The name Hurray For The Riff Raff doesn’t immediately ring the folk and especially not the country bell. But the band from New Orleans certainly sounds like it. ‘Look Out Mama’ is the fifth (!) album of the band. It is an excellent record, and it will appeal to the fans of American roots particularly.
Centerpiece of the band is singer, and creative force, Alynda Lee Segarra, who after a boisterous youth has developed herself into a leading lady with style. Segarra has Puerto Rican roots but in recent years has completely immersed herself in traditional American music. She now sounds like one of the best from the Nashville Country scene.
As befits a band from New Orleans, Hurray For The Riff Raff limits itself not traditional folk and country, it takes all the influences of this cultural and music melting pot. Where most music from New Orleans these days is about the misery and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (hint: must read the beautiful book Zeitoun by Dave Eggers), Hurray For The Riff Raff returns more than once back to the 60s. The album cover carries the picture of Segarra’s father as a soldier in Vietnam.
Songs on the album feature surefire psychedelic accents with here and there a surf guitar. It blends perfectly with the traditional and generally acoustic roots music. On top of that Hurray For The Riff Raff is not averse from pop which makes it a lot more accessible than the above might suggest. The more poppy songs slide Hurray For The Riff Raff in the direction of 10,000 Maniacs, but the band can also make music which Gillian Welch wouldn’t be ashamed of.
‘Look Out Mama’ is produced by Andrija Tokic, who also produced the acclaimed debut of Alabama Shakes earlier this year. Despite the fact that the two bands make completely different music, you can hear similarities. Hurray For The Riff Raff is also inspired by the musical traditions of the Southern states and gives it its own quirky, contemporary twist to it. To make the comparison complete, Hurray For The Riff Raff has a front woman who sets the tone. Lovers of a steaming mix of folk, country, blues, bluegrass, cajun, honky tonk, soul, rock and pop will embrace this album, no doubt. Do not touch it if you have an allergy for country. All the others should have a listen. It is a fascinating and glowing album. The more you listen the better it gets.
For those who want to read the original post in Dutch click here on dekrentenuitdepop.