Park concert series headliner going places fast

SweetKiss Momma’s second album charts in top five on CDBaby

Staff writerJuly 9, 2014 

SweetKiss Momma composed of Jimmy Hughs, left, Jeff Hamel, Jeremy Hamel and Aaron Arnold are set to perform their brand of rock on July 10 in Pioneer Park.

SWEETKISS MOMMA/COURTESY PHOTO

Putting a finger on what genre of music SweetKiss Momma plays isn’t easy, according to lead singer Jeff Hamel. The band refuses to be put in any one category.

“It’s tough to nail down what our influences are,” Hamel said. “Our lead guitarist (Aaron Arnold) grew up a Metallica fan, so he is riff heavy. And I grew up with classic country stuff.”

Further complicating the matter, Hamel and brother Jeremy (the group’s bass player) grew up playing gospel in church.

It was that gospel sound that graced the quartet’s debut album, “Revival Rock,” released in 2010. And the sound was enough to land them a spot at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas — the genre-defying music and arts festival that has a history of breaking new up-and-coming bands.

With the band’s sophomore release, “A Reckoning is Coming,” produced by former Wilco drummer and Grammy-nominated Ken Coomer, SweetKiss Momma is riding high a wave.

Hamel and the guys are excited to perform their first time at the city of Puyallup’s Concerts in the Park summer concert series. The group will headline the opening show beginning at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (July 10). Opening for them will be The Moss Brothers Band.

SweetKiss Momma’s and The Moss Brothers Band’s common denominator is both call Puyallup home.

Hamel said himself, his brother and the band’s drummer, Jimmy Hughs, are all graduates of Puyallup High School.

In March, the group released “A Reckoning is Coming.”

Right now, Hamel said the album is in the top five in both genres of roots rock and southern rock on CDBaby, an online music store that specializes in distribution of independent music.

The story of how the group got to record with Coomer boils down to serendipity.

In 2012, Hamel entered a song into a songwriting contest presented by John Carter Cash, the son of the late Johnny Cash. SweetKiss Momma made it into the finals but nothing beyond that. But as luck should have it, Coomer was one of the judges and thought highly enough of the song he decided to email Hamel.

Hamel couldn’t believe it. SweetKiss Momma took up the offer from Coomer to fly out to Nashville and record. More than 65 studio hours later over five days at the Creative Workshop, the group ended up with a polished album that charges through alternative rock, rhythm and blues, Americana and classic rock.

“We are a really strong live band,” Hamel said. “We have a good time and our goal is to get people involved and have a good time.”

Hamel said fans attending the concert in Pioneer Park tomorrow will have the opportunity to be part of a music video filmed during the show. Guest keyboardist Eric Robert will perform alongside the band, known for his stint with “The Voice” alumna Vicci Martinez.

Next up for the band is a set at the Watershed Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater; Sept. 5 and 6 performances at the Washington State Fair; and an extended tour of Europe starting early next year.

if you go

SweetKiss Momma will perform on the Rotary Stage starting at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (July 10) as part of the city of Puyallup Concerts in the Park in Pioneer Park. SweetKiss Momma’s two albums can be streamed on Spotify and are available for purchase on CDBaby.com. The band website is skmband.com.

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