And when the duo is matched with the rhythm section of Boyd Littel on bass and Giovanni Carnuccio on drums you can’t help but feel like that coyote, howling at his muse, the moon. Mama Sweet first began as a fellowship of the love of a good song. A love of how those vibrations, when paired and curved just right, can make you forget everything and just simply understand each other. From that love, and the drawing power of Holt’s mother’s sweet tea, was born a brotherhood. So began Mama Sweet. After playing together in a previous band, the Blue Collar Cartel, Holt and Orebaugh were soon complimented with the skills of two drummers.
Carnuccio, who Holt hired at the juice shop where he worked, and Littel who had made a name for himself laying down beats and rhymes for local Psychedelic New- Jazz group The Ills. Their first gig came in the spring of 2002, opening for the Hosty Duo in Norman, Oklahoma. A show they refer to as ‘a nod from the King.’ After a drive to Texas to record an album that never saw post-production, the band started selling burned copies of their music and playing gigs in Oklahoma. The music began to grow, but so did tensions in the band.
Holt needed a break, and consequently so did everyone else. He packed his bags and headed to New York City. “The move was prompted by the call of the road and the ache of the heart, simple as that,” Holt said. Holt’s brash move to relocate to the big city brought on a strong sense of place for the Oklahoma native. Looking back to the red dirt of Oklahoma from the grey streets of New York made him restless and homesick.
But from great suffering comes great art. His stint in NYC spawned some of the band’s best songs, like fan favorites “First Last Stand” and “Whiskey Breath.” After only nine months in the Big Apple Holt returned to Oklahoma and his musical brethren. Mama Sweet fell back into place and their first professionally recorded and mastered album "Welcome to the Well. .
." was completed. Welcome to the Well is a perfect mixture of the dulcet nature of the country ballad and the intoxicatingly seditious movements of rock. Holt’s voice is unwavering and the level at which Orebaugh plays his guitar rivals the best that have ever played. Never before has an album embodied the nature and beauty of Oklahoma with such vigor and determination. All one has to do to feel as alive as a coyote howling at the moon is simply press play.
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