Hurray for the Riff Raff

  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
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Photograph: Michael J. Chen
Hurray for the Riff Raff perform at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island on July 27, 2013.

Alynda Lee Segarra, the 27-year-old Bronx-reared singer-songwriter behind blues-folk collective Hurray for the Riff Raff, taught herself music through immersion in Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Her education continued in New Orleans, where she sang and played washboard and banjo on the streets after running away from home in 11th grade to hop freight trains. The 2014 release Small Town Heroes, HFTRR’s debut on a legit label (ATO Records) after six self-releases, is the latest chapter in an answer that could go on for decades. Dwelling comfortably within the framework of a bygone era, Segarra’s sound doesn’t directly reimagine roots music. She sings with a worn-denim beauty that evokes Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams