Artist: The Road Hammers
Album Title: Blood Sweat & Steel
Record Label: MONTAGE MUSIC GROUP
Rip Date: 2008-06-25
Encoder: LAME 3.97 -V2 --vbr-new
Quality: 195 kbps avg / 44.1KHz / Joint Stereo
01 I'm A Road Hammer 4:03
02 Workin' Hard At Lovin' You 3:34
03 The Hammer Goin' Down 5:07
04 East Bound And Down 3:12
05 I Don't Know When To Quit 3:17
06 Girl On The Billboard 4:02
07 I've Got The Scars To Prove It 3:32
08 Nashville Bound 4:25
09 Overdrive 3:48
10 Keep On Truckin' 3:56
11 Willin' 4:08
12 Heart With Four Wheel Drive 3:43
13 Flat Tires (Bloopers, Out-Takes 'n Such) 1:59
Like a hammered-down 18-wheeler barreling down across the border, Canada's Road
Hammers are an unstoppable musical force, bound and determined to deliver the
toughest, coolest, real-est country music to come down that southbound pike in a
long, long time. Conceived by Canadian country star Jason McCoy and forged under
the unforgiving reality-TV lights of CMT Canada's "Making the Band," the Road
Hammers took on a life of its own from the very beginning. "It was an unplanned
pregnancy, and it was an experiment on camera," McCoy says with a laugh. "But
we're all real happy with the baby. The thing with the TV series was this; if it
flies, you've got a successful band to launch off of this thing, and if it
flops, well, everybody likes to see somebody fall."
Needless to say, the Road Hammers flew, a lot higher than anyone, even the band
members themselves, ever expected. Those band members - guitarist/vocalist
Clayton Bellamy and the world class, kickass rhythm section of bassist/vocalist
Chris Byrne and drummer Corbett Frasz -may have come together on camera, but
onstage and in the studio the Road Hammers quickly formed the kind of
greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts bond that every musican dreams of.
"The first time I saw Clayton Bellamy, he was playing in a beer tent at a Cowboy
Stampede," McCoy recalls. "I thought he was an awesome player with a good stage
presence, and he was obviously a fantastic singer. Exactly what he was doing was
exactly what I wanted."
With the exhilarating musical and vocal tension between Bellamy's go-for-broke,
rock 'n' roll heart and McCoy's deep-fried country soul providing the creative
fuel, and the Bryne/Frasz rhythm section hammering it all home, the band's
self-titled debut album quickly ascended to the upper reaches of the Canadian
country charts, with four songs - "East Bound and Down," "Nashville Bound,"
"Girl On the Billboard" and "I'm a Road Hammer" - hitting the Top 10.
The latter track, a sweat-drenched, blue-collar anthem with a countrified "We
Will Rock You" groove, serves as the band's theme song and begs the musical
question, "Just what is a road hammer?" It's a question for which McCoy has a
"We always say, if you drive 18 wheels, four wheels, two wheels or a unicycle;
if you make your living on or near the highway, or if you've just got a restless
spirit in your heart, then you're a road hammer," he says. "All of a sudden
we've got 20 rows deep standing at the stage singing 'I'm a Road Hammer," and
we're going, 'Whoa, I guess we're not the only ones.'"
In 2005, the band was nominated for six CCMA awards and walked away with the
trophy for Group or Duo of the Year. Road Hammers also picked up a Juno Award
for Country Recording of the Year. The following year, the band received two
CCMA awards - Group or Duo of the Year and Best Video for "Girl On the
Billboard," their high-octane remake of Del Reeves' #1 single from 1961. The
video for the song also shot to # 1 at CMT Canada.
Songs just don't get much more country than "Girl On the Billboard" but -
onstage and on record - the Road Hammers rock, and the band has quickly evolved
into one of the most respected outfits on the road. At the recent Canadian
Country Music Awards in Regina, Saskatchewan, Byrne and Frasz were tapped for
the CCMA's All Star Band on bass and drums respectively, along with Road Hammer
sidemen Mike Little (keyboards) and Kenny Greer (steel guitar).
While his own decade-long career - which has already produced six hit albums, 10
Top-10 singles, and a slew of awards including Male Vocalist of the Year at the
2001 Canadian Country Music Awards and three SOCAN Song of the Year awards - was
running on plenty of momentum, McCoy's restless creative spirit moved him to
take to a sharp left turn at the end of 2005, and the Road Hammers was born.
"I wasn't ready to make another solo record, and I'd had this idea in my head
for a long time," he says. "And I always thought Road Hammers would be such a
cool band name."
When McCoy mentioned his cool band name and concept to a friend at CMT Canada
and the network caught wind of what he was up to, things got real crazy real
fast, with cameras filming the fledgling band's every move, from meetings to
rehearsals to recording studio to songwriting sessions. The show ran for two
successful seasons with Hollywood actor/Vancouver native/Road Hammers fan Jason
Priestley of "Beverly Hills 90210" fame stepping in as director for season two.
The Road Hammerrs were pretty much conceived and born on TV.
"In Canada the show certainly helped us," McCoy says. "Everybody in the country
scene kind of knew who I was, but the marketing strategy was like a three-headed
monster. We had a good radio campaign, we had good TV and we had good print, and
it just worked."
Word of the band's success at home quickly drifted south to Nashville, and the
Road Hammers eventually signed with indie upstart Montage Music.
"I loved Del Reeves and 'Girl on the Billboard' when I was a kid, and I knew
that all it needed was a modern twist from this band," Jason McCoy of The Road
Hammers says. "It's such a great song, and it's early rap, it really is."
Mixing steady-rolling standbys from Reeves and Jerry Reed and contemporary
trucking classics from artists like Paul Thorn ("Heart With Four Wheel Drive")
and Lowell George ("Willin'") with freewheeling originals like "Nashville
Bound," "Overdrive" and "I've Got the Scars to Prove It," The Road Hammers:
Blood Sweat & Steel is a wild ride that covers a lot of musical ground.
Theh Hamemrs headed into the studio with Jason Aldean producer Michael Knox to
record some additional tracks and fine-tune their debut for American release.
Those tracks, "Workin' Hard and Lovin' You," "I Don't Know When to Quit," and
"I've Got the Scars to Prove It," perfectly round out the project with the
one-two punch of Nashville-sized hooks and that trademark Road Hammers
With the bulk of the album recorded in Nashville by McCoy and his longtime
co/producer/collaborator Scott Baggett, The Road Hammers puts a new coat of
paint on a neglected corner of country music's foundation. From Red Sovine's
"Phantom 309" to Dave Dudley's "Six Days on the Road" to Kathy Mattea's "18
Wheels and a Dozen Roses," all the way to Garth Brooks' "Callin' Baton Rouge,"
trucking songs have been a country music constant. And these Road Hammers know
from experience that hard-touring musicians and long-haul truckers have long
been kindred spirits.