Hosty Duo
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Hosty Duo

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"Drum Picks Album Review: Hosty: Live in Denver……Drum Magazine"

Music: This is the easy part. Like a hungrier, crustier George Thorogood, Hosty plays lovingly raw blues that showcases greasy slide guitar at its centerpiece. Now here comes the tough part – Hosty is the one man band alter ego of Michael Hosty from Norman, Oklahoma, who writes in his cryptic correspondence that he had no alternative but to tour as a One man Band: “My drummer broke his Leg and I had no choice.”
Drumming: One can understand why a drummer might resort to faking a fracture to leave a band that requires little more than the “boom-chucka-boom” all night long. But in the context of hosty, such a hardscrabble drumming is a masterpiece of invention. You forgive and even adore when the bass and snare slur the tempo. After all, Hosty covers those parts with his feet while playing the bass and guitar with his hands and soloing on the harmonica with his mouth. WOW.
Verdict: in the most sweaty, beer drenched, wacky sense, this CD Rocks

Drum Magazine September 2002

- Drum magazine


"Rockn’ Red Dirt hosty Live in Denver…………..Urban Tulsa Magazine"

Solo performers in small venues are known to do strange things. Some will employ an electronic backing band on a sampler while they sit and play guitar. Others might attempt to play two instruments at once. But Norman OK’s Mike Hosty must be one of the most inventive. While his drummer was recuperating from a broken femur, Hosty traveled the southwest playing solo gigs, performing on guitar with additional bass strings, pound a drum with his feet and using his mouth to sing and play the kazoo. The result was truly an unusual live album, Hosty Live in Denver.
No doubt that it takes coordination and natural rhythm for a musician to tackle a drumbeat, a bass line and a guitar fills at once. But it takes raw feel for the blues to come up with a gritty, red dirt sound like Hosty’s.
Driven by thick slide riffs and thumpy rhythms, Live in Denver is a sweaty, tooth and nail hike through the woods of roots music. Hosty’s gruff vocals accent the dementia of Dark Country Tales like “the Devil sent me you” and “Dead and Gone.” The most interesting moment is a stream of conscious cover of “She Said”, in which Hosty rambles with gusty musical vigor.
After hearing this record, one can’t help but picture this devoted picker perched in a dimly lit Denver bar, guitar/bass in grasp, drum at foot and kazoo in to mouth. It must have been a heck of a show

Joseph Felzke Urban Tulsa Magazine September 2002
- Urban Tulsa Weekly


"Billy Block’s Western Beat Monthly -May 2003 Edition"

Out of Norman, Oklahoma, witty guitar guru Hosty and his side kick, two piece drummer, Michael “Tic Tac” Byars, entertain as the Hosty Duo with a tour schedule of 250 shows a year. Hosty simultaneously tears through gritty slide leads, blows harmonica and or Kazoo and uses foot pedals to stomp bass lines. His guitar collection includes an 8 string instrument that allows him to thump three bass strings with his thumb while he fingerpicks guitar. The Hosty Duo has developed a huge underground following of bikers, sorority gals, hippies and truckers.” - Billy Block's Western Beat


"Exile on White Street Exile on White Street "

Exile on White Street

Since the Hosty Trio’s untimely (or timely…depending on who you ask) demise, Hosty has kept pretty busy without releasing a true Duo album. Sure, there was the incredible Hosty solo project “Live in Denver” and then there was last year’s “Golden Country Greats” which, when you get right down to it, was a sampler of Hosty tracks (released and unreleased) from the last Hosty Trio CD “Ten Pound Hammer: One Too Heavy.” It also featured a couple of live cuts of unrecorded songs (“Wrote You a Letter” and “Save Some Love”) and a few new studio tracks (“Johnny Cash,” “Applesause,” “Tiki Lounge” and the arena rocker “Molokai Cowboy”).
The long and the short of it is, as fun as “Golden Country Greats” may very well be, the Hosty Duo have not had a proper CD to call their own. That is, of course, until now.
Coming in a cardboard sleeve that reminds one of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s similar cover art for their “Strictly Personal” album, the Hosty Duo’s eponymous second CD is nothing short of amazing. Running through just about every possible type of music you would expect from the Hosty Duo (and a few unexpected styles thrown in for good measure), the CD feels like an eighteen track, 70 plus minute release of something that has been bottled up for quite some time. Sprawling, eclectic and both sloppy and ingeniously controlled, it is to the Hosty Duo what “Exile on Main Street” is to the Rolling Stones.
On “Hosty Duo” guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Hosty and his trusty, half man/half Swiss watch of a drummer Mike Byars (a.k.a. Tic-Tac III), give the listener something more than the usual set of songs that they can replicate on any given night at the Deli. “Hosty Duo” seems awful, gulp, mature.
Less a CD full of tunes that are tailor made for live gigs, it seems that here, Hosty and Tic-Tac have decided to throw up their hands and use the studio to their best advantage. The Hosty Duo serves up tunes like the truly bizarre “The Circus is Coming, Coming, Coming,” the late summer-night lament “Loving You” and the gutbucket chicken wire trucker ode “Fried Pie” all of which would lose something if translated to the stage. Although, I could be wrong about this assessment as I saw them do a version of the mechanical pop anthem “In the Future all Music Will be Made by Robots” that pert near tore the ass out of the Deli. And here I thought that there would be no way they could pull it off on stage.
But if I’m right about the rest of it, it means that the Hosty Duo is becoming a more comfortable studio band. Worry not, they’ll always be a wicked live band. It’s beneficial that they peppered the CD with guest appearances by ex-Mama Sweet (and current Ills) bassist Boyd Littel, Eric Harmon and Blain Nelson on percussion, Ryan Jones whose accordion on “Give Me Some” adds a tasty flavor to the tune and an uncredited appearance by Starlight Mints drummer Andy Nunez. It’s also nice that they threw caution to the wind and added a few studio effects here and there. More than any other Hosty album, this one has a truly multi-layered sound.
Even with all of that said, there are still more than enough traces of the Hosty of old to keep the world happy. He keeps his love for the marginalized truck stop and state fair subculture alive with the aforementioned “Fried Pie,” “Flamingo,” (a tropical homage to lawn ornaments) and, most importantly, “Fraidy Hole,” Hosty’s tip of the hat to tornado season and the wild madness that comes with it. He even gets to play raconteur with the hilarious, 9 minute epic “The Ballad of Ol’ Blue,” a song made more poignant as, at this writing, Ol’ Blue looks about ready for the ol’ boneyard.
And Hosty is still able to throw off an effortless beauty that fits right in. “The Only Thing,” “Let’s Get Tall” and “Country Boy” have the familiar feel of an old friend coming to visit. And the even-handed and skillful mix of the wistful, the sentimental and the oddly humorous details causes “Oklahoma Breakdown” to rank alongside “James Brown,” “Silent Me,” “Wrote You a Letter” and “Corndog” as one of Hosty’s best written songs.
At the end of it all, though, it is Hosty and Tic-Tac and their ability to surprise and survive after the many years of highs and lows that is truly inspirational. A year or so ago, I said that I thought that I’d never hear a better CD from Hosty than the Trio’s magnum opus, “Wigtrig.” Five years after the release of that CD, I am proven wrong. And, in this case, it’s nice to be shown that I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.
- Loud Magazine


"Hosty Duo are freakin' awesome "



The most refreshing thing about the Hosty Duo's set Saturday night at John Barleycorn's was not the fine musicianship of Mike Hosty and drummer Tic-Tac III a.k.a. Tic-Tac (born Mike Byars with impeccable Swiss timing), or the long line of songs so fine that they should be bottled and stacked in a cellar somewhere but, plainly, simply, how good it was.
Hosty's fine, fine guitar lines are one part Roy Buchanan, one part Lowell George (Little Feat) with a sprinkle of Waylon Jennings sprinkled here and there for an extra dash of flavor. He also proved, during heartfelt versions of songs such as "Johnny Cash," that although he can blaze brave new trails with pick, fingers and ax, his main musical concern is adding rich melodic textures that enhance the song not just bits that will senselessly thrust solos into the spotlight and blow the whole damn machine apart.
It's also refreshing to hear a lyricist who can write songs about those on the fringe without blistering irony, such as the protagonist in "Applesauce," whose toothless gal will make you sing, or the loser in love who meets his love in a "Truck Stop Shower Stall" and almost convinces you that it was a good time, despite losing everything. Not that Hosty doesn't have his edges, which he proved on "I Will Work For Booty" and "Fraidy Hole." (The latter, a delicious paean to tornado bait, could conceivably become a seasonal hit in these parts. Or not.)
Hosty writes the kind of songs that should be on the radio, the kind of songs that can be passed from one generation to the next, songs that are timeless, universal. Sure, there's always the hope that the duo will burst forth from their home in Norman, Okla. and burn up the FM dial. But if that doesn't happen, if Hosty and Byars continue to play primarily twixt OKC and the ICT, we'll at least be able to share in the wealth of their talents.
Here's to the return of the Hosty Duo.
- February 19, 2004 F5 Wichita, Kansas by Jedd Beaudoin jbeaudoin@f5wichita.com


Discography

Silvatones "Silvatone" 1993
Heater "Heater" 1994
Heater "Burn One" 1995
Mike Hosty Trio "Volume" 1996
Mike Hosty Trio "Gusto" 1997
Mike Hosty Trio "3" 1998
Hosty Trio "Wig Trig" 1999
Hosty Trio "Ten Pound Hammer" 2000
Mike Hosty "Anthology" 2000
Hosty Solo "Live in Denver 2002
Hosty Duo "Golden Country Hits" 2003
Hosty Duo "Hosty Duo"2004
Hosty "One Man Band Live Part I" 2006
Hosty "One Man Band Live Part II" 2006

Photos

Bio

If, around 1972, Little Feat’s late, great resident guitarist would have decided to fire Roy Estrada and Bill Payne and kept going with only drummer Richard Hayward, they probably would have sounded like the Hosty Duo.
A wild blend of blues, country, rock, Dixieland, gospel and Rock-a-Billy, guitarist Mike Hosty and Drummer extraordinaire Mike Byars (aka Tic Tac) prove nothing short of Oklahoma originals.
Despite the fact that Hosty is probably one of Oklahoma’s finest guitarist, the comparisons to Lowell George don’t stop at his instrument of choice, however, Hosty also maintains a surreal songwriting style that can fluctuate between a tale of a Cleveland County Drug bust and a heart felt ballad without sounding smug or sappy on either.
In a way, Hosty also resembles Dan Hicks, what with his droll, wry stage delivery and all. From his comparisons of his set list to the Kama Sutra to his lamentations on the demise of moonshine stills for meth labs, Hosty is that type of artist who could be doing double duty with a newspaper column. Of course he he’s probably happy right where he is, as his day job and his web site give him plenty of material, time, space to experience and write about anything and everything he pleasures.
Of course the Hosty Duo would be nothing ( well not nothing, just Hosty) without Mike Byars who makes economical drumming look so easy. With his locomotive like momentum he makes Hosty’s Slide guitar and path bass plucking (played on a wicked bass/guitar hybrid) rock like hell.
Hosty also showed that he and only one other person could brilliantly pull off a strong, creative authority. If they can do it at all, it takes other blues rock bands four or five people to get it right.
If goes without saying that only a person with a true heart of stone could dislike a band that plays kazoo and a washboard, performs weird o trucker anthems and odes to the impure thoughts of Linda Cavanaugh. Since they can be found playing almost every weekend, it shouldn’t be a task for one to find some time to kick back and relax with the Hosty duo. Go for a CD, shirt or hi-larious road tale, check out www.hosty.com and then go to a venue near you. Go get swallowed up in their Glorious, country blues rock soaked strangeness. Mike and tic Tac the Third will love you for it.

Patrick Crain Loud Magazine March 5, 2003