Ha Ha Tonka had a banner year in 2007, releasing their Bloodshot debut, “Buckle in the Bible Belt” to critical raves. They were featured in SPIN Magazine’s Buzzworthy section as well as getting rave reviews in PopMatters, CMJ and No Depression. After touring with Meat Puppets, the band landed a slot on the influential Music on Main festival, one of the musical highlights of the Sundance Film Festival. Music on Main takes place Thursday, January 24th on the outdoor stage at Lower Main Street between 6:30 – 9:00pm. Music on Main is presented by Adobe Systems, Entertainment Weekly, HP and Volkswagen of America.
About the Band:
Roaring out of the Ozarks with a bottle in one hand and a bible in the other, Ha Ha Tonka mix sanctified four-part harmonies and blistering rock, carving out songs that evoke the dichotomies that define their home. The Springfield, Missouri natives dubbed their new album “Buckle in the Bible Belt” in homage to their hometown, so named for its position on the dividing line of the Ozark states. 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 band’s first single from the album, “St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor” combines harmonies and biting guitar riffs with lyrics that delve into issues of nationalism, religious allegiances, and rites of passage. “It’s an attempt to point out the fallacy of wrapping yourself in the flag, religion or worse yet, both at the same time,” explained singer/guitarist Brian Roberts. The song also depicts better times, with the refrain “…this glimpse of brilliance is much better than your long look at mediocrity.” “Gusto” and “Up Nights” tackle the tragic legacy of methamphetamine in rural areas while “Hangman” and original “Caney Mountain” mine the deep veins of regional folk music.
What’s a Ha Ha Tonka? 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.
Sundance 2008 - Music on Main - Thursday, January 24th
638 Park Avenue (between Main Street and Heber Avenue), Park City
6:30 – 9:00pm (Individual Set Times TBA) – Admission is free and open to the public