Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches | Very Next Thing

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Folk: Progressive Folk Country: Old-Timey Moods: Type: Vocal
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Very Next Thing

by Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches

NYC based Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches: perhaps the only band infusing Gullah-Geechee rhythms with folk, roots, 20s, country & originals "...tuneful, occasionally raw, but unfailingly high-spirited" London Times "..the old is new again" NY Music Daily
Genre: Folk: Progressive Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Freight Train
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
3:29 $0.99
2. You Are My Sunshine
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
2:35 $0.99
3. I'm Gettin' Married
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
2:49 $0.99
4. I Don't Believe in Love
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
2:48 $0.99
5. Jock-a-Mo
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
3:04 $0.99
6. Nobody But My Baby Is Getting My Love
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
4:32 $0.99
7. Sweet Georgia Brown
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
3:25 $0.99
8. Ain't Misbehavin'
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
3:40 $0.99
9. When the Red, Red Robin
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
3:40 $0.99
10. This Little Light of Mine
Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
3:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
NYC based Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches is perhaps the only band infusing Gullah-Geechee rhythms with folk, roots, 1920s, country and originals.

"...tuneful, occasionally raw, but unfailingly high-spirited." London Times

"Their sound is totally retro - yet completely in the here and now, another case where the old is new again." New York Music Daily

Gullah-Geechee was developed by Africans on the islands and coasts of Georgia and South Carolina centuries ago. They introduced traditional instruments (banjo, fiddle) and novel playing styles. Drums were banned—so they used their hands, feet, stick, and mouths to create drum sounds. This strong influence on the band gives a distinct sound. Dr. David Pleasant plays 8 out of 10 songs on percussion that have Gullah influence. David is an esteemed African-American culture bearer. He uses his body, voice, and a drum set made of tambourines.
"This powerful and strong influence for our band brings spiritual energy to our shows," says Nick Russo. "My musical life has always been surrounded by an eclectic combination of unique musicians and scenes. So naturally, my own band has been a melting pot of many different cultures, genres, instruments, and sounds!"

We see our music as a way to create positive social and environmental change. Our positive relationship with each other, our music, our community and our audiences inspires a deeper awareness of racial equality, peace, love and healthy environmental and nutritional consciousness.

Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches' strong Gullah-Geechee influence connects with it's roots of African American activism.
The group's percussionist, Dr. David Pleasant, is a trailblazer in Gullah-inspired music-- a writer and activist impacting our audiences and fans where ever we travel.
Scholar Juanita Jackson said way back in 1973: "The Sea Islands offer us an excellent opportunity to study the 19th century roots of contemporary black activism." It is also the birth place of many Civil Rights folk anthems., such as "Oh Freedom!" And " Pay me my money down".

“Nick Russo has worked with artists all over the jazz spectrum. His latest release brings a decidedly unorthodox approach.”

Songs and Stories

"My mom used to sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and I loved singing harmony with her. She passed away three weeks after Nick and I got married and she’s had a huge influence on my musicality since she loved country, bluegrass, and so many genres of music," says Betina.
"‘I Don’t Believe in Love’ is a saucy flirtation of a song. I do believe in love, but it creates all kinds of pressure. By the way, we didn't get married in Spain, but we did have a musical honeymoon there."
"Elizabeth Cotten's ‘Freight Train’ had to be our first track,” says Nick. “The vibe Betina creates with this tune with my added slide fills, and David's harmonica playing creates a beautiful texture. The way Elizabeth Cotten sings and plays guitar is a masterful part of our country’s African-American heritage.


Nick Russo leads the charge as bandleader and composer. He plays banjo, resonator, and guitar. Russo had the honor to play with Sir Paul McCartney while performing at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s home. Nick has performed on ABC’s “Good Morning America," appears in the Sam Mendes film “Away We Go" and performed with the late greats Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles, Sony Dallas and many others. Russo has been a sideman with Vince Giordano & The Night Hawks and continues to be a sideman with Antonique Smith, Gordon Au's Grand St. Stompers. Mona's Hot Four, Dandy Wellington's Band, Efrat Shapira, Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra, Anastasia Rene and many others.
Percussionist and composer, Dr. David Pleasant has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Cecil Taylor, and many others. He has also performed on Nickelodeon, TED talks, ABC with Ted Koppel, Broadway, and around the world.
Betina Hershey (vocals, guitar) has appeared as a principal dancer in Disney's
Enchanted and Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts. Hershey performed on international and national tours of Broadway shows including “West Side Story” and “Phantom of the Opera" and has been the director of Garden Player's (in Queens), writing an original children's musical every year for the last 11 years.
Rounding out the band is Miles Griffith. His non-traditional use of the voice as a percussive instrument, combined with an uncanny harmonic sense makes a singular force in the ensemble. He has performed with Max Roach, Reggie Workman, Paul Simon, and others. He played the lead role in Wynton Marsalis' jazz oratorio ''Blood On The Fields,'' which premiered at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.



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