Road Hammers featured at Westerner Days

Country rockers The Road Hammers are gearing up to perform during the annual Westerner Days, with a show slated for July 17th. Doors open at 7 p.m. with showtime set for 8 p.m. on the ATB Financial Main Stage.

This is a free concert with gate admission.

Founded by Canadian Country singer/songwriter Jason McCoy in 2004, The Road Hammers’ fired-up shows and blend of ‘southern fried rock and country soul’ have earned them a reputation as one of the highest energy bands in Canadian country.

The idea was born out of McCoy’s desire to develop a project where he could sing a style of music which formed him as an artist, while paying tribute to the men and women who call the highways of the world their home.

The band’s self-titled debut disc was released in 2005, followed by The Roadhammers II in 2009.

Their latest disc, Wheels, was released last year and the energy doesn’t waver for a second, from the scorching opening title track to a superb, rollicking cover of I’ve Been Everywhere.

Mud is pretty tough to resist as well complete with its slamming guitars and impeccable harmonies as is the aptly-titled Hillbilly Highway featuring guest Colt Ford.

McCoy, whose first solo project was released in 2005, found kindred spirits in Clayton Bellamy who hails from Bonnyville, who also provided the soulful fuel that kicks the Hammers into overdrive and Chris Byrne whose high harmonies and solid bass lines are both the foundation and finishing touches which define the sound that is The Road Hammers.

For McCoy, an interest in music came early. At 16, he won a talent contest which took him to Nashville to record an album, and was put in touch with songwriter Ray Griff.

He kept writing, sending his work to MCA Canada which signed him in 1994.

He cut a few songs in Nashville, which landed on a compilation. Some of the tracks charted at radio, and MCA gave the green light for a full-length disc.

Bellamy’s latest solo disc, Five Crow Silver, hosts an array of special guests on the record including Bobby Keys (The Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton), Tom Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) and Garth Hudson (The Band).

Meanwhile, Westerner Days kicks off in Red Deer next month and officials promise this year’s events will include fun for the whole family. Westerner Days takes place July 15th-19th with the annual pancake breakfast at Bower Mall on July 11th. Fair-goers can purchase a Ride All Day pass as well as a MEGA Pass, which is new this year.

The MEGA Pass is a multi-day pass to get patrons into the fair grounds. It does not include rides or parking. Cost for the pass is $30. The Ride All Day pass is $34 and includes gate admission and unlimited midway rides for any one day of the fair. This pass does not include parking.

Both passes will be on sale until July 14th at participating Mac’s and Central Alberta Co-op locations.

Besides The Road Hammers, there are a number of entertainers that will be featured on the main stage in the Centrium including Wide Mouth Mason and Big Sugar on July 15th, The Headpins and Platinum Blonde on July 16th, High Valley on July 17th, and The Boom Chucka Boys, Lindsay Ell and Kira Isabella on July 18th.

All concerts are free of charge with gate admission and seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There is also nightly entertainment in The Ranch which includes Steve Arsenault on July 15th, The Dungarees on July 16th, Dirt Road Angels on July 17th, and Randi Boulton on July 18th. The Aussie Rules Duelling Pianos will also play in the Twisted Tea Saloon from July 15th-18th.

Another new aspect of this year’s Westerner Days will be a Morning of Faith on July 19th – a non-denominational service before the grounds open to the general public.

Guests will also be encouraged to bring a non-perishable donation for the Red Deer and District Food Bank with them to the service.

Continuing the ‘Share the Fair’ program, Westerner Days also offers the opportunity for sick kids to have the experience.

Various entertainers of this year’s event will visit the Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta and the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on July 16th to perform for patients and their families.

As well, for many families, due to financial constraints, they are unable to attend the fair. In 2013, Westerner Park created the ‘We All Play’ program. The program provided 100 families with complimentary admission and parking to Westerner Days.

Passes were distributed through Family Services of Central Alberta to families who would otherwise not be able to attend. Last year the program expanded, and families with Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre will also have the opportunity to take a much needed break from the day-to-day demands of a child with special needs and play.