Western Automatic Music


A candid conversation with Matt Campbell from his show For The People.

With a voice like a freight train soundtracked by the warmest twang, Trevor McSpadden returns to Barmel backed by a full band. Accompanied by Steve Mugalian (Chicago, IL) on drums, Philip McArdle (Athens, GA) on electric guitar, and Tom Ward (San Diego, CA) on bass, the honky tonker promotes dancing, romance and a western spirit. This year, McSpadden released two albums—a collection of crooners titled Let's Fall Together, followed by a live recorded set at San Diego's Grand Ole BBQ. The former lead singer of the Hoyle Brother proves that if 2017's records are a testament to his live shows, attendees will experience plenty of country swinging, contented ears and fluttering hearts.
- Victoria Stoker, Monterey County Weekly, October 2017

Amarillo native Trevor McSpadden moved to Chicago in 2005 expecting his love for old-school honky-tonk to go undernourished, but within a few years he found kindred souls and landed a gig that would launch his career. Between 2008 and 2013 McSpadden served as lead singer for local country institution the Hoyle Brothers, pushing a solid band toward greatness (the combo managed to survive his loss, though his departure has certainly stung). Following a brief stint in Nashville, McSpadden packed his bags for San Diego and just recently dropped his second solo album, The Only Way (Chaparral Street Music). A blast of soulful twang, with frequent Tex-Mex flavors, the record was produced by Pete Anderson, the guy who guided Dwight Yoakam’s sound for many years. It shows again that McSpadden has no interest in reinventing honky-tonk, instead preferring to find new wrinkles deep within the genre—here a crisp rhythm attack in combination with the woozy pedal steel and flanged rhythm guitar of the 70s surrounds his unfussy singing. Most of his songs deal with familiar strains of heartbreak, infidelity, and romantic longing: “His Wedding Ring Is Gone” employs a Hangover-like conceit, with the subject regretfully waking up to realize he’s hawked his wedding ring for a night of drunken sex, while “Write a Song for You” cleverly finds the narrator wagging his finger at an ex, betraying his indifference while singing, “I’ve wasted enough time / Why would I waste a rhyme?”
Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, August 2016

Solid country gold.
- Pepper Daniels
KJUG 98.1 FM
San Luis Obispo, CA

"Ready To Get Hurt Again” jauntily navigates post-heartache terrain with the song’s narrator offering up a tongue-in-cheek assessment of his readiness to love again: “I’m ready to get hurt again/My heart’s been too long on the mend.” The tune pointedly recognizes the risks associated with doggedly pursuing the affections of another (“You roll them dice and keep yourself believing/ That this time you won’t end up black and blue”), a pragmatic acknowledgement that even the sweetest romance can sour.  McSpadden smoothly delivers the infectious (and ultimately hopeful) tune with ease and wit, ensuring that “Ready To Get Hurt Again” will sound heaven-sent to fans of traditional country.
- Goodnight Hestia, April 2016

Want to know the real story?
Have a listen to Trevor's interview on WGN Chicago's "Ubi Est Mea?" podcast.

Don't we all know the feeling. Love found and love lost. Trevor McSpadden puts the bittersweet flavor of these emotions into his country songs. He gives you comfort to mend a broken heart and the promise of something new. "Empty Arms" weeps the watery words, "I still see your face in between the tears," reminding us that we're not alone in feeling lonely. The moody "Better Off Alone" is the chill after the tears, "can't find no one's arms that feel like home, must be something wrong with me that turned my heart to stone." But just when we thought our cold hearts would be jaded forever, "I Just Knew" lights a new flame "you'd barely cleared the doorway when our eyes first met, I held onto the counter as an arrow pierced my breast." Some good ole country crooning awaits you on your rollercoaster of love. Except the rollercoaster is a cozy seat at Barmel. And with McSpadden powering the ride, Cupid just might be sitting next to you.
- Monterey County Weekly, February 2016

All of the tunes put McSpadden’s best attribute forward: his voice.
There is a faint echo of Jones there, but more of a twang,
while he has the same comfort and authority.

San Diego Troubadour, April 2014

Texas-born … singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist Trevor McSpadden
[is] a young crooner whose deep mellow voice
sounds made for the old tunes.

Pollstar, "Chicago's Hidden Country," 9/26/12

Every Friday evening for five years (2008-2013),
Trevor led The Hoyle Brothers through two sets of hard country
at Chicago's legendary Empty Bottle.

The band was nominated as best honky tonk group
at Dale Watson's 2014 Ameripolitan Music Awards.

The Chicago Tribune printed up a lot of kind words about the boys over the years:

This ensemble started playing in un-country places such as indie rock joint
Empty Bottle in 2002. Solid band. Time passed, and the country strains took hold.
The Hoyle Brothers got better, tighter and something magical happened:
the group’s free honky-tonk sets at the Empty Bottle became one of the city’s
musical bargains. Those who go are in for a treat. Honky-tonk, properly played,
has a thump that hits you in the chest, along with a rhythmic drive that makes

your boots get to scooting’. The Hoyles have that... This is one amazing band.
February 14, 2013

The Hoyle Brothers should need no introduction.
This Chicago honky-tonk band's Friday evening dance parties are still going strong,
and the longer they continue, the fewer are the available excuses for not having
kicked up your heels to the beat of a remarkable group. It's country. Oh, yes.
Country music of the most authentic kind. That pedal steel is sweet, almost as sweet
as those vocals when the combo hits full cry. You're not in a Texas roadhouse,

but you might as well be.
January 3, 2013

It's difficult to believe that The Hoyle Brothers are still doing the free Friday gig
at the Empty Bottle, not because it isn't a worthy pursuit,

but rather because every time the ears fall on these local lions
they sound even better, making you wonder why they aren't off doing this for a real living.
Sure. It's honky-tonk. That's country music. Why would I go to see that stuff?
To shuffle your feet and dance around like a crazy person. Duh!
The Hoyles lay down an irresistible beat that swings harder than swollen-necked Sammy Sosa.
March 11, 2011

The Hoyle Brothers bring full-on, beautifully played, authentic honky-tonk.
They're local heroes, to boot. Bring your dancing shoes.

Feburary 18, 2011