The Hoyle Brothers News & Views

Now, here's a taste of the real country buzz The Hoyle Brothers have been generating:

October 2010

Our friends down at the Northwest Indiana Times have posted a bit about our performance at the Design Harvest Festival on October 2.  The article is in the movies section.  We think that’s because there’s a lot of visual elements to our show.

For country music fans whose taste runs along the lines of Waylon, Willie and Williams Sr., rather than Sugarland and Swift, Chicago’s Hoyle Brothers are worth seeking out.

August 2010

The Hoyle Brothers got some props from a listener after a recent Empty Bottle gig.  Read the full blog post here.

The Hoyle Brothers honky tonk happy hour: a packed room with $2.50 Shiner Bock on special and a dance instructor giving two step lessons.  Exactly the scene you expect.  Purely joyous, from a band that’s been doing this long enough they don’t have anything to prove.  A drummer singing harmonies who knows the difference between a swing beat and a honky tonk stomp, a guitarist who can soar like a fiddle or snarl like a tenor sax, and a singer with the kind of smoothness that can put anything across.

July 2010

Jim DeRogatis had some kind words for the Hoyle Brothers’ Empty Bottle gig in a recent blog post.  Check it out:

Laced with sublime pedal steel guitar, the Hoyles do honky tonk as well as honky tonk can be done, gamely entertaining requests from fans, mixing classic country covers with their own material, giving a lesson in western swing dancing, and providing a fine soundtrack for unwinding at the start of the weekend.

April 2010

The Hoyle Brothers shared the stage with Robbie Fulks at the Hideout on April 5.  The show featured a selection of obscure country & western tunes from the 1970s.  A good time was had by all!

Time Out Chicago: “Expect some obscure covers tonight as he’s carried through a set of ’70s country by local honky-tonk heavyweights the Hoyle Brothers.”

Underground Bee: “The Hoyle Brothers were a good match with Fulks, and the band’s singer, Trevor, handled the lead vocals on about half of the tunes.”

January 2010

January 22, 2010

Some kind words coming from the press this week…

From the Tribune:

Might as well tell you now, we aren’t going to stop crowing about The Hoyle Brothers until someone says one of two things: “Enough or we’re going to break your legs” or “They’re famous. Are you happy now?”

And the answer will be yes.

Remember that hilarious scene in “The Blues Brothers,” in which the bar owner’s wife says about musical variety: “We have country and western.” That’s the Hoyles. And they’re local. They’re still doing their thing at the Empty Bottle, as one of the most reliably excellent free nights of music that you’ll find. The musicianship is exceptional, and the presentation is sincere. These guys believe in honky-tonk music, and sound like it. It’s authentic but not empty, like so many bands trying to capitalize on things such as swing or rockabilly trends. These cats probably honky tonk for fun, and you need to hear them.

- Kevin Williams

From the Reader:

Though an open-ended weekly gig is good steady work, it makes it easy for audiences to take a band for granted. Chicago’s Hoyle Brothers have been slinging no-nonsense old-school honky-tonk 52 times a year (or close to it) since 2002—first at the Hideout and then at the Empty Bottle, where for a spell they played not just every Friday but every Sunday—but sometimes I wish it were harder to see them, if only so more people might treat them like something special. Last spring they put out their third self-released album, Don’t Leave Yet, a collection of sturdy original tunes (and a cover of Waylon Jennings’s “Anita, You’re Dreaming”) whose crisp, twangy grooves are embellished by liquid pedal steel and woozy Dobro. Their sound reminds me a bit of the early output of Nashville’s BR549, from before their headlong lunge at the mainstream, and though the Hoyles’ own material would be DOA in Music City, it does just fine as the soundtrack for a happy hour at the end of the work week.

- Peter Margasak

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year friends!

The Chicago Tribune recommends you check out The Hoyle Brothers as soon as possible.  Read on…

The best thing about the holidays is that nobody wants to go anywhere. Bands don’t tour very much, you want to hang with family and it’s cold anyway.

This means that local rules.

This city is in possession of a treasure, one that you should feel guilty for not having indulged in (unless you already have): The Hoyle Brothers. It will be eight years that this quintet (not brothers, by the by) has been doing its honky-tonk thing at the Empty Bottle. And you know what? It’s still free. As in no money. As in you should be ashamed of yourself for not going — because it’s free.

But even if it weren’t free, you should be ashamed of yourself for not going, because one thing that a city needs to do is supports its local arts gems — like the Hoyle Brothers.

For the unfamiliar, honky-tonk is country music, but with an unassailable purity that the Hoyles have mastered. No pop stuff, no slick sport-utility vehicles, just twang. The group — Lance Helgeson, Steve Doyle, Brian Wilkie, Josh Piet, Trevor McSpadden — has a record that came out in 2009, “Don’t Leave Yet,” that is its best one yet. You get more of a taste of what the group is like in the live setting, the pace, drive and swing that make everyone who talks about this band use the same word: real.

Best of all, you have no excuses. It’s the holidays, you’re tapped out thanks to Christmas and booze, so you’re probably looking for something really cool to do. So fire up the computer, and get a little Hoyle sample, at It will take care of your last excuse for not hearing this band’s beautifully played, butter-smooth country that goes down like one of those preternaturally tasty pedal steel licks from Wilkie.

We should warn you: If your idea of country is that pop stuff, leave those perceptions at home. Now go have fun.

December 2009

December 30, 2009

A Chicago blogger has some kind words to say about The Hoyle Brothers as he wraps up his favorites from 2009…

Best Live Music Show:
The Hoyle Brothers – True honky tonk country. Covers and originals. They play Happy Hour every Friday at the Empty Bottle from 5:30 – 7:30. I always being my Texas friends and they always give a seal of approval. And you can request songs they don’t play and they’ll give it a go. “Streets of Bakerfields” for example. Twice. Nice guys too.

December 7, 2009

Rock for Kids and The Hoyle Brothers have teamed up to promote music education among Chicago’s underserved children with the release of The Hoyle Brothers’ “Home For The Holidays” EP.

“We’re delighted to partner with The Hoyle Brothers and raise funds for our music education program,” says Maria Mowbray, Executive Director of Rock For Kids, a non-profit that provides free, year-round music education for children in need. “This partnership will help us meet our goal of expanding our music education offerings in 2010 and beyond.”

Through the partnership, The Hoyle Brothers will donate 75 percent of the proceeds from online downloads of “Home For The Holidays” songs to Rock For Kids through December 31, 2009. The donation amounts to 53 cents for individual tracks (75 percent of the 70 cents the band receives. The remaining portion goes to online distributor, CD Baby, for hosting expenses). The three-song holiday EP is available for downloads at CD Baby.

“We try to do something every year to show our appreciation for the ongoing support Chicago gives The Hoyle Brothers,” says Trevor McSpadden, lead singer for the band. “Rock For Kids is a perfect fit. The organization promotes music as a source of lifelong inspiration and fun, just as it’s been for all of us.”

December 1, 2009

A couple of months back, The Hoyle Brothers recorded a few holiday-themed tunes in preparation for this Christmas season.  We tracked a snappy little shuffle of Stevie’s called “The Only Thing I Want For Christmas.”  Once we heard the playback, we knew it was a sure-fire winner.  The song has gone on to become a finalist in the Chicago Tribune’s “New Holiday Classics” contest.  So hit the Tribune’s website and vote for us!  We are #8 on the ballot.  Make sure to give the tune a listen through the YouTube video on their page.  It’s a sweet little song and we hope you dig it.  If you’re so inclined, please spread the word!

September 2009

The Hoyle Brothers are a learned bunch of musicians, and on Fridays they go interdisciplinary with a happy-hour residency at the Empty Bottle. Listen (and drink, of course) as the Chicago natives break out the steel-guitar lines to pay their respects to country kings Hank Williams and Ray Price. This twangy two-steppin’ heartbreak is available weekly, free of charge.

– Sabrina Jaszi,

May 2009

Our new record is out and the reviews are very positive!  Take a look at this one… it’s the first time we’ve received a review that used the word “defecating.”  We’re pretty sure it’s meant in a good way.


March 2009

Take a look at this recent blog post.  It’s a good overview of country music’s history in Chicago, as well as a nice plug for our Friday shows.  We’re pleased to be doing our part in keeping country music alive in the big city!

February 2009

Here’s a nice write-up from a blogger that feels lucky the Hoyle Brothers are providing Chicago with quality entertainment every Friday.  We hope you agree!


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