One of the many promising young bands in roots rock, Missouri natives Ha Ha Tonka really take the “roots” part of their equation seriously. The mild-mannered band of longtime friends, named after a local state park, revel in the authenticity of their twangy sound while updating it for a young audience with diverse tastes in music.
And they’ve begun to get noticed for it, too. The Washington Post remarks that the band would have been a better choice to play at this year’s Grammy Awards show than Mumford & Sons, who received a sizable jump in notoriety after their performance with Bob Dylan. The newspaper praises Ha Ha Tonka’s marriage of “lilting country harmonies (think Carter Family) and the muscular Midwestern swing of John Mellencamp” before conceding that the Grammy crowd “probably doesn’t deserve Ha Ha Tonka,” anyway, and that maybe we should just keep them a secret.
The band would prefer if their secret got out, though, and with their new album, Death of a Decade, they’re prepared to do the job. Along with such critical praise, they’ve been featured on a popular Travel Channel show and are currently performing on a long, country-wide tour. Frontman Brian Roberts recently talked with CMT.com by phone to introduce his band to the country audience.