Ha Ha Tonka with Cheryl Waters, live in Chicago on KEXP
photo by Susana Meza
Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Todayâ€™s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is
This Is Not a Cure for the Common Cold by Ha Ha Tonka from the 2007 album Buckle in the Bible Belt on Bloodshot.
Since self-releasing this album last year under the moniker Amsterband, Ha Ha Tonka has gotten, you guessed it, a new name, and a new passion for their craft. Ha Ha Tonka is the name of a state park in Missouri, and the song featured here is based on vocalist and guitarist Brian Roberts’ bout with cancer. There’s no time like the present to reinvent and release a mind-boggling debut. The album was recorded in a church in Union, Missouri, a fitting space to house the band’s gospel-tinged roots-rock. Numerous comparisons have been made to Kings of Leon for creating authentic southern rock and for Roberts’ vocals, reminiscent of KoL’s Caleb Followill, but HHT has an arsenal that eludes the genre’s confines. Their pace variations, gospel harmonies, and poignant storytelling are a welcome addition to a new batch of hybrids. For a brief interview with the band in Chicago, look no further. Otherwise, check out their MySpace page for tour dates(none listed currently) and watch this rousing performance of
Caney Mountain, taken from a Columbia, MO, show last December: