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Small Town Heroes, Hurray for the Riff Raff

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Alynda Lee Segarra grew up in the Bronx, and was raised by her aunt. With little definition to boundaries, she was taking the subway at age thirteen to the Lower East Side to become part of the Punk scene. By age seventeen and feeling stifled even in the expanse of New York City, she left school and hit the road. Crossing America, sometimes by hopping freight trains, her voice became accompanied by traditional sound. That voice rekindles the spirit of Pete Seeger, using folk music to lend protest and insight to the plight of tattered hearts and souls across our land.

‘Blue Ridge Mountain’ brings a sound and vision from the hills of old Appalachia. Continuing along the generalization of life on the road are songs like ‘Crash on the Highway’ and ‘The New SF Bay Blues’. I was carried by the daunting drum beat of ‘Crash’ into the scene of an accident up ahead and how the time passed waiting allows deep reflection. Having crossed the line in the past, I was reminded of the sorrow of looking at life behind bars in ‘Good Time Blues’. The album was recorded in New Orleans, and this iconic birthplace of much American music shines in ‘No One Else’. Questioning the violence in today’s world, ‘The Body Electric’ is dedicated to a 2012 gang rape victim in India. Life on the Road can lead to many addictions, and ‘Small Town Heroes’ shares the bumpy path of never getting enough love. ‘Forever is Just a Day’ is told in the style of John Prine, and carried by a haunting fiddle to set the stage.

Some of my favorite music brings back the images of dusty trails, rail cars, farmer’s fields and wayward souls. Hurray for the Riff Raff follows the ways of Gillian Welch and Levon Helm in providing the right backdrop to tell these stories.

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