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The Road Hammers

The Road Hammers – 2005 (Airstrip Music)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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CDs by The Road Hammers

Inspired by classic trucking music, Canadian Jason McCoy formed The RoadHammers with Clayton Bellamy and Chris Byrne and cut a debut devoted to that genre. An entire album focused on trucking songs runs the risk of repetitiveness, but the band largely avoids the problem by varying tone and tempo.

Some songs most obviously "Overdrive" and "The Hammer Goin' Down" dodrift towards clich+, but others, like "Willin'" and "Girl on the Billboard" are elevated by better writing. In "Keep on Truckin'" and "Call It A Day," trucking is an ideal metaphor for problems familiar to anyone who works too much and lives too little. A cover of classic "East Bound and Down" respects the original while stamping it with a country rock edge. Odd track choices mar some parts of the album. Mildly funny once, the outtakes in "Flat Tires" aren't worth hearing every time the album is played. The extended version of "I'm a Road Hammer" is too similar to justify the revisit. Inexplicably, the final track is five seconds of silence.

Despite the flawed choice of extra material, the album holds some surprisingly shiny gems. Grab this one for the diamonds, and skip the rough.