it all worthwhile.’ Tallying up the wounds on songs like “I’ve Got the Scars To Prove It,” and taking a longing, if tongue in cheek, look back home on “Workin’ Hard At Lovin’ You” and lead single “Homegrown.”

Still, there’s not much call for staying at home if you want to play 6 nights out of 7 – “Touring,” says McCoy, “that's where music comes alive.” Especially for a band that routinely leaves everything on stage, night after night after night. “Coming off a solo career, working with a band really energizes you,” McCoy says, by way of explanation. "All of a sudden you’re starting from the bottom again. It reminds you why you got into this in the first place.” That may be, but it hasn’t taken long for The Road Hammers to rise to the top.

With their undeniable chemistry; their high-octane live show energizing a growing fan base across North America (and prompting an on-the-spot invitation for second play at the Grand Ole Opry, before the sweat even cooled from their first one); their self-titled 2004 debut yielding 4 Top 10 hits, including the #1 Country Radio smash, “East Bound and Down,” and domestic sales in excess of 80,000 records; sharing the stage with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Roy Clark; inking a US deal with Montage Records; filming back to back seasons of their hit TV series (which air repeatedly on GAC-TV in the US and returns to CMT for another run in February ’09); and picking up an unholy head of steam and their fair share of hardware along the way (including CCMA’s for Best Group or Duo two years running in 2005-06, best video for 2006’s “East Bound and Down” and the 2006 Juno for Country Recording of the year) - The Road Hammers have put some serious miles between themselves and the bottom.

Not bad for a band that McCoy started as a bridge between his own solo efforts. Still, he’s frustrated by the time it’s taken for the band to get a follow up record into Canadian hands. “The wheels were moving so slow. We’ve been sitting down in Nashville, writing songs and being ready for this record for two years.” In the end though, "We got more in the can because we were sitting on our cans,” he adds, laughing.

That said, make no mi