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Mama Sweet brings hip country/rock hybrid to Oklahoma City



Although the Norman trio has been playing decidedly red dirt-flavored rock since 2003, Mama Sweet's signature sound might not be intentional. 

"If you told our guitarist Alan Orebaugh we're a country band, I don't think he'd agree," said Aron Holt, front man for the Norman-based band which also includes bassist Boyd Littell and drummer Giovanni Carnuccio.

Holt didn't: "I'm a singer/songwriter who gets to sing in a rock band," he said. "It'll always come out a little country because we grew up listening to that. Guess it was just inevitable."

One benefit of this amalgam is that the act's hard-to-categorize sound has attracted a wide variety of fans, eager to absorb its Oklahoman vibe " a sound so Sooner that it caught the ears of celebrated local "Okie Noodling" filmmaker Bradley Beesley, who last month tapped the group to provide live music for the film's accompanying annual hand-fishing tournament in Pauls Valley.

"He's our friend and asked us to help out. Normally there are more acts, but this year it was just us because Brad was debuting 'Okie Noodling II' at the tournament," Holt said.

Mama Sweet performed for a tournament crowd of 2,500 as the sun set. Then after a screening of the new documentary sequel, the band took the stage and rocked again.

The group spent the majority of its summer performing at festivals like the Illinois River Jam in Tahlequah, Tulsa's Dfest and others throughout the state " a progressively busy show schedule Holt said the band only recently was able to book.

"We've been trying to get on some of these bills for a long time," he said. "This year, things have really come together for us."

 From a small cadre of hard-core fans, Mama Sweet has steadily ascended the ranks, playing club shows from Austin, Texas, to Springfield, Mo.

"Once, we made the 12-hour round trip to Momo's (in Austin) for a 45-minute set that netted us 40 bucks," Holt said. "It's crazy, but I'd do it again because there are so many other bands that would play there for a 20-minute slot."

Mama Sweet's persistence and word-of-mouth marketing are netting success on red dirt Internet radio stations and record stores in Texas, Holt said, and the band has started work on a follow-up to "Welcome to the Well," its 2006 release.

"We're not that far along, but we're still selling the first one and don't want to get in a hurry," he said. "We may do an 11-song live EP to raise money for the next studio album." "Doug Hill

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