Ha Ha Tonka (band)

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Ha Ha Tonka
Ha Ha Tonka Hi-Dive 11.30.11.jpg
Background information
Origin West Plains, Missouri, United States
Genres Indie rock
Southern rock
Years active 2005–present
Labels May Apple Records, Bloodshot Records
Website http://www.hahatonkamusic.com/
Members Brett Anderson
Brian Roberts
Luke Long
Mike Reilly
Past members Lennon Bone
Robert Mueller

Ha Ha Tonka are a band originally formed in West Plains, Missouri and currently signed to Bloodshot Records out of Chicago, Illinois. The band is named after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri.

Buckle in the Bible Belt[edit]

After signing to Bloodshot Records, Buckle in the Bible Belt was released on September 11, 2007. "St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor" released as the first single from that album.

The band's website says that their "dark view of the realities of socio-economic hardship, backwoods prejudices and drug abuse is leavened by wry humor and a deep appreciation for regional storytelling traditions." The lead singer, Brian Roberts, is a cancer survivor who criticizes the American health care system in "This Is Not a Cure for the Common Cold".[1] One reviewer stated that "Ha Ha Tonka make the kind of roots rock that fits the mood of America in the summer of 2008. It's restless, edgy and increasingly willing to address the dark side of This Land."[1]

In 2008 the band opened up for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and was also a part of the 2008 Lollapalooza line up.

Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South[edit]

On June 16, 2009, Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South was released on Bloodshot Records. It was recorded at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis with Jason McEntire who also produced their previous CD. This recording is a taste of the dark side of Ha Ha Tonka.[citation needed]

Death of a Decade[edit]

Ha Ha Tonka released their following album on April 5, 2011. To support the record, Ha Ha Tonka began a nationwide "Death of a Decade" tour on March 11, in Springfield, Missouri. The following night the band performed in their hometown of West Plains, Missouri, along with the Antennas Up from Kansas City. Ha Ha Tonka thanked fans at the West Plains concert by selling copies of the new album, even though its release was three weeks away.[citation needed]

Soon before the album's release, the band was featured on the Ozarks episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.[citation needed]

The album has had several positive reviews including reviews in the Washington Post[2] and Huffington Post[3] and the track "Usual Suspects" was featured as a NPR's song of the day on April 27, 2011.[4]

The song "Usual Suspects" was also used by Turner Broadcasting System as a lead-in for the beginning of Game 3 of the 2011 National League Championship Series featuring the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers.[citation needed]

The song "Jesusita" refers to the destructive Jesusita Fire that took place in May 2009 outside Santa Barbara, California.[citation needed]


Studio albums[edit]

  • 2007: Buckle in the Bible Belt (Bloodshot Records re-release)
  • 2009: Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South (Bloodshot Records)
  • 2011: Death of a Decade (Bloodshot Records)
  • 2013: Lessons (Bloodshot Records)
  • 2017: Heart-Shaped Mountain (Bloodshot Records)


  1. ^ a b Albertoni, Rich. "Ha Ha Tonka channels the national mood". The Isthmus. 
  2. ^ Patrick, Foster (5 April 2011). "Album Review: Ha Ha Tonka's 'Death of a Decade'". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Bialas, Michael (4 April 2011). "Ha Ha Tonka's Talkin' Baseball, Bourdain and Death of a Decade". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Nelson, Elizabeth. "Ha Ha Tonka: Desire, Revulsion and Obsessive Longing". National Public Radio. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 

External links[edit]