Small Town Heroes

This Crescent City crew's breakthrough LP could be called Inside Alynda Lee Segarra. Like the Coen brothers' Llewyn Davis, the Bronx-bred Segarra is a troubadour steeped in tradition and shivering on the road – see "Crash on the Highway," a boozy shuffle that finds her homesick in a German traffic jam en route to a gig. Her folk-roots music feels both ancient and modern, from the title track's drug-damaged characters to the gunslinging young thugs in "St. Roch Blues" and the heroine of "The Body Electric," a feminist rejoinder to lady-killing murder ballads. Segarra's supple, intimate vocals are about more than conjuring a musical past – she clearly wants to shape the future, too.

From The Archives Issue 1203: February 27, 2014