Interview – The Road Hammers

By: Remington Fioraso

The Road Hammers are a country-rock band comprised of Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy, and Chris Byrne. In 2005, the band released their debut album, The Road Hammers, earning the group CCMA Awards and a Juno Award. In 2009, they released their second album, The Road Hammers II. The band went on hiatus in 2010, but regrouped for a showcase during 2013 Country Music Week. On June 3, 2014, they released their new album ‘Wheels’ featuring the singles “Get on Down the Road” and “Mud.” I had a chance to ask Jason McCoy a few questions during an email interview, and here it is for you all to read!

Who are your influences?

Everything from Skynyrd to George Jones…it’s more of an attitude than a genre.

What have been your biggest inspirations when writing?

I’d say each other, it’s an amazing group of personalities. The fuel that fills the creative tank is potent, we just need to write it all down!!

What was it like being back in the studio together again?

Getting back in the studio is just like coming home, it feels real, it feels right, and it feels fresh. Sometimes a break is a good thing.

How has the reception been for Wheels?

We were apprehensive about putting out a new album, but radio and the Hammer fans were right there with us, truly amazing. MUD just went GOLD! We can’t thank the fans enough. Very few get one chance at this, we’ve been lucky to have two.

What led you to covering “Hillbilly Highway,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” and “Let It Roll?”

We started doing an extended jam at the end of “I’m a Road Hammer”, and Clay just started rapping out “Hillbilly Highway”. It was something that evolved naturally over time, it’s one of my favorites. Hank Snow?
The song is obvious for us. We’ve been pretty much everywhere. Hank is one of the most underrated and under-celebrated Canadian bad asses of all time! Did you know he managed Elvis for a time?

I have heard the singles “Mud” and “Get on Down the Road” everywhere on country radio. How did you choose the initial singles off of the album?

“Get on Down the Road” was like a drug, I was hooked and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I figured I’d better drive everyone else nuts too! Ha! “MUD” became evident when my kids started walking around the house singing it unprompted, that’s the true test. Then they started coming up with video ideas. I’m glad we got Clays kids and my kids in the video. Heck, who doesn’t like “MUD”!!! It’s good clean fun!

What are you looking forward to the most for the Bands on the Run tour?

I think the co-writing with the other bands is going to be off the hook. All super talented guys.

Are there songs you are particularly excited to play?

“MUD” is always fun. It’s new and everybody sings along. I love it! Hard to beat “I’m A Road Hammer” as well, it’s the anthem!

Who are your favourite Canadian artists?

I’m digging Tim Hicks, Dallas Smith, and Jess Moskaluke, she has such a charismatic voice, great to see someone so young making such great music.

What was the first concert you attended?

My first concert was Charley Pride, way in the back when I was 7. Then later that same year, 5th row for George Jones at Maple Leaf Gardens. I was hooked!

What are your favourite foods?

My wife’s spaghetti. Amazing! She needs to start a restaurant and sell just that!

What do you like to do when not playing music?

Playing with my kids is tops. My daughter loves her horse, and I love watching her ride. My son is into Hockey now, it’s amazing to watch him on the ice.

What is something fans might not know about you?

I was the youngest licensed pilot in Canada when I was 17…a lifetime ago.

Is there anything you would like to add to your fans?

All of the Hammers would like to make sure the fans know how much we appreciate them. We talk about it a lot, we all remember being dreamers, wondering what it would be like to put out an album. Now it’s amazing to believe we have people buying our music, very humbling.

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