Hurray for the Riff Raff will release 'Small Town Heroes' in the UK through ATO Records on 31st March. Produced by front-woman Alynda Lee Segarra and engineered by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), 'Small Town Heroes' features 12 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.?
Following the release of their new album, 'Small Town Heroes' at the end of the month, New Orleans-based Hurray For The Riff Raff will be coming to the UK for a string of live dates in May:
19th May - St Pancras Old Church (Sold Out)
21st May - Night & Day, Manchester
22nd May - Hoxton Bar & Grill, London
23rd May - John Peel Centre, Stowmarket
Segarra, a 26-year-old of Puerto Rican descent whose slight frame belies her commanding voice, grew up in the Bronx, where she developed an early appreciation for doo-wop and Motown from the neighborhood's longtime residents. It was downtown, though, that she first felt like she found her people, traveling to the Lower East side every Saturday for punk matinees at ABC No Rio. "Those riot grrrl shows were a place where young girls could just hang out and not have to worry about feeling weird, like they didn't belong," Segarra says of the inclusive atmosphere fostered by the musicians and outsider artists who populated the space.
The Lower East Side also introduced her to travelers, and their stories of life on the road inspired her to strike out on her own at 17, first hitching her way to the west coast, then roaming the south before ultimately settling in New Orleans. There, she fell in with a band of fellow travelers, playing washboard and singing before eventually learning to play a banjo she'd been given in North Carolina. "It wasn't until I got to New Orleans that I realised playing music was even possible for me," she explains.
"The community I found in New Orleans was open and passionate. The young artists were really inspiring to me," she says. "Apathy wasn't a part of that scene. And then the year after I first visited, Katrina happened, and I went back and saw the pain and hardship that all of the people who lived there had gone through. It made we want to straighten out my life and not wander so much. The city gave had given me an amazing gift with music, and it made me want to settle there and be a part of it and help however I could."
Many of the songs on 'Small Town Heroes' reflect that decision and her special reverence for the city. She bears witness to a wave of violence that struck the St. Roch neighborhood in the soulful "St. Roch Blues;" yearns for a night at BJ's Bar in the Bywater in "Crash on the Highway;" and sings of her home in the Lower Ninth Ward on "End of the Line." "That neighborhood and particularly the house I lived in there became the nucleus of a singer songwriter scene in New Orleans," she explains. "'End Of The Line' is my love song to that whole area and crew of people."
NPR has said that Hurray for the Riff Raff's music "sweeps across eras and genres with grace and grit," and that's never been more true than on 'Small Town Heroes.' These songs belong to no particular time or place, but rather to all of us. These songs are for the riff raff.