Hard Luck Café: The Scooches
March 20 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
The Scooches (thescooches.com) will take the stage during the monthly Hard Luck Café concert series co-presented by the Folk Music Society of Huntington and the Cinema Arts Centre (423 Park Avenue, Huntington) in the Cinema’s Sky Room on Wednesday, March 20, from 7pm-10pm.
An open mic, for which sign-up is at 6:30pm, precedes the concert. Tickets are $25 ($20 for Cinema Arts Centre/FMSH members) and can be purchased online at cinemaartscentre.org or at the box office now through the evening of the event.
The Scooches electrify audiences with an eclectic mix of Roaring ‘20s, global folk, blues, gospel, New Orleans jazz, Americana, and more. Curated sets of toe-tapping, hand-clapping music leave audiences with no choice but to dance along. The Scooches’ performances are like master classes in musicology that embody joy and excellent musicianship.
Led by vocalist Betina Hershey and multi-instrumentalist Nick Russo, The Scooches, formerly known as Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, assembled a world-class lineup of musicians from New York, Suriname, Sapelo Island (Georgia), Mexico, and the Caribbean on their 2023 album release, Lift You Up. The 12-song collection builds upon the exuberance that made 2018’s Get Us Out Of Fearland the #2 album on international folk radio (according to charts compiled by Folk Alliance International) and Very Next Thing (2016) a transcendent breath of fresh air.
Inspired by the current social climate, the songs on Lift You Up — including “Stop This Climate Change,” “Spread Your Wings and Fly,” and “Open A Door” — call upon society and the human race to believe that we, collectively, can make a difference — a change for the better.
“A heart as big as the sky…full of high energy and higher spirits.” — Elmore Magazine
“This is a band that has to be seen to be believed.” — John Platt (WFUV)
“Americana music at its purest and most impressive” — No Depression
Harvey Wirht, Nick Russo, Betina Hershey, and Milles Griffith of The Scooches
The Scooches will perform on March 20 in quartet configuration; member bios are below:
Nick Russo leads the charge as bandleader and composer. Russo plays guitar, banjo, and resonator and has appeared on Good Morning America as well as the Sam Mendes film, Away We Go, and was a sideman with the greats — Jimmy McGriff, Teddy Charles and Sonny
Dallas. Russo had the honor to jam with Sir Paul McCartney while performing at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s home; he regularly accompanies Antonique Smith and Jon Batiste, and recently performed for actor/comedian/composer Jim Dale in Jon Weber’s band.
Betina Hershey appears as the principal dancer in featured films–Disney’s Enchanted and Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts. Hershey performed on international and national tours of Broadway shows such as West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks, and
Pump Boys & Dinettes, to name a few. She composes music and plays guitar.
Miles Griffith’s (vocals/scats) non-traditional use of the voice as a percussive instrument, combined with an uncanny harmonic sense, rounds out the band beautifully. He is a composer and has performed with Max Roach, Reggie Workman, T.S. Monk, Barry Harris 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.
Harvey Wirht (drums/percusstion) has performed alongside Grammy Award artist Angelique
Kidjo, appeared on The Jay Leno Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, the NAACP Image Awards, Good Morning America, and
the Peace Ball for the inauguration of President Obama. He has also performed at the Kora Awards with Best East African Artist Winner Eric Wainaina and Lionel Loueke. He tours internationally with renowned world music artists, and with his own musical projects.
Photos by Aidan Grant