Buckle In The Bible Belt
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Roaring out of the Ozarks with a bottle in one hand and a bible in the other, Ha Ha Tonka mix sanctified four-part harmonies and blistering rock.
"This glimpse of brilliance is much better / than your long look at mediocrity."
—from "St Nick On The Fourth In A Fervor"
Roaring out of the Ozarks with a bottle in one hand and a bible in the other, Ha Ha Tonka mix sanctified four-part harmonies and blistering rock, carving out songs that evoke the dichotomies that define their home. The Springfield, Missouri natives dubbed their album Buckle in the Bible Belt in homage to their hometown, so named for its position on the dividing line of the Ozark states. Their dark view of the realities of socio-economic hardship, backwoods prejudices and drug abuse is leavened by wry humor and a deep appreciation for regional storytelling traditions.
The band’s first single from the album, "St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor" combines harmonies and biting guitar riffs with lyrics that delve into issues of nationalism, religious allegiances, and rites of passage. "It's an attempt to point out the fallacy of wrapping yourself in the flag, religion or worse yet, both at the same time," explains singer/guitarist Brian Roberts. The song also depicts better times, with the refrain " ... this glimpse of brilliance is much better than your long look at mediocrity." "Gusto" and "Up Nights" tackle the tragic legacy of methamphetamine in rural areas while “Hangman” and original "Caney Mountain" mine the deep veins of regional folk music.
And BE SURE to check out their show-shopping acapella treasure "Hangman." It never fails to get the room quiet when they sing it, and erupt in cheers when they finish.
Buckle in the Bible Belt was recorded, fittingly, in an old church in Union, Missouri, with a control booth where the pulpit had once been. Augmented with piano and organ, the songs bring to mind southern bands like REM and Kings of Leon as well as classics like The Band and Bruce Springsteen.