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Ha Ha Tonka (West Plains, Mo.)
These Midwestern boys are sincere in everything they put out and that’s why we love them and keep inviting them back to Cincinnati. Waffling between Rock and Folk, there is heart and soul in everything they do. That love and their use of acoustic instruments often earn them comparisons to Mumford & Sons. At their most rocking, however, they sound more like Kings of Leon — loud, grungy, Southern. The band’s latest album, Lessons, is coming out the week of MidPoint on Bloodshot Records.
YDIIYD: Kings of Leon, Drive-By Truckers, heartfelt music and musicians, good shit. (DK)
Ha Ha Tonka is primed for the release of their highly anticipated fourth full-length album, Lessons, on September 24th. Get some details HERE.
"...Ha Ha Tonka busts out of the gates like classic Replacements on an Ozark bender" --NPR
"A couple of rootsy, passionate, scruffy groups such as Mumford & Sons did their thing at the Grammy Awards this year, exposing their music to a relatively vast audience in one fell swoop. Mumford’s music is fine, but it’s a shame thatHa Ha Tonka couldn’t have taken that group’s spot." --Washington Post
"The larger aspect is sheer talent, the skill to make the music and the ear to put it all together in a way that creates a sound that is both unique and gorgeous. Ha Ha Tonka may not be as well known as some of their peers like Old Crow Medicine Show or The Drive By Truckers, but Death of a Decade is another resounding example of why they deserve to be." --Roughstock
"This Springfield, MO band’s third album is an excellent set of soulful, roots-infused indie-rock, featuring a dynamic sound blending a variety of acoustic and electric instrumentation with the band’s stunning four-part harmonies." —KEXP
Coming straight out of Springfield, MO, Ha Ha Tonka specialize in disarming and effortless anthems that owe as much to high and lonesome Ozarks mountain music as chugging college rock.
The band released its Bloodshot debut, Buckle in the Bible Belt, to much acclaim in 2007, gaining praise from glossies like PASTE and Spin, and taste-making radio stations likeKEXP. At year’s end, Popmatters Magazine named Buckle in the Bible Belt one of the best albums of 2007 (In fact,Buckle... was ranked #15 for the year, pulling ahead of those lauded indie rockers, Spoon -- Hey Britt, still call me, okay?). The band followed up with LP Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South in 2009, which was also showered with thumbs up from critics and fans alike. 2011 brought the authentic-meets-modern Death of a Decade, recorded in a 200-year-old barn, yet again revered by press (including the likes of NPR and Washington Post) and audiences everywhere.
The group’s relentless touring has seen them become one of the most talked-about young bands in America, appearing atLollapalooza, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, CMJ while touring nationally as a headlining act, as well as supporting many great bands such as Old 97s, Murder By Death,Langhorne Slim, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Meat Puppets and more.
Recently, Ha Ha Tonka was a guest on The Travel Channel’s flagship show, "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations." In March 2011, Ha Ha Tonka kicked off a year of touring with a string of buzzy shows at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX. In April and May 2011, the band headlines US release tour and will include a stop at Wakarusa in June.
Ha Ha Tonka? What the hell could that name possibly mean? It's a nod to the boys' Ozark pride. It's the name of a state park in southwestern Missouri, full of natural bridges, sandstone cliffs, caves and a castle. That's right, a castle. Some crackpot rich guy built himself a Scottish style castle around 1900. It burned down, but the ruins are still an attraction. Thus, Ha Ha Tonka want you all to know there is more to their home stomping grounds than Branson, walnut bowl outlet stores and Jesse James' hideout.
"I'm struck with how the band successfully combines punk rock energy, heartland rock and gospel fervor." —Songs: Illinois