Investigating morality and individual responsibility, Ha Ha Tonka take listeners on a complex tour of the South—through lynchings and mob violence, sacrifice and reconciliation. On the two trails of life, how does your history affect your present, and how much can you change the future?
It’s dense subject matter for any artist, but delivered beautifully on this record by Springfield, MO native sons Ha Ha Tonka. Named after an Ozarks state park, the band has earned comparisons to Kings of Leon, Old 97s and Fleet Foxes. Following their last record, 2007’s critically lauded Buckle in the Bible Belt, the band gathered up their four-part harmonies and tore across the nation, opening for Ben Kweller, Backyard Tire Fire, and Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin before their well-received show at Lollapalooza 2008.
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.