Road Hammers - Self-Titled
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
one should come with an advisory sticker. Please play loud…and
often. Canadian country star, Jason McCoy, has achieved his aim.
That is: to marry tar and cement to the driving backbeat of
trucking and the revealing strains of the highway. On the band’s
14 track debut, McCoy and his brother Hammers, who incidentally
snagged some notable awards at the recent Canadian Country Music
Awards, haul and deliver their rock ’n’ country cargo
without hitting too many potholes.
an album that starts with the fired ignition of a multi-wheeler,
only to end with absolutely nothing –“Absolutely Nothing”
comically offers, well, absolutely nothing – the set comes
charged, hard and heavy. The band offer more in their liner
notes: “This very well could be the ultimate road trip album,
for whatever distance you’re travelling, and whatever size rig
you’re haulin’!” It’s an ambitious claim, but the
offered energy of a band primed on white lines and octane is
infectious. And for truckers, honed on miles and hours of
white-line fever, played, as suggested, loud and often, this
album will keep the road warriors interested long after the
coffee kick wears.
McCoy, a 2004 CCMA Male Vocalist of The Year, a writer with four
albums and a greatest hits package due for release, the ambition
to pay credit to the road with gritty homage comes realized with
The Road Hammers. With McCoy on guitars, comes Albertan Clayton
Bellamy, and bass player, Chris Byrne, together they pump with
hard- to-the-floor twang.
album fires up with “I’m A Road Hammer”. The track is sure
to enjoy immediate bonding with those who lug the load – an
oily anthem of sorts. Speaking directly to the guy with his hand
on the oversized wheel, the tune records the plight with a
steady beat and tight harmonies. “Overdrive” with its
frenzied push, and lyrics that tell you’ve got keep rollin’
just to survive, is more of the same, while “Keep On Trucking”
is a snaky, blues-fused route to the Del Reeves hit “Girl On
The Billboard”. The tune, a chart-topper for Reeves in ’65,
is a guitar-laced memory with just enough reworking to make it
Reed’s classic, “Eastbound & Down,” enjoys the
hammered touch. The track, best remembered from Smoky and the
Bandit, enjoys revival and restoration, sitting comfortably
with the mood and charter of the album.
back a gear or two, there’s a change of pace on “Call It A
Day”. Mellow and reflective, the tune highlights the reality
of a trucker’s life. It’s a life as divided as the highway
travelled –there’s an obligated life on the road and missed
time from family at home. It’s a tune, co-written by McCoy,
Tim Taylor, and one of Canada’s hottest writers, Steve Fox. It
drives home in lay terms that for every choice we make, there’s
a price that’s paid.
a bloopers’ track, “Flat Tires,” seems wasted here. So,
too, is “Absolutely Nothing” – a five-second ode to
silence. The reprise of “I’m A Road Hammer” is space that
could have enjoyed a cover from the band’s liner heroes,
namely, Del Reeves or Red Sovine. Anyhow, those minor grumbles
aside, this is an album not for cowpokes, cheats and hustlers,
rather, it’s prime twang and gristle for the man and woman who
travels a thankless land in often unforgiving circumstances.
album’s jacket advised the CD came enhanced with a band video
and a screen saver; no such luck when I went to play it. The
Hammer logo appeared and nothing else. Not that I was worried,
mind you. It allowed me time to shift drives, crank the volume,
and follow my own advice of playing this one loud and often.
The CD Now!