Hurray for the Riff Raff

00:00 March 24, 2014
By: David Vicari

The strength of Hurray for the Riff Raff does not come solely from Alynda Lee Segarra's voice, which perfectly fits the tone and mood of their music, but the fact that her and her band are all so confident in their music, that they build off of old themes and songs when too many bands in the Americana genre seem content to just rehash and reproduce. On Small Town Heroes, Hurray for the Riff Raff build off many songs and concepts in the Americana canon, and they do so masterfully. "The Body Electric" which may be the emotional peak of the album, references old songs and new songs alike, addressing the issue of violence against women being desensitized in today's world. Segarra, has dedicated the song to the woman known as Damini, who was killed during a gang rape on a bus in Delhi in 2012. The track, which Segarra commented that she wrote after hearing a new song at a concert last year that was a murder ballad about killing a woman, references everything from Walt Whitman to Bob Dylan's "Delia." The band also plays with the old classic "San Francisco Bay Blues," turning it into the "The New SF Bay Blues," with the 'her' in the song referring to a tour van that's broken down, as Segarra sings "Well a woman's heart, is made from solid rock...And if you love her, she'll give you all she's got." While the band talks about many universal subjects, and pulls from many different Americana roots, they still have New Orleans written all over them. It's not just the shout-out to the St. Roch neighborhood or the reference to BJs on a Monday night either. The album, which is slower in tempo than their first album, easily plays all over the city. Bookend to bookend it makes for a good listen, whether it's blasting through the screen door as you sit in your Marigny shotgun, listening to it as you walk through the quarter to get to work, or being played on OZ as you drive around town. Hurray for the Riff Raff is no longer just a New Orleans band, but they still are very much rooted here.

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