CCMA Group of the Year, The Road Hammers recently released the latest single from their current album The Squeeze, a one-take cover of California folk rockers Dawes’ “All Your Favourite Bands,” featuring guitarist Clayton Bellamy on lead vocals. As the only ballad from The Squeeze, the track showcases the band’s more intimate side as well as their vocal harmonies.
“All Your Favourite Bands” follows the previous singles from The Squeeze released over the past year, “Crazy About You” and “Your Love Is The Drug,” which have helped cement The Road Hammers’ status as the highest selling Canadian country band in history.
The Squeeze epitomizes the band’s distinctive blend of classic rock meets country. Co-produced by Gavin Brown (Metric, The Tragically Hip, Barenaked Ladies), Scott Baggett (Alison Krauss, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt), Jason McCoy, and David Kalmusky, the album shows The Road Hammers are willing to embrace artistic growth to stay in it for the long haul.
We caught up with Jason McCoy and Clayton Bellamy as the band gets ready for another busy year. You can keep track of their movements at theroadhammers.com
Your new single is a great cover of Dawes’ “All Your Favourite Bands.” How did you become attached to that track?
Clayton Bellamy: Honestly, it reminded me right away of a friend of mine from school who had passed away. It made me think about all the times we spent together and how life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned, but no matter what happens you still wish the best for the ones you love and hold on to the times you shared.
Your latest album The Squeeze seemed a big creative step forward (as proven by your CCMA win for Group of the Year). Do you feel you achieved what you set out to do with that record?
Jason McCoy: Absolutely, but without planning it, in a way. We always shoot for the best songs first and foremost, but this time we let ourselves stretch out a bit on the subject matter. Even though it wasn’t a conscious decision per se, it filled a lot of goals we didn’t necessarily know we had.
The band’s been together for over a decade now, and you’re acknowledged as the highest selling Canadian country band of all time. Did you ever think during the early days that it would become this big?
Jason McCoy: The band was only ever going to be a one-off concept album—Travelling Wilburys-style. It just hit bigger than any of us realized. And that is 100 percent due to the fans. They put us on top, and they’re the ones that have kept us there. It’s humbling, and it is inspiring us to want to keep making the best music every time out
What do you recall about your first time performing in public?
Jason McCoy: I was 10 years old, it was a small hall festival in Minesing, Ontario, I had my dad’s guitar, and I sang George Jones “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me Her Memory Will.” It was a community centre event, and a lot of kids in my school were there. I was nervous they wouldn’t be into country, but they thought it was cool I was able to do that, and the girls started paying more attention to me. So, of course, I was hooked!
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
Jason McCoy: Of the older songs, I wish I’d written something like “On The Other Hand,” by Randy Travis. Regarding newer stuff, probably “People Are Crazy,” by Billy Currington. I’ve always loved story songs that just feel natural without trying too hard. Those are good country songs.