Album: Small Town Heroes

Artist: Hurray For The Riff Raff

Label: ATO

Release Date: February 11, 2014

Hurray For Riff 2-11


 Alynda Lee Segarra’s story is closer to Woody Guthrie’s than most of her contemporary counterparts. Raised in The Bronx by her aunt, she decided to skip town when she was 17, riding the rails and eventually landing in her now-home, New Orleans. At 27, the singer/songwriter behind Hurray For The Riff Raff wears those miles with melancholy, yet confident vocals and a razor-sharp social wit, relying more on straight-to-the-point, hard-hitting phrases than ambiguous poetics.

 On Hurray For The Riff Raff’s third album, Segarra shows that she isn’t afraid to re-write the rules. Flipping the traditional country-music murder ballad on its head with “The Body Electric”, the narrator is fighting back against some of the standards — “You said you’re gonna shoot me down, put my body in the river.” — and she ends it with poking a hole in flawed logic: “And tell me what’s a man with a rifle in his hand gonna do for his daughter when it’s her turn to go.”

 Small Town Heroes’ strength is in its characters. Whether it’s a homesick traveler, a down-and-out lost soul or someone on the unfortunate side of a dysfunctional relationship, they all have something to say, something to teach us. Sometimes its subtle, sometimes it’s sharp, and it walks that line well; the album doesn’t preach, but it definitely has a poignant perspective.

 It’s obvious that Segarra has hit the next gear, sounding less like her influences and more like somebody whose is going to be a force in folk music for years to come. And while this is Hurray For The Riff Raff’s strongest record to date, it’s doubtful this is a peak. Keep Segarra on your radar.

 DOWNLOAD:  “The Body Electric”

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