Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update for you Hammer heads

After a healthy dose of mugging for the crowd and the cameras, Jason McCoy dashed back to the microphone to deliver his band’s trademark chorus line.

“I’m a road hammer,” he and his band mates proclaimed. “A white-knuckled steel gear jammer, Rig jockey highway slammer – I’m just doin’ what I gotta do.”

The Road Hammers, a Canadian band now residing in Nashville, TN, blend elements of modern and classic country, rock and up-tempo blues on their acclaimed album, “Blood Sweat & Steel.”

I haven’t been to very many country music concerts even though the first concert experience of my life was the Statler Brothers when I was 5. Even I know that the genre of what is considered “country” has changed a lot with the times.

I wrote a story about The Road Hammers in the June issue of Land Line, describing how they burst onto the scene after McCoy, already an acclaimed vocalist in Canada, formed the band on a reality show.

I have kept up with the band since my initial interview with McCoy for a few reasons, not limited to the fact that I am Canadian and I am also a musician.

I marked my calendar and made it a point to catch The Road Hammers on tour this past Labor Day weekend as they warmed up the crowd for country legend Lorrie Morgan at the Santa-Cali-Gon Days festival in Independence, MO. In fact, my band played at the same festival two nights earlier.

While Morgan takes the more traditional approach to the genre of country, The Road Hammers put on a rock show with a country twist.

The bluesy guitars were blazing, and the band members in black cowboy hats covered a lot of ground on the stage as they engaged the crowd.

At the meet-and-greet after the show, I talked briefly with the Hammers about truckin’ and music and how the two seem to go together like tread on a tire.

Pictured from left to right, the Road Hammers are: vocalist Jason McCoy, guitarist Clayton Bellamy, drummer Corbett Frasz and bassist Chris Byrne.

Following the greet session, another cool thing happened. The Hammers disappeared for a brief moment but then returned to the side of the stage to watch Morgan perform her set.

It was cool because after putting on a rock show, The Road Hammers returned incognito to watch a performer who has had 25 hits dating back to 1978.

They know where they want to be and they also have a healthy respect for what has come before, and I’ll bet truckers of all ages can relate to that.