First listen live with Ha Ha Tonka at the Iron Horse this summer, July 19, 2010
Meet Ha Ha Tonka:
Brett Anderson -keyboard, guitar, and vocals
Lennon Bone -drums & vocals
Lucas Long -bass & vocals
Brian Roberts -guitar & vocals
The band had great presence right from the start. The voice of front-man Brett Anderson was strong enough to wade through some of the genre changes as they happened before us. They seemed to start with a rock edge and as the set went on, moved into a comfortable folk/bluegrass set. Really great vocals with a tight guitar punch were the highlights from this comprehensive band. The bass player looked like a young Jim Morrison to me, it was eerie.
These Missouri gentlemen made no apologies and knew this crowd have heard nothing of their music until these moments. This rainy night in Northampton with a light crowd for a Monday did not stop them from giving this show their all. There was something about this band that reminded me of the folk ballads of Zeppelin, but I digress to Zeppelin so often, I discounted my own intuition. There was some deep storytelling going on with the lyrics in Caney Mountain. This song was gripping. The guitar and acapella voices kicked our Yankee keisters. People were looking around at each other, shocked, drawn in.
Finally, toward the end of the show, these talented men walked to the edge of the stage and sang an acapella version of The Gallis Pole/ "Hangman". The song which was originally recorded by Led Belly (1939) and later re-written by Led Zeppelin has deep roots in traditional folk. Ha Ha Tonka's rendition of this classic was absolutely stunning. I would have paid the admission just to hear this one piece. Absolutely stunning. I am very impressed with the tenacious writing and the depth of talent with this band. I am definitely a follower !