New York City's Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches are likely the only band infusing elements of world rhythms and sonorities with folk traditions, New Orleans influences, and music from the 1920s. Their forthcoming sophomore album, Get Us Out Of Fearland, due June 15, builds upon the multi-cultural exuberance that made their debut, Very Next Thing, a transcendent breath of fresh air. Elmore Magazine championed its “Remarkable musical dexterity with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition,” with revered tastemaker station WFUV adding, This is a band that must be heard to be believed!"
"This powerful and strong influence for our band brings spiritual energy to our shows," says co-founder/musician Nick Russo. "My musical life has always been surrounded by an eclectic combination of unique musicians and scenes. So naturally, this band is a melting pot of many different cultures, genres, instruments, and sounds. My dream is that people of all races and origins live, play and share all our different world musics and cultures together as one united race, without fear…one love!”
While the band’s debut featured a “Unfailingly high-spirited” mix of traditional fare culled from various cultures, the new 9-track opus showcases mostly original material, with the lone cover, a lively rendition of “A Hundred Miles," the rollicking fiddle-fueled train tune from the 1800s. The remaining eight songs were penned by vocalist Betina Hershey, “Songs are always pouring out of me. Some I catch, and some slip out past my lips and float away. With the help of a cast of music mates, these songs linger so beautifully, with textures that I hadn’t even imagined.”
Highlights of Get Us Out Of Fearland include the playful 1920s verve of “I Don’t Need No Glasses,” the warm lilting embrace of “I Wish The World Knew Why,” the organ-driven, gospel-tinged “Dandelion,” featuring special guest singers, Stephanie Rice and Charenee Wade, and “Soar,” an inspirational song filled with optimism, determination, and perseverance. These qualities soar skyward throughout the 25-minute journey but none more so than on the boisterous groundbreaking title track, which features improvisational vocalist Miles Griffith, known for his work with Max Roach, Paul Simon, and Reggie Workman, and percussionist/vocalist, Dr. David Pleasant, a singular talent who has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Cecil Taylor, and Paul Simon.
To support the lead-up to the release of Fearland, Russo and Hershey, along with accomplished percussionist Emiliano Valerio, who appears on four songs on the album, will play fifteen showcases at the world renown Folk Alliance International Conference, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary, February 14-18, in Kansas City, MO. Last year, the group was a breakthrough act at the conference, receiving a special invitation to open the main stage of the Kansas City Folk Festival.
“Unfailingly high-spirited.” London Times
"This is a band that must be heard to be believed!” WFUV
"Americana music at its purest and most impressive." No Depression
“It's unlike anything most listeners will find elsewhere.” San Diego Troubadour
“Remarkable musical dexterity with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition.” Elmore Magazine
"Get Us Out of Fearland” https://youtu.be/eBjU_0TyBnw
“I Wish The World Knew Why” https://youtu.be/_nUIaxzjoKc