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Some chattin’ with The Road Hammers

A Mantrack-beatin’ rockin’ country band

Pure power stances right there. / Margaret Malandruccolo
Pure power stances right there. / Margaret Malandruccolo

Let me just say that I nearly pooped myself when I found out that I had the opportunity to interview The Road Hammers. For those of you who loathe country music, you will probably have no idea who these champs are. Shame, shame. So, let me tell you:

The Road Hammers, made up of band members Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy, and Chris Byrne, hail from our own lovely Canadian country. They’ve produced some killer songs, including “I’m A Road Hammer,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “Homegrown,” and “Mud” (my personal favourites).

In fact, their single “Mud,” off of their fourth and latest album, Wheels, which was released in 2014, has reached gold status. Atta be boys! In other words, The Road Hammers have sold 500, 000 units of this single. Goodness gracious, that’s a whole lotta sellin’.

Upon receiving the news that their single “Mud” reached gold status, besides potentially jumping up and down, throwin’ up some “praise Jesus” hands, and screaming their faces off, how did it make The Road Hammers feel?

Well, Clayton Bellamy enlightens us, stating, “It’s honestly one of the best moments when you find out that your fans are behind you so much that they will put down their hard earned money for your music. It’s really humbling and exciting at the same time. It’s something I worked my whole life for.”

When Bellamy says, “It’s something I worked my whole life for,” he’s not kidding. This beauty started singing at age nine.

“I just loved to play,” says Bellamy. “I went to college and studied voice and music business. Then I started a band and never looked back.”

That’s what’s up! But, my soul begs to ask how exactly a singing nine-year-old went from, well, a singing nine-year-old, to a college music student, to a musician in a band, to a country music star.             “Hard work,” Bellamy states. “I always treated music like farming when I was a kid growing up. Get up early, work hard, and create your opportunities. Also, a lot of family support and a touch of luck.”

Boom! There we have it champs! Your hopes and dreams (however unrealistic and impossible they may seem) can sure as heck come true if you put in the hard work. Aww… that was touching, wasn’t it? Excuse me while I gently wipe away the one single tear strolling down my cheek.

Any who, let’s continue. Also on their newest album, Wheels, is the sick single, “Hillbilly Highway,” which was recently released to the radio and premiered worldwide on YouTube this past Jan. 16.

I took a solid look at this music vid and had a solid listen to “Hillbilly Highway” simultaneously. Not going to lie, McCoy’s and Bellamy’s wonderful hair blowing in the wind as they ride down an open highway on their motorbikes got my attention right from the start of the video. Pure gorgeousness. Uniquely, the music video mixes camera shots of blazing down the open road on motorbikes with shots of The Road Hammers performing live in concert. Pretty nifty, if you ask me!

And, although the music video seems to take place on a decently nice day weather-wise, Bellamy remarks otherwise, saying, “It was cold! You can’t tell from the video, but it was only about plus 1 on those bikes. To tell you the truth, making videos is always a blast no matter what the temperature. We have amazing fans who came out to be in it, so that really made the video!”

The song itself is unbelievably catchy and musically sound with a pace and strong drum beat that keep the song pushing forward. Although I usually hate when country artists add a short bout of rapping to the middle of their songs, The Road Hammers do it quite well with the addition of Colt Ford’s rapping bit. Thank God when the rapping part comes in, the entire musical scheme doesn’t completely change from country rock to crappy bass-dropping auto tuned garbage. Instead, the beat and country rock twang that flows through the whole song stays the same in the rappin’ bit.

At the end of the song, “Hillbilly Highway” wraps up nicely with a phenomenal display of guitar finger-picking awesomeness. It makes me so happy.

Will this song and music video get The Road Hammers some more JUNOs or CCMAs? Only time will tell. But, The Road Hammers have quite the track record in the award department, winning Group or Duo of the Year at the CCMA awards in 2005, picking up Country Recording of the Year at the JUNOs in 2006, and claiming Group or Duo of the Year and CMT Video of the Year at the CCMA awards in 2006.

In 2015 and beyond, Bellamy hopes “to continue to grow the Hammer Nation and take Hammer music to all parts of the world!”

Huzzah! Now, let’s get into some fun facts shall we?

In 2010, McCoy and Bellamy from The Road Hammers were on the OLN TV show, Mantracker, where tracker Terry Grant tracks contestants around in the wilderness and attempts to apprehend them with his lasso before they reach the finish destination.

“That was an amazing opportunity!” says Bellamy. “The Mantracker was great, but not as good as the Hammers! We beat him!”

Heck yes! I have gained another level of respect for The Road Hammers. Anyone who can beat Mantracker is a huge champ in my books.

Another fun fact? Bellamy is a father of two, a radio host on Edmonton’s hit country music station CISN FM – Country 103.9, and now a television host on CMT Canada’s brand new show, Ice Racer Showdown.

Goodness gracious, sounds like a busy man. Perhaps even busier than a student at the U of R who also plays softball for the U of R and works as the Arts & Culture Editor for the Carillon.

Bellamy states, “Between family, writing, recording music, TV shows, and video shoots, there is never a dull moment!”             No kidding. I feel as though as I would suck hard at balancing my work life and family life if I was a country star. I mean, I can barely find a balance in my broke University student life between being a hermit in my house doing homework (or watching Netflix) and actually leaving my place to go chill with my friends or crush some weights in the gym. The struggle is real. So real. Nevertheless, Bellamy seems to get the job done quite well.

“It’s really hard to balance home and work, especially with kids, but it seems to come in fits and spurts,” says Bellamy. “You just need to appreciate the slow time and spend it with family.”

Heck yes. Preach it brother.

Well, that brings this lovely little article to a close. I will simply end by saying that although I may dress gangster sometimes, I love me some country. And, now I can check “Interview The Road Hammers” off my bucket list.

My life is complete.

About Destiny Kaus

Former carillon production manager/arts editor/arts writer.