Musical fate came knocking recently for singer Travis Hosette of Clinton.

Well-known Quad Cities bandleader Josh Duffee needed a quick substitute for a big-band singer who had to bow out of upcoming concerts in Muscatine, Sterling and Moline. Hosette — a 46-year-old crooner who loves singing songs made famous by Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) — fit the bill.

Travis Hosette in a video performance of “That’s Life.”

Jason Richards, who was originally scheduled to sing with Duffee’s big band, unfortunately had to back out due to a serious health issue with his father. “Family comes first, and Jason needed to be with his father,” Duffee said Friday.

“I had heard Travis’ name being circulated here in the Quad-City area as being a wonderful Sinatra-style vocalist. I had seen clips of him performing on YouTube, and I was very impressed with his vocals, stage presence, and enthusiasm for singing songs from the Great American Songbook,” the drummer and bandleader said.

“I’m really, really looking forward to having Travis sing with my big band on Monday in Muscatine, and Thursday in Moline. My jazz quintet will be performing with Travis and the Sterling Municipal Symphony Band in Sterling on Wednesday evening.”

Josh Duffee is a well-known area drummer and bandleader.

The free shows are:

  • Monday, Aug. 1 — Jackson Concert Series at Wesley United Methodist Church, 400 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Full 15-piece big band with vocalist.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3 — Sterling Municipal Symphony Band at Grandon Civic Center, 212 E. 4th Street, Sterling, Ill. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Duffee’s jazz quintet will join the full concert band during the special Frank Sinatra arrangements.
  • Thursday, Aug. 4 — Bass Street Landing Summer Concert Series, 1601 River Drive, Moline. Performance begins at 7 p.m. Full big band with vocalist, and, if the weather is good, Duffee will be performing on Louie Bellson’s drum set.

This will be the first time Hosette has sung with Duffee’s band.

“This is like a spur-of-the-moment thing because I guess his main singer couldn’t make it. So he just he just heard about me somehow,” he said this week. “So it’ll be interesting because I’m just going to jump right into it. Hopefully, it goes pretty smooth.”

“I’m happy that Josh got a hold of me because hopefully it will lead into something more in the future,” Hosette said. “I have always wanted to be with a live band but I know for sure in this day and age, it’s kind of hard to get an orchestra together.”

Fell in love with the classics

Hosette is a native of the small eastern Iowa town of Charlotte, and went to high school in Goose Lake. He first got into the big-band style of music in 1994, when he first heard Harry Connick, Jr. on the soundtrack of the Jim Carrey movie “The Mask.”

Hosette, 46, has lived in Clinton for two decades.

“I remember watching that movie and I thought that the music was great. It just kind of had that big band swing,” he said recently. “I just fell in love with it – the voice and the big band sound of it.”

Hosette studied radio broadcasting at the old American Institute of Commerce in Davenport for a year, and has lived in Clinton for 20 years, working mainly the mental health field.

He currently works as a job coach for Imagine the Possibilities (with locations in Clinton, Maquoketa and DeWitt), which works with people with special needs. The group’s Employment Services training has successfully placed many individuals at work sites in many Iowa communities.

Hosette has done the Sinatra-themed gigs for 20 years, throughout eastern Iowa, western Illinois, and as far as Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati. He typically sings to pre-recorded tracks, and does a lot of private functions, like business parties and wedding receptions.

 “I love Sinatra and I want to pay homage to Sinatra, but in my opinion, there’s only one Sinatra, right?” he said. “So I’m going to pay homage to him and to pay homage to the to the Great American Songbook.”

Not a literal imitation

Hosette said her doesn’t literally try to look and sound like the Chairman of the Board (such as with a cigarette, martini and fedora), but he does wear a suit.

“You have to wear the suit. I mean I just love the music and I was hoping that I could when I first started singing and I thought this would be great, if I could just sing this for the generations that grew up with it and try to introduce it to younger people and try to just keep it alive,” he said.

Hosette will sing at free concerts Monday in Muscatine, Wednesday in Sterling and Thursday in Moline.

The music Sinatra sang (including “My Way,” “That’s Life,” “When Somebody Loves You,” “New York, New York” and “All of Me,” just to name a few) is timeless, Hosette said.

“I think it spans generations ‘cause when I’m singing at the winery, it’s like 25-year-olds to 80-year-olds,” he said, noting he’s performed at Wide River Winery in Clinton and LeClaire. 

He is quick to say he is not a Sinatra imitator. “I like to think of myself as paying homage to a great performer and keeping his music alive, but I try to be myself and sing his songs,” Hosette said.

Many people appreciate his devotion and passion. A recent review on Facebook said: “Travis Hosette not only captured our attention but tugged at our hearts!!! His immense vocals STRIKINGLY reflect Sinatra. His charming ways while engaging with the crowd was prevalent! He is DEFINITIVELY easy on the eyes. I know Frank is smiling down on him.”

To hear Hosette sing, click HERE.