A real mother of band
Published 6:01 am Monday, June 15, 2015
Moms by day. Musicians by night. Look out, when the Mamas come to town.
That’s the kind of fun-loving atmosphere seven area musicians have whenever they get to play as Who Let The Mamas Out?
They sing good old-fashioned country and rock songs. They’ll carouse about stage as the mood hits them. They’ll break into giggles in the middle of a performance. Sometimes, they’ll even stop a song if they know it’s just not working.
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It’s OK, they’re Mamas.
“We’re not perfect,” Dee Randall said with a laugh.
The Mamas party began in 2010, when Randall, Rhonda Akkerman and Wendy Larson were playing for St. Olaf Lutheran Church, which had decided to switch to more contemporary church music. While they practiced hard for church, sometimes they’d just sit back and jam. Soon after, they added Rhonda’s son, Kalle, to the mix.
“It just kind of went on from there,” Rhonda said.
They brought on Theresa Tucker and Sherry Berndt, and Jack Mathison joined as a drummer in 2013. Yet the Mamas were off and playing right from the get-go.
After a particularly fun karaoke session on a Thursday night, Randall decided to leave her equipment at the Windrift Bar in northeast Austin so it would be ready to go come Friday.
“She said, ‘Why don’t we come to the Windrift on Friday afternoon so we can do a little jam?’” Rhonda said. “People liked us, and the owners asked us if we wanted to come back and do it again.”
From there, the Mamas became a hit attraction at the Windrift during Happy Hour every week. Many area residents loved the Mamas’ old-time country/western and honky tonk sound.
“We’d pack it,” Randall said. “All the older folks loved to come out and hear us.”
The Mamas soon found themselves playing at the Eagles Club and at various events for more than just the refreshments and food they used to play for when they started out. The band enjoys playing locally and doesn’t have plans to tour, as the biggest part of the Mamas is just to have fun.
“For me, it’s sort of therapy,” Tucker said. “You know you’re going to just play for two hours at a time during practice and you get to release that stress.”
The Mamas love to harmonize on many classic country songs, though they’ve been known to play plenty of newer country songs and whatever strikes their fancy, from Green Day to Johnny Cash. Of course, they love to play artists like Miranda Lambert.
“We could just cover Miranda Lambert all the time,” Rhonda said.
Even Mathison and Kalle, considered Mamas’ Boys, get in on the performances, as they sometimes sing on their own.
Many of the Mamas used to play music with their families as children, and Larson is considered one of the best violin players in the area due to her experiences in the Hanson Family Band.
The band took a hiatus in January as Rhonda focused on spending time with her family more, but the group plans to play at the Mower County Fair once again this year. Past that, time will tell if the Mamas will continue as they are, since Kalle recently graduated from Luther College with a degree in music education.
Yet the Mamas will always be ready to play if somebody wants to hear them, especially since it’s still a lot of fun.
“As long as it’s fun, we’ll be around,” Larson said.