Hurray For The Riff Raff began when a teenage Alynda Lee Segarra started hopping freight trains across the USA to satisfy a yearning to explore its mythical small towns and backwaters and live a life on the road and the rail track. She left her native Bronx, New York at the age of 17, and while riding the rails she hooked up with The Dead Man Street Orchestra, a home-made family of young, itinerant music makers living on the edge of the American dream.
When the roaming was done she stepped off the box car and settled in New Orleans where she quickly embraced the city’s community of street musicians, who encouraged her to develop her own voice by singing old Jazz songs. Meanwhile she took up the banjo and was soon performing with many of the traditional bands that cluster the sidewalks of the French Quarter, playing and singing while learning from the music of the city she loves.
In 2007, Alynda and a rotating cast of like-minded musicians started playing in small clubs under the name Hurray For The Riff Raff. The band name is a celebration of the marginalized and a year later they started recording Alynda’s self-penned songs in an old shotgun-style house in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, just a few blocks from the Mississippi River. A year later they crossed the Mississippi to record in an actual recording studio. Two self-released albums It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and Young Blood Blues came out of these sessions – and this, their debut release outside their native USA, pulls together the best tracks from both those albums.
Influenced by the sounds of classic country, 1960’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, and master singer/songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams and Neil Young – Hurray For The Riff Raff has deep roots in the landscape of America. As the critic, Gabe Soria, an early champion of the growing New Orleans scene, says in the album’s liner notes: “make no mistake: this is folk music, but it’s got nothing to do with the legions of Americana pretenders out there. Ms. Segarra’s crafting something delightfully arcane and witchy with this recording here… these are hymns that channel the raw feelings and chronicle the lives of the fucked-up romantics of Hurray For The Riff Raff’s home by the Mississippi.”