The Illinois-based Hoyle Brothers have conjured the beer-stained atmosphere of a Texas honky-tonk on this baker's dozen of steel guitar driven ditties. Featuring a traditional country line-up and some contemporary lyric ideas, the snappy quintet successfully communicates their retro sounds to a modern audience.
The versatile combo, featuring pedal steel player Brian Wilkie, lead guitarist Steve Doyle, bassist Josh Piet, and drummer Lance Hegeson, are at their hook song best channeling the Dave Dudley and Del Reeves truck drivin' beat on "Gotta Get Up," "Bottom of This" and "That's All You Got." The classic Bakersfield Sound of Haggard and Owens get a nod with the up tempo barroom lament "Same Old Saw" and the life-affirming "Not for Nothing."
Recording in Texas, the Hoyle Brothers achieved a smart cowboy jazz sound that placed Wilkie's steel up-front on such danceable numbers as "I'm Walking Slow (And Thinking About Her)," "Friday" (featuring Hot Club of Cowtown's Elana Fremerman) and the delightful instrumental "Hoyle Shuffle."
Some ballads are dragged down by plummy vocals. However, the high quality musicianship and zippy songwriting on the shuffles - exemplified by the high tech-allusions of "Big Dumb John" - provide everything required for a very entertaining album. (The Hoyle Brothers)