Considering I do this as a hobby, it sounds crazy to say, but I cannot stand music journalism. I recently read a piece where the writer breathlessly describes what the artist he interviewed had for lunch and what kind of tobacco he chewed. It must have been the guy's first time in a diner or something because the artist is not exactly a superstar...not that somebody's penchant for grilled cheese is fascinating fare regardless of who eats it. (That being said, George Bush's painting jag is the best thing that has happened in the world.)
But American Songwriter's profile of Alynda Lee Segarra is worth a read. It's crazy for me to believe that somebody with as sharp a pen and as powerful a singing voice as Segarra ever felt self-conscious about her music. I'll let you read the story yourself, but it's a powerful reminder that songwriting, like any craft, isn't something you're just born with. Sure, some people have more innate talent than others, but if you want to stay in the game you have to constantly self-educate.
Although the rest of the world may have been astonished by Hurray For the Riff Raff's previous albums, it's clear that Small Town Heroes is Segarra's personal stamp on her music. It's a slow album, to be sure, but that seems to make sense from Segarra's roots in busking. While it's easy to let your brain glide over Segarra's softspoken guitar, her lyrics have a depth that require multiple listens. The highlight of the album for me is "Levon's Dream" -- I can hear the ghost of Patsy Cline standing over Segarra's shoulder. I can't wait to play it for my students and then tell them that country singer is from their zip code.
Hurray For the Riff Raff -- Official, Facebook, Purchase