One of the things I try to do with this blog is alert the public to music that may have flown under their radar. Whether I’m successful or not, I don’t know. Often the music that I highlight has flown under my radar as well, and it takes a band to email me their material before I ever even know they exist. That is not the case with Hurray For The Riff Raff, however. No, this was one of those happy accidents where you see a record, and just decide to grab it having no knowledge of its contents whatsoever.
To say a “happy accident” is a bit of an understatement. This self-titled full length is a great debut for the americana outfit from New Orleans. It’s a collection of two records they self-released over the past three years, and it is only available on Loose Music in the UK-no US distribution for a band that catches the essence of America so brilliantly, I feel like they should rewrite our national anthem. All the material is written and sung by Alynda Lee Segarra, who ran away from her home in the Bronx at 17, and travelled the country on freight trains (kinda like Bob Dylan used to claim he’d done, though he didn’t).
The way it all comes together brings me to a comparison that I’m not one hundred percent comfortable making, but it’s honestly what I hear when I listen to this album: Imagine if Fiona Apple had gone into country/folk music instead of pop. Segarra’s voice resembles the smokiness of Apple’s on tracks like “Little Things” and “Slow Walk.” Also, when people hear “music from New Orleans” they automatically think jazz or dixie or some combination of the two (or zydeco, I suppose). This music doesn’t sound anything like that. It’s closer in tone to appalachian hillsongs, but still holds true to the New Orleans vibe (cornets, accordion and banjo, but no trombone that I can hear).
In the interest of brevity, I’ll end by saying that if you take my recommendations even slightly serious, consider picking up Hurray For The Riff Raff. You won’t be disappointed in the least. It isn’t available in the US yet, but most of you are probably clever enough to figure out how to get a copy.