By Keith Sharp
In releasing their latest single, “The Boys Are Back At It”, Southern Ontario country-rock trio, The Road Hammers are making a bold statement that as Canada’s pandemic vaccination program continues to roll out, Messers Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy and Chris Byrne are again open for business.
The brand new single “The Boys Are Back At It” officially drops next Friday, April 9, 2021! Pre-save available HERE
With most summer concert festivals still in doubt, it remains to be seen just how restrictive their live itineraries will be but the band is pushing ahead with a yet unnamed six or possibly seven-song EP scheduled to be released in late June.
In making the new single’s declaration, McCoy, speaking on the phone from his Minesing farm (located just north of Barrie Ontario) harkens back to an announcement the band made on their first album. “When we started The Road Hammers, we wanted to write something that said who we are,” McCoy explained. “ So we wrote, ‘I’m A Road Hammer’ and now it makes sense to say ‘We’re back’.”
In releasing their first new material since their 2017 album ‘The Squeeze’, the trio have hardly been idle during their enforced layoff. Guitarist Bellamy has been working on his own material, drummer Byrne is in demand as a producer/session performer and McCoy is currently employed as the morning deejay at Pure 106 Country Music radio station which services the Barrie/Midland/Orillia region.
“I have been lucky to have the radio gig, I get to go and be a jerk for five hours a day,” McCoy cracks. “Last summer when all of our concerts were cancelled it was initially a bit of a gut punch at first, but I bought a boat, went camping, did a bunch of things around the farm and enjoyed having free weekends.”
“The summer before (2019) I only had two weekends off,” he continued. “ That, and my full-time radio stint almost did me in.”
As a deejay on an influential radio station, McCoy is in a unique position to survey ongoing trends in Country Music and yes, he does insert his band’s singles into the station format even though the Bell-owned station doesn’t normally accept requests.
“Yes, I’ll be playing our new single and I have no problem doing it if we get requests,” he announces. “I will do absolutely. We are not supposed to play requests but there are ways to stick-handle around that problem.”
McCoy is aware the tastes in Country Music constantly evolve, whether it’s the pop Country of Carrie Underwood or the more traditional Country of Jon Pardi. “The demographics are one thing but what consumers listen to is another,” McCoy explained. “I get a lot of vocal requests for the older Country but that’s not necessarily the audience Bell is going for.”
So it was the continual changes in Country Music format that sparked the idea of McCoy forming The Road Hammers back in 2004. “I had just released a solo album, `Sins, Lies And Angels’, Country Music was going through that split, whether it was really Country or really Country Pop and I couldn’t figure out what to do. So I decided to park myself in a corner and do something that no one else was doing at that time (Country Rock) and it worked!”
From its inception, The Road Hammers have carved out a strong following of fans who love their high-energy performances which have resulted in five studio albums, one ‘best of’ and a number of Canadian Country Music Awards. “I love Grand Ole Opry, Clayton is into Southern Rock bands like The Allman Brothers and Chris is into stuff like B.B King so all those elements combined results in our ‘Road Hammers’ sound,” McCoy explained. “Left to myself, I would be one of those boring performers but around The Road Hammers I can act like a jackass on stage,” he laughs.