A Man and a Band: Mike Hosty

Since coming here at the age of four, Mike Hosty has fully embraced what Oklahoma City has to offer. Hosty’s father working near downtown put him in the perfect place to join the music scene. At the time acts like Oklahoma’s own The GAP Band were what everyone was listening to. This early exposure to R&B, Jazz, and funk music would encourage Hosty’s developing musical palette.

Spurred by a need to recover from a complicatedly broken arm as a youth Hosty picked up the guitar as a way of regaining some of his dexterity. This would be the first of several instruments for him.

Joe Bob Nelson’s style of instruction was not exactly what the young Hosty had in mind. Nelson exclusively taught his students finger-playing of the guitar, while all the rockers of the time played with picks.

These early lessons were only the start of Hosty’s unique musical skill set that would later allow him to stand out on the Oklahoma music scene. Still to this day Hosty uses the same Mel Bay’s guitar book to teach his own music students that Nelson used.

When asked about his writing process Hosty had this to say, “I just like listening… Really songwriting is storytelling.” Observations and interactions have often been some of his greatest inspirations. For Hosty, a good story is at the center of writing.

A tornado some years ago proved a catalyst of creation for Hosty. With a warning issued for Norman and Hosty’s town Moore, a group gathered to monitor the storm’s progress on the tv. Just then an eerie elderly man turned to Hosty and said, “better get in your fraidy hole.”

Hosty was understandably taken aback by the old man’s words, “It was really like something out of a David Lynch movie, he turned around and looked at me. I wrote it down immediately.” Something about this one-off encounter stayed with him, “I didn’t write the song immediately, but I had the phrase and sometimes that’s all you need, you just need a little spark and then it ignites, and you get ablaze.” These words would later be worked into the quirky folk-rock song “Fraidy Hole” and provide its title.

Growing up Hosty was a big fan of Willie Nelson and this affinity melded with his father’s love of jazz. And, like many other kids, television was how he occupied a lot of his time. Soult Train, Kung Fu, and Hee Haw each left their marks on Hosty that he feels have contributed to his music.

“A genre of one” is a description and nickname Hosty takes pride in. Per his definition, this is an artist that may not fit neatly into an established category. Rather than being limited by other people’s understanding of his work he goes places musically that make sense to him and the stories he wants to tell, “The best description of my music is my name Hosty because when you say it you know what it is, and that’s the true goal of every artist I think.”

When it comes to guitarists, Hosty appreciates innovators like Django Reinhardt and T-Bone Walker. Walker’s song “Dirty Mistreater” in particular was one of the first songs he cut his teeth on with the guitar.

Hosty’s song “Oklahoma Breakdown” was inspired by another one-man-band Doctor Ross and the song “Chicago Breakdown.” Hosty described the song as follows, “a breakdown is a dance like a boogie or a swing.” Listening it’s easy to envision a bar full of Hosty fans singing and swaying along.

In his song “Sunshine” Hosty had the chance to explore his love of reggae music. He is excited that his new album has been a continuation of that love and an opportunity to collaborate with the late drummer Jamie Oldaker who previously worked with Eric Clapton on hits like “I Shot the Sheriff.”

The song “Bring Me Your Body” is a unique entry in the Hosty catalog with its relaxed Sunday afternoon easy R&B groove. Groups like Atlantic Starr informed his appreciation for techno R&B.

Working with the former Jackson Five bass player Mike McKinney in a funk band gave Hosty the opportunity to mix styles to create new material. That and his experience performing with the band, which included choreography, would years later lead to the birth of “Bring Me Your Body.”

Hosty, discussing his journey with music up till now put it simply “one step at a time.” He also is enthusiastic about being in front of live audiences again, and new projects. Hosty is the subject of an upcoming documentary titled Oklahoma Breakdown. The film will have a world premiere at the Phoenix Film Festival on April 8th and will later be at festivals all over the country.

In a final call to action Hosty encourages everyone to go see musicians, “Music listeners inspire music makers.” He celebrates the power audiences have in the creative process.

By Published On: April 28th, 2022Categories: Local Music0 Comments

About the Author: Xavier Jackson

Xavier Jackson
Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Xavier received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism with minors in Media Studies and Theatre in 2014. Xavier is an active member of the Oklahoma City community with memberships in several civic groups and consistent volunteer work. In his free time, Xavier loves spending time exploring different cultures and foods. He is passionate about the beautiful diversity of OKC.

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