This is why it makes good business sense to give away free downloads... I can't remember where I first heard about Ha Ha Tonka's sessions for HearYa Music blog but I downloaded, for free, five live tracks from HearYa Live Session 8. I liked what I heard... so I went and paid money for their debut album - Buckle In The Bible Belt. :-)
About the songs
The band has an indie-rock sound with some alt-country and a good bit of gospel/blues thrown in. Now, it has to be said, a description like that would not normally make me think, "Hmm! I must have a listen." but on this occasion, I'm glad I did. The lead singer (Brian Roberts I think) has an interesting voice and the other chaps in the band add some close harmonies that sound great.
All five tracks are good but three leap out in particular.
Caney Mountain: A dark tale, apparently based on a true story, about a preacher fleeing a lynch mob after murdering a girl. An outstandingly good track that got five stars on my iPod on first listen. The video is appropriately dark and unsettling:
Hangman: An a cappella rendition of a traditional song that is (I think) a version of Gallis Pole. Impressive harmonies - especially from a live take.
St. Nick on the Fourth in a Ferver: Probably my favourite of the five tracks available for free.
Available on eMusic: Declaration of interest
Both of the current Ha Ha Tonka albums can be found on eMusic. If you sign up for eMusic as a result of following this link, I get some extra free downloads but I would highly recommend this site anyway as a great source of cheap, legal, music for download.
The HearYa site has so many MP3s available for download, it is difficult to know where to start. Well, start with Ha Ha Tonka but after that it gets difficult. :-) This appears to be another example of sponsored downloads as the session is "Sponsored by Beernuts". When I first started thinking about this, I wondered if established acts would be more likely to get sponsorship, leaving new acts struggling to get started. However, both today's site and last week's seem to be sponsoring up and coming music, which is excellent.
What do you think?
So what do you think of Ha Ha Tonka? What do you think of the HearYa site?
Sorry this is late again but with it being holiday time, the posts are likely to be a bit more irregular than usual.