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Thursday, 27 February 2014 08:36

Charting the Music: Hurray for the Riff Raff, 'Small Town Heroes'

Charting the Music: Hurray for the Riff Raff, 'Small Town Heroes' facebook.com/hurrayfortheriffraff
Written by Travis Dettmann
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From the Bronx to New Orleans, Hurray for the Riff Raff proves that finding a place to call home is most important in "Small Town Heroes."

Although "Small Town Heroes" marks the move to a major label, Hurray for the Riff Raff hasn't forgotten the past seven years of blood, sweat and tears. Alynda Lee Segarra and gang are back with 12 new tunes full of truthfu observations.

88.1 KDHX Chart Position: #3 Adult Album Alternative, #4 Americana and #4 CMJ Top 30 for the week of February 25, 2014

Record label, release date and producer: ATO Records released "Small Town Heroes" on February 11, 2014; it was produced by Alynda Lee Segarra.

Can be heard on: Mystery Train with Tim Rakel, Backroads with Stacy and Bittersweet Melody with Allen Dahm.

RIYL: Shovels and Rope, Cat Power and Dark Dark Dark.

Hometown: The Bronx, N.Y. but originally from New Orleans

Standout tracks: The opening track "Blue Ridge Mountain" is as fresh and uplifting as the first breath taken from the cool air full of morning dew. "The Body Electric" is a retort to the classic "Delia's Gone," but this time Segarra is "settling the score." The sorrowful "St. Roch Blues" hits close to home, referring to a particular stretch of violence in a New Orleans neighborhood.

The artist: Alynda Lee Segarra spent her youth attending punk shows and hopping freight trains cross country after running away from home at the age of 17. She found serenity in Louisiana and began playing washboard for the band Dead Man's Street Orchestra. In 2007, after taking up the banjo she formed Hurry for the Riff Raff. With Yosi Perlstein on violin and drums, the group performs as full band also incorporating musical saw and accordions.

This label: New York City native According to Our Records (simply known as ATO) has been in the business since 2000. Dave Matthews and Coran Capshaw, manager of the Dave Matthews Band, founded the label to focus on artistic quality with attention to detail rather than quantity and deadlines. ATO houses talented artists of varying genres including Primus, Alabama Shakes and Gogol Bordello.

Play it while: Accepting your next destination via a rusty boxcar on a freight train.

What the critics say: "What Hurray for the Riff Raff have delivered with 'Small Town Heroes' is a collection of songs that speak from and for the heart of America’s fringe, calling them both to task and arms. Its singer has found a home and sense of being for her voice – a voice capable and deserving of a population larger than the album’s title." Eric Risch, PopMatters.

KDHX coverage: Robin Wheeler reviewed the Shovels and Rope/Hurray for the Riff Raff extravaganza at Off Broadway on February 25, 2014, with visual documentation provided by Kate McDaniel. "Small Town Heroes" made John Wendland's (of Memphis to Manchester) list of "Most Anticipated Albums of 2014."

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