Hurray for the Riff Raff Gets Loose

Hurray for the Riff Raff singer Alynda Lee Segarra.

Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Lee Segarra. Photo by Brady Fontenot.

Hurray for the Riff Raff will have a busy spring. Apart from appearances at Jazz Fest and South by Southwest, the group will be getting its first international exposure thanks to an upcoming compilation on the UK label Loose Music.

“It’s a compilation of the two records that we’ve done, our favorite tracks,” says Riff Raff leader Alynda Lee Segarra. “It should be coming out at the end of March.”

Known for its spare, plaintive and tuneful amalgamations of Appalachian and Louisiana folk musics, Hurray for the Riff Raff has built a loyal following around New Orleans with two self-released LPs, It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and Young Blood Blues.

The Loose Music project began humbly; a friend of the band wrote to Loose Music, thinking the two might be a good fit. “They listened to it and they liked it and they got in touch with us after that,” says Segarra.

To maintain some consistency with Riff Raff’s current sound, the majority of the Loose Music release will come from their 2010 record, Young Blood Blues. “It’s hard for me not to hear a huge difference in my voice between the first record and the second one,” says Segarra. “I sound so much younger.”

Riff Raff’s plans for 2011 don’t end here. They’re in the early stages of work on a third album. “We’ll get to work after the [Loose Music] release,” says Segarra. “So far it’s just a lot of ideas. We hope to record sometime in the spring, but first we’re working on the songs.”

Riff Raff’s first two records focus on a stripped-down, banjo and accordion-centric sound, but they plan to branch out on the new album. “I have a lot of new songs that really require a full band,” says Segarra. “We’re trying to do a little swamp pop. We’ll have horns sitting in on a few of the songs. There will definitely be more guitar and more fiddle.”

The Loose release’s packaging will include a narrative, photo-based collage by Segarra. “I got to make this timeline of the entire Riff Raff lifespan,” she says. “All of our friends that helped us along the way and a lot of old shows.”

Above all, Segarra is glad to have found a label for the group to work with, even if it’s on another continent. “We haven’t really had much luck with American labels,” she says. “So far [Loose] has been really great to work with.”