Hurray for the Riff Raff: Racket 2024

Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Segarra (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)
by Kara Manning | 05/06/2024 | 12:01am

Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Segarra (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)

It's been a decade since Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Segarra and their band first paid a visit to the station, around the time that Small Town Heroes was released, a character-driven collection of songs that turned traditional murder ballads inside out, lashed with banjo and heartbreak. The Hurray for the Riff Raff albums which followed, including 2017's The Navigator and 2022's Life on Earth, firmly established the Bronx-born, New Orleans-based Segarra as a muscular lyricist and visionary, seizing upon elements of roots-rock, folk, hillbilly country, Big Easy blues, and punk, all punctuating their vivid tales of redemption, restless wanderings, and release.

Hurray for the Riff Raff connected with FUV again in early March of this year, for a concert at Racket in Manhattan that was hosted by Alisa Ali. The show was especially meaningful, given Segarra's powerful new album, The Past is Still Alive. The album's development began barely a month after the death of Segarra's father, and the themes and trails that intersect are passages of railroads and dusty roads, the scourge of addiction, indigenous persecution and the buffalo, queer agency, campfires, and departed friends. It's nearly operatic in scope, a searing American testament to these times, vividly brought to life with Segarra's poetic lyrics.

With Segarra on guitar, the singer-songwriter and their band —  Yan Westerlund (drums), Nnamdi Ogbonnaya (bass), and Parker Grogan (lead guitar) — played a focused and fierce 12-song set for FUV's Marquee Members, drawn mostly from The Past is Still Alive. Watch videos below of three of those songs: "Alibi," "Hawkmoon," and "Snakeplant (The Past is Still Alive)."

[Recorded: 3/4/24; Engineered by Jim O'Hara, produced by Megan Offtermatt. Video team: Caitria Demeroto, Adithi Vimalanathan, Therese Burgo and Bella Lipayon]

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