#Newsflash | Forest Hills Band Hopes Music Helps the Environment
BY QEDC It's In Queens
This Queens-based folk band has received some high praise lately.
“Americana music at its purest and most impressive,” writes Roots Music journal No Depression.
“A band that has to be seen to be believed,” relates John Platt from WFUV.
Syndicated radio show WoodSongs adds: “A fearless melting pot of rhythmic banjo, slide guitar fused with Gullah Geechee tambourines, beautiful female country lead singing and harmonized calypso vocalizations.”
The Scooches, which is spearheaded by Forest Hills married couple Nick Russo and Betina Hershey, has just released Stop This Climate Change to honor Earth Day (April 22). The single is a poetic call-to-action fraught with cataclysmic imagery, but infused with hope. It’s also a fundraiser as a portion of its proceeds will go to the tree-hugging Sierra Club.
“We hope to inspire people to make change joyfully,” said Hershey, a long-time Sierra Club donor.
Stop This Climate Change is available now on Amazon, Apple, Bandcamp, Pandora, Spotify, and other major streaming platforms. It’s part of Lift You Up, which hits the airwaves on June 1 and becomes purchasable on July 14. The 13-track album includes the playful, Country break-up song I Broke The Egg, the Gospel-tinged Leavin’, and the rollicking Bluegrass-driven Let’s Grow Our Roots Deep And True, which is about finding home.
Russo, a multi-instrumentalist who favors strings, and Hershey, who sings, plays guitar, and lets the groove carry her all over the stage, founded what’s now The Scooches as Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches in 2016. They hit it big with the 2018 album Get Us out of Fearland, which reached number two on the International Folk Alliance Chart. Over the years, they have performed at the Kansas City Folk Festival, Club Passim, Blue Plate Special, and WFUV, while sharing the stage with such artists such as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Jerry Garcia, Julia Roberts, and Wynton Marsalis.
Along with the spouses, steadfast members are Harvey Wirht (drums) and improvisational vocal dude Miles Griffith, while Brooklyn spoken word spitter Ra$h Ca$h, Aditya Phatak (tabla), Mamadou Ba (bass), and percussionist/vocalist Dr. David Pleasant are frequent guests.
A summer tour will be announced soon. In the meantime, the band’s next big gig is at Zinc Bar in Greenwich Village on Friday, June 2, at 7 pm.
Hershey also regularly produces works via her directorship of the Forest Hills-based Garden Players Musical Theater Program For Kids. In that capacity, her next show is Switch It Off, a musical comedy about technology she wrote with indefatigable Queens College professor Sunny Knable. Shows are at the Forest Hills Community House at 15 Borrage Pl. on May 20 and May 21.
Images: The Scooches