The resurrection of Trucker music

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When Canadian country music star Jason McCoy began kicking around the idea of launching a trucker music band, he had no idea it would pick up as much momentum as a runaway b-train barreling down a Rocky Mountain grade.

But that’s exactly what has happened since he got together with some buddies last year and formed the Road Hammers – a band that focuses exclusively on trucker tunes, both new and old.

“I said I wanted to do something a little bit different and do an album of all trucker music,” McCoy told Truck West at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. “I’ve got a lot of friends who are truckers and we basically live the life of a trucker. We have to worry about the DOT and border crossings and all of that, and we’re always at the truck stops with these guys. I thought it would be a great market to tap into, plus I love the music which is a given.”

McCoy himself admits he is surprised with the early success of the project.

“It’s kind of eclipsing the success of everything else we’ve been doing,” admitted band member Chris Byrne.

The Road Hammers’ debut album is a collection of original and classic trucker tunes. The band performed two sold-out shows in Calgary, Alta. before hitting the road and they have been well-received everywhere they’ve performed. The band has already developed a loyal following – including a television crew which is documenting the story for an upcoming reality series on Country Music Television (CMT).

The six-part reality series about the formation of the band debuts Apr. 23 during prime time on CMT and the Road Hammers album hits store shelves on May 10. The band’s own trucker anthem – I’m a Road Hammer – recently debuted in the Top 20 on CMT’s video charts.

“It’s just smoking right along,” McCoy admitted.

The band refers to itself as a “five piece no-nonsense, kick-ass mix of country, southern rock and blues singing songs of maverick culture and the open road.”

For McCoy, the project has been a refreshing vacation from the mainstream music biz.

“I was kind of disillusioned after so many years in the business, thinking the music doesn’t matter anymore, it’s all marketing and all that crap,” McCoy told TruckWest. “But we realized the business was really starving for something that was not only unique, but was real.”

McCoy has also relished the opportunity to stray from his traditional country-music roots.

“I’m the country guy and I never get to rock out this way in my own music,” he chuckled.

Although the project was already well underway when Paul Brandt released the popular trucker tune Convoy, it appeared for a moment the two Canadian country singers were on a collision course.

“When I started this thing, I didn’t know (Brandt) had cut Convoy and he didn’t know I was doing this,” McCoy recalled. “I didn’t want to look like we were copying him and he didn’t want to look like he was scooping us, so he asked me to be in the video wearing a Road Hammers shirt and it all came together.”

Now, the Road Hammers are routinely asked to perform Convoy at their shows. There’s no shortage of other trucking tunes to perform, however, and that’s the beauty of the project, McCoy said.

“Everybody’s got a trucking tune,” he said.

For the band members, a favourite is Hammer Goin’ Down, which is track 11 on the album. Of course, the band is somewhat partial to its own hit, I’m a Road Hammer as well.

“‘Road Hammer’ is a new term and it blankets a lot of things,” explained McCoy. After performing at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the band was off to Nashville for a show and then the next scheduled Canadian date was the Calgary Stampede.

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