As leader of New Orleans-based Hurray for the Riff Raff, Alynda Lee Segarra's life could be a Tom Waits song. At 17 she ran away from her aunt and uncle in the Bronx and spent a few years riding freight trains around the country, finally settling in NOLA where she busked and played washboard. That rough-and-tumble pedigree comes through in the mix of sounds in Riff Raff's body of work, reflecting the musical melange of Segarra's adopted hometown: traditional folk and country collide with jazz, blues and zydeco.
Segarra will bring her smoky, wistful warble to Treefort Music Fest with an 8 p.m. solo performance at the Cathedral of the Rockies on March 25, and her band takes to the stage at The Bouquet at midnight.
While there's plenty of style to Hurray for the Riff Raff, the band's oeuvre is chock-full of substance: Riff Raff's latest release, Small Town Heroes (ATO Records, 2014) was ranked the No. 4 Best Country Album of 2014 by Rolling Stone, and the band has been recognized as a champion of LGBTQ equality and a staunch voice for women and people of color. For evidence of Riff Raff's depth, check out the video for "Body Electric." If you don't get chills, you're not plugged in.