Ha Ha Tonka – Live Session #50

by Woody on July 13, 2009

ha ha tonka

Our 50th live session! I remember the day in Austin at South By Southwest when Oz and Shirk hatched this plan. And I remember my skepticism. What band is going to stop by the studio for a brand new blog? We invited a few bands to the studio, Shirk worked his magic and we slowly learned a few things. Ha Ha Tonka came in for Live Session #8 and knocked our socks off. I glanced over at Shirk afterward and we both seemed to have the same thought – “Hell, this might really work.”

Things have taken a life of their own since then and it’s fitting that our 50th session is a repeat visit from one of our favorite bands, Ha Ha Tonka. Not only do I love their music, but I also now consider Brian, Brett, Lennon and Luke friends. On their recent visit to Chicago they had a night off, so the scene in the studio was easy going and relaxed. I headed down with my 5 year old, Teddy, picked up a couple of beers and settled in for a good evening of music.

The band worked through a couple of takes before nailing “Close Every Valve Of Your Bleeding Heart,” one of my favorite tunes of the year off of this year’s album Novel Sounds Of The Nouveau South. As the night wore on, Teddy had the chance to sit in with the band for a little jam session. Lennon and Luke kept the beat as Teddy pounded away on the kit. Brian and Brett soon joined and I thought my son’s smile was going to explode off his face. The only thing that would have excited him more was if Luke Skywalker was on the bass instead of Luke Long.


As we drove home listening to Ha Ha, I thought how cool it was that my son just played with one of the best young bands in America. I expected Teddy to be asleep the minute I pulled away, but he was abuzz with excitement. After years of telling me he was going to be a construction worker when he grows up, he’s now decided to be a rock and roll guitarist. Teddy took a real shine to Brett (lead guitar) and wanted to listen to only Brett’s songs on the way home.

It’s difficult to express how much I enjoy Ha Ha Tonka. The band continues to grow and challenge themselves and their warm personalities accent their music like barbecue sauce on a slab of ribs. If you haven’t yet, catch them on tour and make sure to introduce yourself. You’ll see what I mean.

Exclusive: Ha Ha Tonka – Walking On The Devil’s Backbone

Exclusive: Ha Ha Tonka – Close Every Valve To Your Bleeding Heart

Exclusive: Ha Ha Tonka – Hold My Feet To The Fire

Exclusive: Ha Ha Tonka – The Outpouring

Download the session as a zip.

See the rest of the videos over here.

Video: Ha Ha Tonka – Walking On The Devil’s Backbone

Ha Ha Tonka – “Walking On The Devil’s Backbone” – HearYa Live Session 5/3/09 from HearYa.com on Vimeo.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

oddbodkins July 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

As cool as it is for you to have the Live Sessions for us, your readers, i’m still jealous as hell that i can’t sit through one of those recording sessions.

As always, you cats continue to rock hard.

oz July 14, 2009 at 8:10 am

Let us know if you’re ever coming to Chicago and you’re more than welcome to join.

oz July 14, 2009 at 8:30 am

Shirk – Welcome back from Asia. I swear these sessions sound better and better each time.

Woody – Couldn’t agree more with you about Close Every Valve To Your Bleeding Heart. That song got lots of play over 4th of July at Lake of the Ozarks.

I must disagree with Teddy regarding Luke Skywalker, however. Watch all the videos and you’ll see some great moves from Luke Long. I kept waiting for a Steven Tyler leg kick on The Outpouring.

Side note: I’m still waiting for Luke Skywalker to come out of the closet.

moish July 14, 2009 at 8:38 am

These guys continue to amaze…it’s like they’re operating on a whole other level. And the songs really come to life when you see the boys live, kudos to all.

DBT Chicago July 14, 2009 at 8:54 am

i second woody. as good as they sound, these guys couldn’t be cooler and more accessible. had a chance to spend some time with brian and luke on separate occasions and got to know them outside of their music.
No. 50 was well-planned.
keep up the good work.

oddbodkins July 14, 2009 at 11:33 am

You shouldn’t have offered that because now i’m going to take you up on it my next trip to the home town, oz.

i was planning on buying you a beer(s) for the good work, but now we also might have to throw down. Talking shit about Luke Skywalker? Them’s fightin’ words ’round these parts.

mrs. oz July 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Yeah, Oz…curious as to why you are waiting for Luke Sykwalker to come out of the closet…something I should know?

Napoleon July 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Love it!I’ve known these guys for 5 years now…and they’ve certainly come a LONG way! I am so proud of them and I love this session!

pop-kid July 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

These sessions always sound great and this one is no exception. I can’t wait for the Deep Dark Woods session, I think they’ll shine in this sort of environment. Keep up the good work.

shirk July 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm

HHT did a great job during this session. Love their honesty and their energy…and their music of course. Stay tuned for some cool clips of demos HHT cut w us during their first hearya session back in ’07. Demos that developed into songs on their latest album as well as hearya session #50. it s fun to be able to document the journey of a song.

On another note, Deep Dark Woods killed it today…really great.

Oz July 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Word from the studio is that Deep Dark Woods were amazing in session.

DBT Chicago July 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

off the subject … are zack galifianakis and iron and wine’s sam beam are twins?
carry on. ha ha tonka rocks it.

p.s. oz we need to talk.

DBT Chicago July 14, 2009 at 7:58 pm

oops, one too many “are”

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