Ha Ha Tonka: “The Outpouring”

hahatonkaProud as hell of their Midwestern origins, this four-piece band named themselves after a state park located in southwestern Missouri where, around the turn of the century, some businessman with a few bones built himself a Scottish-style castle but died before its completion. It tragically burned down amidst the natural splendor, but the ruins still remain an attraction. Like their namesake, Ha Ha Tonka’s sound recalls the lonesome spirit of the Ozark mountain range but adds a touch of gospel with their almost holy four-part harmonies and a hearty dose of searing rock. Originally called Amsterband when they formed in college at Missouri State, they have since matured as musicians and refined their taste in monikers—as cool as it is to drone on about drugs.

Their sophomore effort, Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South, is darker than their debut album, Buckle in the Bible Belt (which was written and recorded in an old church in Union, Missouri), but still as foot-stomping. If any of you caught their show with Pine Box Boys at the Rickshaw Stop last Wednesday, please provide a full report. I’d like to bear witness to these guys reconciling their dichotomous souls by uniting alcohol and the almighty, if only vicariously.

Ha Ha Tonka – The Outpouring

Who: Ha Ha Tonka

What: Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South

When: 6.16.2009

Where: Springfield, Missouri

Why: “There was some violence there in that crowd / We bled it out.”

How: Bloodshot


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