Here at someofitistrue we became aware of Hurray For The Riff Raff when Spirit Family Reunion (TMDS#11) sang the band’s praises in an interview we did with them earlier this year. Since then we have watched and listened as the buzz around the band has grown through great live reviews and the release of album Look Out Mama – a record full of great tunes that not only justified the ’ones to watch’ tag, but also confirmed their arrival as an exceptional band.
Thanks to Brighthelmstone Productions and Loose Music the UK tour, that has seen them garner rave reviews from gig and festival goers, arrives in our home town of Brighton on Tuesday 11th September. We cannot wait to see the band in action and were also priviliged to get some of Alynda’s time to ask a few questions about the tour, the reception to the album and what we can expect from a Hurray For The Riff Raff live show.
Hi Alynda, How are things? Where are you all today?
Hello! We’re in Sheffield getting ready for our show at the Greystones, so far we love this town!
Am I correct in thinking this is your first tour of the UK? How is it going so far?
This is my second tour of the UK, last April I came here with fiddler Yosi Perlstein. But this is the whole band’s first time coming out here. So far we are having a great time, the shows have been packed and we’ve been really surprised!
Are you pleased with the reception for ‘Look Out Mama’?
The reception has been great, we’ve been treated really well out here. I’m excited to see some folks already have the album and know a lot of the songs. We were wondering how the shows would go over with a full band since English audiences have been known to be a little reserved, but folks are stepping up and have been giving us a great response.
Has anything specific changed between your first UK release ‘Hurray for the Riff Raff’ and ‘Look out Mama’? I have a perception that people believe there to be a marked ‘step up’ between the records (for the record, I love both!)
There were definitely some changes, we started touring a lot since the release of that last album. We were playing with Sam Doores and Dan Cutler and really working on our sound as a group. Playing with Sam and Dan affected my song writing, a lot more was possible and I wanted to challenge myself and write some songs out of my comfort zone. The three of us have very similar musical tastes, we all love old Gospel, Soul and Rock n’ Roll so it was very exciting to write some songs we could put to life.
Also meeting Andrija Tokic made me step it up a little on the song writing front, working with him was good for us because he challenged us when we needed it.
Is ‘Ramblin Girl’ autobiographical? Where is home nowadays?
Home is New Orleans, but with touring I am not there as much as I’d like. I am still moving around all the time, but it’s in a different way than I used to. A lot of writers are too wrapped up in the way I lived when I was 17, maybe that was apart of my mindset when I wrote that song. It’s kind of a goodbye to that part of my life.
You seem to have some of the ‘Ramblin’ spirit still intact – you guys seem to be one of the hardest working bands – how many gigs have you played this year?
Oh I don’t know, it’s up there though. We do our best to stay focused and play as much as we can while still having time for ourselves to practice, write and rest on our own. But we’re all falling in love with touring out in the UK, I have a feeling we’re gonna be touring a lot more now that we can come out here!
What can we expect from a ‘Hurray for the Riff Raff’ show?
A lot of songs from the latest album “Look Out Mama”, some old favorites for those who have the last one. We also have some new songs I’m really proud of, and our favorite covers that provide some good sing alongs.
I first found out about your band through Spirit Family Reunion (whom I saw earlier this year). There seems to be strong ‘grass roots’ support for bands like you and Spirit Family Reunion. Is this true?
There is a really amazing Folk/Roots music scene growing in the U.S., we have some really supportive folks who come out to see us out there. Thanks to the internet, the word is spreading and if you work hard at what you’re creating and tour a lot you can get a good fanbase. With all of the environmental issues we’re having in the U.S. like the drought amongst others, and the political divide that is so strong over there right now it seems people really want to hear music they can stand behind. They want music they know is heartfelt, they want to connect with you and believe you.
If Spirit Family Reunion recommended you, who would you recommend we look up next?
I love this question! First of all I’d say look up Sam Doores’ group with Dan Cutler that we toured with for about two years. They’re called Sam Doores and the Tumbleweeds. Also I’d say Morgan O’Kane, Feral Foster, and Shovels and Rope.
Now that the record has been out a while do you have a favourite song? What is about that particular track that makes it special for you?
I’m very proud of “Ode to John and Yoko” I worked hard at writing that one, it’s a lot of pressure to write about two people so well known. I also have been so inspired by John Lennon over the last two years that I wanted to give something back, so I did my best and I’m happy with the result.
We have a running question on the blog that we hope you will indulge us with……what are your three favourite Dylan records?
Haha, we were just listening to “New Morning” in the van! But that is not one of my favorites, though it’s got some gems.
Freewheelin’, Times are a’changin’ and Blood on the Tracks.
If you are in or around Brighton on Tuesday we wholeheartedly recommend that you check out these guys – the record is great and the live shows sound amazing – Hurray For The Riff Raff are definitely a band on the rise.
Thanks to Alynda and Julia for making the time to support the blog – it is greatly appreciated.
Tickets for the show can be purchased from here wegottickets.com
If you need a second opinion check out the sheer unadulterated enthusiasm the band generate in this review from Paul Hinckley Smith on americanrootsuk.com