2018-08-01 / Front Page

Get Us Out Of Fearland Album Release Concert: Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches

BY ROSE RENSELEER

(L. to r.): Nick Russo and Rob Morrow.



Photos Aidan Grant(L. to r.): Nick Russo and Rob Morrow. Photos Aidan GrantBanjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, a band led by Queens residents Betina Hershey and Nick Russo, recently had an NYC album release concert. Their album, available at their concerts, will be released widely this September, with the title track set to be released the first week of August. Videos are available on their website and Facebook, and give you a taste of the thrill. After enjoying the videos, make sure to go see them live. June 14 at Drom, NYC, was one of their biggest and most exciting shows yet. The band reached #2 in the International Folk DJ Charts in April, and has been getting excellent reviews from magazines such as Elmore Magazine.

“I’m so impressed,” said opener Rob Morrow, the Emmy/Golden Globe nominated actor. “They really took it to another level. Live, these guys are extraordinary. It’s just magical, the proficiency and the expertise. Getting up on stage with them at the end for that finale was like going to church! It was pretty cool!”

(L. to r.): Miles Griffith and Stephanie Rice.
(L. to r.): Miles Griffith and Stephanie Rice. Celebrating their new album, Get Us Out of Fearland, which No Depression dubbed, (L. to r.): Nick Russo, Betina Hershey, and David Pleasant.
(L. to r.): Nick Russo, Betina Hershey, and David Pleasant. “Americana music at its purest and most impressive,” was the first time all of the musicians on the album had a chance to gather together, their combined energy and styles creating unique moments for each song. The show started with singer Betina Hershey, banjoist Nick Russo, and percussionist David Pleasant playing acoustically through the audience and onto the stage with a song reminiscent of the 1920s and New Orleans.

Other unique moments included the power of “Dandelion,” with Hershey’s soaring vocals (L. to r.): Betina Hershey, Miles Griffith, and Rob Adkins.
(L. to r.): Betina Hershey, Miles Griffith, and Rob Adkins. and the aching and celebratory gospel vocals of Stephanie Rice and Miles Griffith singing “break down that wall!” “Run,” dedicated to victims of gun violence, featured the core duo with Hershey’s light fingerpicking and Russo’s banjo played as a drum. Betina Hershey playing “I Don’t Need No Glasses” through the audience at the start of the show, followed by Nick Russo and David Pleasant.Betina Hershey playing “I Don’t Need No Glasses” through the audience at the start of the show, followed by Nick Russo and David Pleasant.The band’s rollicking rendition of “A Hundred Miles,” a train tune from the 1800s, featured fiddle veteran Kenny Kosek. Closing the show, Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches brought up everyone from the entire night, along with special guests, for their sing-a-long “Park Song” and “This Little Light Of Mine” with David Pleasant’s Gullah-Geechee rhythms and shouts rising above.

(L. to r.): Emiliano Valerio and Kenny Kosek(L. to r.): Emiliano Valerio and Kenny Kosek“Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches brings Cajun jazz, blues, gospel, and Americana roots together in a way that inspires an emotional reaction,” said industry veteran Pat O’Connor. “I’ve seen a million live shows, and Banjo Nickaru is one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen; up there with early Springsteen, early Counting Crows, and Langhorne Slim.”

Opening acts included singer-songwriter Devon, accompanied by her brother Christian, a warm pair who previewed songs from her forthcoming EP, Songs From The Back of A Bar, followed by Morrow, who treated the appreciative audience to a half dozen songs including his new single, “The New, New Face” before asking Russo to join him on a spirited take of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”

Quite simply, Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches are a refreshing celebration of music, culture and artistic expression, a soul-replenishing revival that will boldly carry us out of fearland and into heaven.

(Locally, Hershey runs Garden Players, a musical theater program for kids, which has a (L. to r.): Banjo Nickaru, ft. Nick Russo, Betina Hershey, Art Hirahara, Miles Griffith, Stephanie Rice, Harvey Wirht, and Rob Adkins.(L. to r.): Banjo Nickaru, ft. Nick Russo, Betina Hershey, Art Hirahara, Miles Griffith, Stephanie Rice, Harvey Wirht, and Rob Adkins.website of the same name and runs from September-May, writing an original musical for the kids to perform, six of which have been published and performed all over the world. Russo teaches guitar, banjo, ukulele, and drums to students of all ages and talents and can easily be found performing somewhere in NYC almost every afternoon and evening. Visit banjonickaru.com.)

Return to top

Copyright 1999-2018 The Service Advertising Group, Inc. All rights reserved.