Hurray for the Riff Raff reframes American music on ATO debut, out Feb 11


Hurray for the Riff Raff
Hurray for the Riff Raff

Photo by Sarrah Danzinger

On February 11, Hurray for the Riff Raff will release ‘Small Town Heroes,’ its debut for ATO Records. The album finds frontwoman Alynda Lee Segarra – who settled in New Orleans after leaving her native Bronx at age 17 – contemporizing the rich musical forms of the American South in the age of Trayvon Martin and Wendy Davis.

Produced by Segarra and engineered by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), ‘Small Town Heroes’ features twelve new, original songs all written or co-written by Segarra, with support from a vivid cast of Crescent City musicians including her longtime right-hand-man on fiddle, Yosi Perlstein, keyboard player Casey McAllister, and two members of the Deslondes: Sam Doores on guitar and Dan Cutler on bass.

NPR has said that Hurray for the Riff Raff “sweeps across eras and genres with grace and grit,” never more so than on ‘Small Town Heroes.’ On the hedonist country lament “I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright)” Segarra sings to a forbidden love “I’ll feed you watermelon off the vine,” while on “The Body Electric” she exposes the misogyny of the traditional murder ballad, and warns “Delia’s gone, but I’m settling the score.”

Ultimately though, many of the songs embody that most magical and fated of American cities, New Orleans. Segarra bears witness to a wave of violence that struck the St. Roch neighborhood in “St. Roch Blues;” yearns for a night at BJ’s Bar in the Bywater in “Crash on the Highway;” and sings of her own Lower Ninth Ward home in “End of the Line.”

‘Small Town Heroes’ follows Hurray for the Riff Raff’s self-released 2012 album ‘Look Out Mama,’ which led to a performance at the Newport Folk Festival, and praise from Mojo, which compared Segarra to “a soulful, young Loretta Lynn,” and The New York Times which hailed the group as “part of the loosely cohered movement of younger musicians embracing and reframing American roots music, giving it a polish of currency but otherwise leaving its bones intact.”

Following two recent sold-out NYC shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg and Mercury Lounge, Hurray for the Riff Raff plays dates with Amos Lee this month, including two nights at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, and Shovels & Rope next year. On Valentine’s Day they will headline a special hometown album release show at One Eyed Jacks. On April 3, Hurray for the Riff Raff plays Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. See current dates below, with more to come.

‘Small Town Heroes’ Track Listing:
01. Blue Ridge Mountain
02. Crash on the Highway
03. Good Time Blues (An Outlaw’s Lament)
04. End of the Line
05. The New SF Bay Blues
06. The Body Electric
07. No One Else
08. St. Roch Blues
09. Levon’s Dream
10. I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright)
11. Small Town Heroes
12. Forever Is Just a Day

Hurray for the Riff Raff Tour Dates:
* w/ Amos Lee
^ w/ Clear Plastic Masks
% w/ Shovels & Rope
11/12 – Louisville, KY @ Louisville Palace Theatre *
11/13 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium *
11/14 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium *
11/15 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
11/16 – North Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Performing Arts Center *
2/14 – New Orleans @ One Eyed Jacks (Record Release Party) ^
2/21 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Mud & Water %
2/22 – Dallas, TX @ Trees %
2/23 – Fayetteville, AR @ George’s Majestic Lounge %
2/25 – St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Nightclub %
2/26 – Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom %
2/28 – Birmingham, AL @ WorkPlay Soundstage %
3/01 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse %
3/02 – Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm & Brews %
3/05 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle %
4/03 – New York, NY @ Lincoln Center “American Songbook”
4/16 – Indio, CA @ Stagecoach Festival