That can be the only explanation for my ignorance of the existence of Hurray for the Riff Raff aka Alynda Lee Segarra.
My introduction to her/their talents was rather serendipitous.
A random email arrived asking if I would be interested in reviewing the album, and then it went on to say that there was an Alabama Shakes connection as it shared a producer.
While I was reading the email I had Alabama Shakes playing so while I'm not one to to claim that everything is mapped out it did seem fateful.
A stars aligning moment if you believe in that sort of thing.
Within a few minutes the music was washing over me.
It's beguiling stuff.
Midway through it I was hooked.
Describing themselves as a country folk band seems to downplay just how good they are.
It's a niche that they have one foot in, but there's far more going on.
Similarly to claim they were just another Americana act would fall short of covering the talents on display.
There's a great deal of depth in the material.
There's history there.
It's tremendously evocative of a time and place that doesn't exist in any sort of reality, and instead is a pot pourri of the sounds of the highways and byways of America, the sweat of the land, the births and deaths of generations.
There's something of the mountain tracks and fresh clean air, the vista splitting asphalt that divides deserts and runs to the point where the earth meets the sky.
It's all there.
It sounds like the slow and easy heartbeat of the US.
Not the corporate marching drum beat, but the real sound of the people.
While listening to it I'm filled with hope.
Hope for the future, hope for the generations to come.
I also hope that one day far far in the future that kids are sitting in a history class and feeling the weight of the evils of the world pressing down on them, and one comes forward and says 'I found this in a time capsule buried in my back yard' and the class listens to it and as the last note rings out a voice of a kid says 'The world wasn't as bad as the paint it eh?'
This isn't on the album, but instead it comes from a free covers album that was released as an extra for those who pledged towards 'Look out Mamma'.