We run in our circles. They are concentric and they radiate out from our homes, but somehow they seem to cover the same turf. Whether it is the work - babysitter nexus, or its the restaurant and club rounds, we tend to go to the same places. Do the same things with the same people. So when John Riedie called me to meet him at Emo’s this summer, I said yes, and I don’t go to Emo’s all that often. But I went both because it was John, who I have known for fifteen years, and because of the band. John was funny, he just told me I should get my butt down there. I asked him who was playing. I had to pry it out of him. When he finally said, "Ha Ha Tonka," I let out a hoot! I loved their 2007 album Buckle In The Bible Belt...it was a jumping and hollering joy.
Ha Ha Tonka's new CD, Death Of A Decade, just came out this Tuesday, and takes the music in a wonderful, albeit different, direction. In case you were wondering, they took their name after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in their native Missouri. They are steeped in the musical history of the Ozarks, effortlessly transporting the fundamentals learned there into the ‘anything goes’ jubilance of the modern day.
We were blown away by their appearance at the Music Fog Marathon in Austin a few weeks ago. Here is the “Usual Suspects,” filmed at Threadgill’s World Headquarters.
- Jessie Scott