Live & Direct with Ha Ha Tonka



West Plains, Missouri band, Ha Ha Tonka, recently joined Morning Mix host Joey Spehar and WYEP members in a live and direct session, playing tracks from their most recent album Lessons. This 2013 album was recorded both in Omaha, Nebraska at A.R.C Studios and in New York with Don Molaud and The Ryantist.

Many, after finding out that Ha Ha Tonka is signed with Bloodshot Records, a Chicago based label known for producing acts surrounding the blues, bluegrass, country, and roots realm, might assume they know exactly what this band sounds like. When Ha Ha Tonka is posed the question of which genre they fall under, they have a hard time directly answering because they incorporate more elements than just the Americana or American Roots feel.

“A lot of bands get lumped into the Americana world- which is fine- I just think that term can be viewed as limiting in some ways. Like, Wilco is in the Americana world, but I would never think of them as just an Americana band. My Morning Jacket is a southern rock band but I don’t think of them as a southern rock band, per se… We’re a band that kinda get’s put in a category but I don’t necessarily think we fit in one category.”  

The band draws their influence from a number of places, but Lessons was most prominently inspired by a 2011 NPR interview. 8 months prior to his death, Maurice Sendack, author of Where the Wild Things Are, was interviewed on Terry Gross’ NPR program, Fresh Air. The interview ultimately served as inspiration for Ha Ha Tonka’s most recent album.

“It was the most heartbreakingly beautiful 18 minutes of radio I think I’d ever heard. I sent an email around to the guys and we thought we should really make a set of songs that captured that emotion- or tried to capture the emotion that plays throughout that interview.”

Ha Ha Tonka spoke on behalf of their skills in the social media world to help them promote new music and upcoming shows “we’re all on the ‘book, the twitter, myface, the ‘gram…” so if you’d like to see what else Ha Ha Tonka is up to, you can check out their website.

Set List:

The Past Has Arms

Dead to the World

Pied Pipers

Rewrite Our Lives

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