Guitarist extraordinaire, songwriter of many insights, droll but wry vocalist, pedal bass player, one-man-band drummer and between-song-patter-and-joke specialist Mike Hosty has been playing bars and multiple genre events around Oklahoma City since 1990. Around 1995, he teamed up with drummer Mike Byars to form the Hosty Duo, one of Oklahoma’s most cherished contemporary live music acts for fans of blues, rock, hilarious songs that often reference the state, and music that can bound from polka and disco to country and right back to rock in the span of a two-minute Hosty spiel in between tunes during a show. While he has received some national and regional attention (a song made it on Jimmy Kimmel, his “Molokai Cowboy” is a hit in Hawaii, and his “Oklahoma Breakdown” notched Stoney LaRue a #1 spot on the Texas Music Chart for April, 2007 – and becoming that chart’s #1 song for the year), Mike Hosty toils on a constant basis through the college towns and other appreciative spots he has developed through consistent touring in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
“Making music in Oklahoma is part of our identity. I am extremely fortunate to be a part of the Oklahoma Music Scene and traveling out of state to play for Okies who have moved. The greatest compliment is ‘Your music reminds me of home’ and Home is Oklahoma,” said Hosty.
Often, Hosty tours with Byars on Hosty albums, who provides a steady, hypnotic, beat on a stripped down kit of kick drum, snare, high hat and ride cymbal. Byars is ready to take any turn with Hosty, able to provide a perfectly metered disco beat, a boom-chuck cowboy beat, a hard-driving blues-rock pulse, or the tougher rhythms of off-beat polka or reggae, not to mention the often-needed rim shot to accent Hosty jokes. When Byars is not present, Hosty keeps his foot-pedal bass in the truck and unpacks his own one-man band drum set, with kick, snare, hat and tambourine all controlled by Hosty as he keeps time for himself. Both are superbly entertaining versions of Hosty-time, revered by the fans who go to shows, calling out the names of their favorite songs, and singing along loudly to choruses (verses often change on the spot). The most regular fans of Hosty’s antics show up like they are on a pilgrimage every Sunday night for his long-time weekly performances at The Deli in Norman.
Hosty’s albums are musical journeys through corn mazes of the wildly imaginative singer/songwriter’s mind and unique lens through which he views society, especially in Oklahoma. Hosty released two live discs in 2006 with many of his best-known songs as fans are used to hearing them, in a live environment, along with some new favorites developed to that point. With a qsuick wit as close to Groucho Marx as you might find alive today, Mike Hosty’s songs are intrinsically Oklahoman yet transcend their local connections into broad-based and humorous insights into society, his in-between song banter and jokes with instrumental examples are tear-inducing funny, and his musical skill is parallel to any others in the blues-rock world playing the stages of the Oklahoma in the current era.
“When people think of Oklahoma, music and musicians are the first to come to mind. Reba, Vince, Garth and the Flaming Lips are just the tip of the iceberg. (John) Fulbright, (Parker) Milsap, (John) Moreland are carrying the standard ahead. Music is one of our greatest natural resources,” said Hosty.
For more information, please visit Mike Hosty’s listing in the Oklahoma Music Directory.