Springfield, Missouri based Ha Ha Tonka are all about their roots.
Named after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri, Ha Ha Tonka’s blend of music looks to reflect on the hardships and passions of the people of their home state. While their sound is based in Americana, the band finds influences in Bluegrass, Folk, Southern Rock, and Country. Many fans are quick to label Ha Ha Tonka’s output as “raw,” but not in the production sense — rather, the band’s Foot-Stompin’ Indie-Rock is uninhibited in it’s reaches towards true emotion and feeling.
Ha Ha Tonka’s most recent effort, 2011’s Death of a Decade, builds on the momentum the band has drawn from both 2007’s Buckle in the Bible Belt and 2009’s Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South. The band embarked on a nationwide tour that year, garnering positive press in the process. Reviews could be found in both the Washington Post and Huffington Post, along with a feature of their single “Usual Suspects” on NPR’s song of the day.
That track was later used as a lead-in to game three of Major League Baseball’s National League Championship Series, featuring the St. Louis Cardinals taking on the Milwaukee Brewers.
The story behind Death of a Decade is pretty intriguing as well. Produced by Kevin McMahon, well known for his work with Titus Andronicus and The Walkmen, Death of a Decade was recorded in a 200-year-old barn in New Paltz, New York.
“We wanted to make sure we left in all the imperfections of the barn such as the chairs squeaking and the boards creaking,” explained lead singer Brian Roberts.
Ha Ha Tonka is currently on another nationwide tour. Now heading down the east coast, the band will be heading out west to California and its neighboring states July 31st, before taking a turn into the midwest about half way through August. The band will conclude their tour September 16th, in Bristol, Tennessee.
Dean Goranites | Associate Editor