“There’s a certain wisdom that exists in the hills of the Ozarks. It’s a wisdom that spits out of the mouths of Woodrell’s characters; it’s a wisdom that is found in the lyrics by Woodrell’s fellow West Plains, Missouri natives, Ha Ha Tonka; and it’s a wisdom that’s found on the band’s new full-length LP, Death of a Decade.
Recorded in a 200 year old barn in scenic New Paltz, NY with producer Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, The Felice Brothers, The Walkmen), Death of a Decade began as a stripped down record, rich with warm tones that could only be captured under a 30 foot roof of a barn. “We wanted to make sure we left in all the imperfections of the barn such as the chairs squeaking and the boards creaking”, explains lead singer Brian Roberts. After tracking the songs in this rough hewn setting, the files were shipped to hAUs Studio in Kansas City, MO where The Ryantist mixed and manipulated synthetic sonic threads into this organic tapestry. Death of a Decade is where authentic meets synthetic, acoustic meets electronic, and tradition meets innovation.
Thematically, Death of a Decade is less “story-based” than Ha Ha Tonka’s previous work (which pulled heavily from Missouri history and folklore for its lyrics), with the band now focusing on the transition into manhood—something that doesn’t automatically come once you pass a certain age: “I realize that youth is wasted on the young,” Roberts sings on “Westward Bound,” “Oh, I know that now my wasting days are done.”
However, Roberts says, Death of a Decade is not meant to be a requiem for lost youth, but rather an embrace of the notion that the passage of time is better than the alternative. There you have it again: the wisdom of the Ozarks.
Ultimately, what makes the Ha Ha Tonka brand of Southern rock so special is that it’s authentic, it’s effortless, and it never comes across as forced. They are masters at bringing together the traditional and the modern. They sit at the crossroads of Americana and indie, where Alabama meets Arcade Fire – shakes their hand and takes them out for a drink.
Named after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in their native Missouri, the group’s relentless touring has seen them become one of the most buzzed about young bands in America, appearing at Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Fest, SXSW, CMJ while touring nationally as a headlining act, as well as supporting many great bands such as Old 97s, Murder By Death, Langhorne Slim, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, Ludo, Meat Puppets and more.”
We here at Mojohound Music Co. have absolutely fallen in love with May Stands Still. Their music is both ethereal and universal and the songwriting is pure and meaningful. This group goes well with just about any setting; whether you’re wanting to brighten up a rainy day or sit out in the sun on the back porch with a cold drink, May Stands Still is always a most welcome companion. This talent-packed group of professional artists will not disappoint in any respect. We hope that you’ll take a moment to check them out!
Emily Herndon and Asha Sukumar are the ladies behind the music of May Stands Still. This duo-fronted group has introduced a new edge to folk music, creating a sweet, quirky pop sound with traditionally folk instrumentation (mandolin, violin, guitar, banjo, etc.). Both musicians had been working on developing their careers before meeting each other, but when they finally came together, the sound they produced was something truly special. Emily and Asha create lush vocal harmonies and intricate instrumentation that set them apart, which is evident in the EP “Matter of Time” released in the summer of 2010. The ladies have been working on self-producing their sophomore album, “When You Come Home,” and in the fall of 2012, it will be available to own on iTunes and on disc.
A Million Watts of Sound
“If you don’t fall in love with May Stands Still and Emily Herndon’s lovely voice…, there is something seriously wrong with you. Seriously.” - Cathryn Beeks of ListenLocalSD.com and KPRI 102.1
“The music of May Stands Still is soothing, thoughtful, and absolutely captivating. Vocals and violin so sweet they melt your soul while your heart is busy dancing to beat of the amazing rhythm section.” - SHOW REVIEWS - Taix 321 Lounge October 26 2011
“From day one, Charlie has been a musician. Growing up in the Pine Hills of Mississippi, about 2 hours South of Memphis, music was everywhere and his parents encouraged his early musical leanings. With Mom being a teacher (Dad is a banker), that meant early piano lessons for Charlie. But they quickly learned that if it had strings, he wanted to play it. And before they knew it, he was studying a little bit of everything: guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin and even a touch of fiddle. And like everything musical with Charlie, it just stuck.
He started playing everywhere they’d let him, from churches to picnics to bars they’d sneak him into. He made his Grand Ole Opry debut with Mike Snyder at the ripe old age of twelve. By fourteen, he was getting serious about singing and writing his own songs. Around that time, the harmonies he heard on his parents’ records, at bluegrass festivals and sitting in with the black Southern gospel band at the local Missionary Baptist church started really making its mark on his music. From there, he’d go on to earn a degree in music production and engineering at prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, bringing his technical skills up to speed with his artistic development.
Looking to play with, work with and learn from the best of the best, Charlie immediately moved to Nashville. He quickly got a songwriting deal with a publishing company and joined band of talented players. With the band, he served as utility player (acoustic & electric guitar, banjo, mandolin), background singer and band leader while developing into one of the group’s most talented and hard-working songwriters. In November 2009, with three years of shows, travel and studio work under his belt, Charlie made the tough decision to leave the band and pursue his real dream, becoming a solo artist and songwriter.
Charlie currently lives in Nashville and divides his time between writing songs, being an in-demand studio musician for other artists and playing live. He recently released his debut solo EP, Charlie Worsham, and will be on tour with Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and others in the Fall of 2011.”
Throughout my travels and endeavors I have had the privilege to meet, greet, and come to know a great many artists. Some play locally, some nationally and some internationally, whether a basement jammer, professional studio artist, local touring musician, or a international sensation – we here at Mojohound Music Company wholeheartedly support you! The one thing that binds us all together is our love of music; our passion for playing, listening and preforming.
Keep the music alive – support your local artists!