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‘Red, White & Bluegrass’ with Spec Hosti & Friends set for Tybee Post Theater

By Linda Sickler/SMN

Welcome to the “twangy-first century.”

On June 2, Michael “Spec” Hosti & Friends will make their first musical appearance at the Tybee Post Theater.

“It’s kind of a big deal to me,” Hosti says. “I grew up down the street from the theater. We used to go to movies there.”

Based on Tybee Island, the band presents both covers and original songs. They add just a bit of rockabilly to classic bluegrass for a style all their own.

“It’s me and the guys in the regular band I play with,” Hosti says. “We play around Savannah. We play North Beach Grill a lot.

“They’re professional musicians. I’ve got a couple more friends I’ve asked to play.

“It’s going to be neat for me,” he says. “It’s probably the first and last time I’ll be asked to play there.”

Hosti is a longtime bluegrass fan.

“We used to ride around and listen to bluegrass when we were younger,” he says. “I got my first guitar at 21.

“When I was about 30 years old, I took up the mandolin and started playing that. A couple of weeks later, I was in a band.

“I’m not a great musician,” Hosti says. “I enjoy singing and wanted to play so I could sing. These guys play with some of the best in the area, as far as I’m concerned.”

Between them, the musicians have more than 100 years of experience.

Hosti plays mandolin and harmonica and writes many of the group’s original songs. He has worked with local bluegrass groups for 45 years.

Bassist Tim Burke has worked as a musician for 43 years, opening for Ted Nugent, Styx, Blake Shelton and many country and bluegrass artists. In his younger years, Burke played in a trio with Tony Arata.

Banjo player Jimmy Wolling has 30 years of experience.

The band’s youngest member is Evan Rose, who plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle. He has toured America with his parents’ bluegrass band, Lonesome Whistle, since he was 8 years old.

All types of music are an inspiration, Hosti says.

“I like country and all genres of music,” he says. “I got caught up in it, I guess.

“I’ve written several original songs. A couple of the songs just tell stories about experiences I’ve had.

“I wrote some when I couldn’t even play,” Hosti says. “When I was a kid, I had a real high voice. I went to St. Michael’s, and the nuns told me I could sing, so I thought I could.”

When Hosti encountered a former classmate 20 years later, the man said, “You’ve finally learned how to sing.”

And sing he will at the Tybee Post Theater.

“It’s going to be great, we’re going to have fun,” Hosti says. “A lot of people there will be family and friends.”

For 38 years, Hosti worked at Fort Pulaski.

“I’ve had a lot of fun doing music,” he says. “Fortunately, I don’t have to make a living at it.”

IF YOU GO

What: Red, White & Bluegrass with Spec Hosti & Friends

When: 8 p.m. June 2

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $18-$22

Info: 912-472-4790, tybeeposttheater.org

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