ha ha tonka


Photo Credit: Jason Gonulsen

Long-time HearYa favorites are back for their 5th album, Heart-Shaped Mountain. Founding drummer Lennon Bone is gone and it appears that lead singer Brian Roberts has borrowed his beard for the new album. They also got two members, drummer Mike Reilly and multi-instrumentalist, James Cleare to go join up with Brett Anderson, Luke Long and Roberts. Loving this new track. Here’s some info on the new album.

At its core, Heart-Shaped Mountain is an album about love and growth. At a time when divisiveness fills the headlines, Ha Ha Tonka is fighting the good fight and building narrative tributes to friends and loved ones, memories past, and prospects of the future. They five-part harmonize on intimate familiarities – the nascent stages of relationships, deep and lasting bonds, maturation, fear and loss. This is a call to pause and glance back, inhale inspiration, and forge ahead with renewed purpose.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Ha Ha Tonka is here


Lennon is leaving Ha Ha Tonka

by Woody on November 26, 2014


There are some acts I identify with HearYa more than others. Joe Pug, Strand Of Oaks and The Love Language to name a few. Ha Ha Tonka is chief amongst them. As I said to anybody who would listen, the thing that always separated Ha Ha Tonka from the others was the bond that Luke, Brian, Brett and Lennon shared. Normally the departure of a drummer wouldn’t really resonate so much, but hearing that Lennon was leaving left me feeling nostalgic. You can read his letter announcing his departure here.

Saturday’s show at the Sub-T in Chicago will be his last official show with the band and I’ll be there to celebrate his time with Ha Ha Tonka. Here’s a video we did with them back in 2009. Our two sessions with Ha Ha Tonka are here and here.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Ha Ha Tonka is here

Lennon is here.


Ha Ha Tonka – Lessons [album review]

by Woody on September 23, 2013


A few years back I was playing Ha Ha Tonka for some friends and they commented that they sounded like Kings of Leon. I immediately snapped back, “Take that back, they’re friends of mine. These guys aren’t vapid assclowns; more worried about their look than their music. There is a bond with these four guys that is tough to replicate anywhere. Whereas everything about Kings of Leon is fake, Ha Ha Tonka is genuine.”

The bond that Luke, Brian, Brett and Lennon have with each other and their fans has always been one of the most endearing thing about them. Its that bond and their genuine approach to music that has allowed them to try some new stuff on Lessons while holding on their roots from The Ozarks. As the first songs started to dribble out, I would admit I wasn’t really feeling it. As friend of HearYa, @ScottSounds commented on Twitter, “Hey Woody, I’ve really been looking forward to @hahatonka. It took few streams to start really digging it. Then WOW.” Agreed, it really didn’t hit me til I listened on some quality speakers.

The first part to really sink its teeth into me was Arabella leading into the title track, Lessons. The downtempo Arabella is really well-done and is my favorite song that Brett has sung lead on. It feels like something out of the 70s that’s been remastered. I love how Arabella fades out into the fuzzy guitar strums that opens Lessons. Brian takes over the vocal singing, “I can’t keep learning the same lessons over again” before the rest of the band joins in. In many regards, Lessons almost acts as an outro to Arabella with Brett showing off some sweet guitar work. For years, I have been begging these guys to uncork an 8 or 10 minute tune. This combo scratched that itch but leaves me wanting for future longer jams.

Rewrite Our Lives sounds like classic Ha Ha Tonka, if that term is even apt, and is one of the more up-tempo tracks filled with regret that you’ll hear. I love the earnestness in Brian’s voice on this track as he really nailed it here. Whereas the last two tracks on the album, Pied Pipers and Terrible Tomorrow, sound like they could have been written on their back porches in The Ozarks. On each the songs work in some lush instrumentation – including some strings on the latte – which is what from a band you’ve loved from the beginning; growth without forgetting your roots.

I am anxious to hear these tracks in a live setting, as should you. And when you do, go up and say hi to the boys. They are about as nice of four guys you’ll meet.

You can find our two sessions with Ha Ha Tonka here and here.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Follow Ha Ha Tonka at @HaHaTonka



My favorite band named after park are back with their fourth album, titled Lessons. Lessons, due out on 9/24/13 was produced by Dan Molad – who coincidentally enough has an album coming out with Lucious.

The sounds is somewhat different this time. I won’t lie to you. It took me a few spins to digest it but I really dig it. I am anxious to hear the rest of the album. Hopefully, they will have penned that 8 to 10 opus that I have been clamoring to them about for years.

Here is the opening track, Colorful Kids and an album teaser. They will be all over our great country during the fall. I suggest checking them out as their live show is tough to beat. Check out the new tune and while you wait for the full album, you can check out a video of them below drinking beer and shooting guns with Anthony Bourdain.

Live sessions with Ha Ha Tonka can be found here and here.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa


Off to Ha Ha Tonka for Vacation

June 23, 2011

The family and I head to Lake of the Ozarks each year and that time has come. Not too far from my parents’ lake house is a Missouri State Park called Ha Ha Tonka, which inspired the name of the band Ha Ha Tonka. The fellas recently released a new video for “Usual Suspects.” Seemed […]

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Ha Ha Tonka – Death of a Decade [Album Review]

April 4, 2011

Ha Ha Tonka’s latest effort, Death of a Decade, is another stunner from a band that routinely pushes all the right sonic buttons. The new album finds the boys summoning all the floorboard-rattling power of a backwoods church to impart a sense of urgency to every track. And still the songs manage to have a […]

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Ha Ha Tonka – Live Session #50

July 13, 2009

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 […]

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Ha Ha Tonka – Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South [Album Review]

May 4, 2009

Ha Ha Tonka’s Buckle In The Bible Belt is one of the best albums I’ve come across in quite some time. I’ve spun that disc and seen the boys live countless times and have been looking forward to their sophomore follow up like very few before. When I finally got my hands on Novel Sounds […]

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Ha Ha Tonka releases two new tracks [new mp3’s]

April 9, 2009

HearYa favs and friends, Ha Ha Tonka, will be releasing their sophomore album, Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South on July 16th via Bloodshot Records. The gentleman from the Ozarks were nice enough to offer up a couple new tracks in advance of the release. Side note: I’ll be at Lake of the Ozarks over […]

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15 Albums We’re Looking Forward To In 2009

December 31, 2008

The artwork above was found at Colorcubic, an ultra-hip design firm that handles multimedia, print, branding, etc. This poster will be made available in their online store. We may say good riddance to 2008 as a nation, but as we posted our top 50 albums of 2008, it was easy to reflect on an amazing […]

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