Indie rock band Ha Ha Tonka were formed in 2004 in Springfield, Missouri, by Brian Roberts (singer/guitarist), Lucas Long (bass, vocals), Brett Anderson (keyboards, guitar, vocals), and Lennon Bone (drums, vocals).
Their first album as Ha Ha Tonka, Buckle in the Bible Belt, was actually a re-release from a time when they were known as Amsterband
. Under that moniker, they released their debut CD, Beatchen, and toured extensively. In 2006, they followed with a second self-released album, Buckle in the Bible Belt. The next year, the quartet signed to independent Chicago-based label Bloodshot Records
and decided on a name change, calling themselves Ha Ha Tonka after a state park in the Ozark Mountains in southwestern Missouri. Bloodshot
re-released Buckle in the Bible Belt on September 11, 2007, as Ha Ha Tonka were in the midst of a tour of the Midwest. Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South appeared in 2009, garnering a good deal of critical praise, and was followed by Death of a Decade, produced by Kevin McMahon
and the Ryantist, in 2011. The impressive and lightly orchestrated Lessons appeared in the fall of 2013. Ha Ha Tonka returned in 2017 with their fifth LP, Heart-Shaped Mountain. By this time, Lennon Bone had left the group, and Ha Ha Tonka recruited a new drummer, Mike Reilly, formerly of Hoots & Hellmouth. The group also brought aboard multi-instrumentalist James Cleare, who'd previously worked with the Spring Standard
. ~ William Ruhlmann & Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi