Banjo Nickaru and His Western Scooches specialize in Country, Bluegrass, old timey, Western Swing, 20s/30s, traditional jazz, music of New Orleans, blues, tin pan, ragtime, world music & dance. We also play an eclectic mix of traditional genres, Blues, Gullah Geechee & World Music. We take genre & song requests.
Our band members have performed at such NYC venues as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, 55 Bar & around the world, including Japan, Spain, Brasil, Sweden, St. Kitts, Bermuda, Israel, Korea, Moscow, Omsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Academy City, Canada & across the U.S..
You can see our vocalist/guitarist in films: Disney's Enchanted & Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts. Banjoist/guitarist, Nick Russo appears in the Sam Mendes film, Away We Go, on ABC's Good Morning and playing banjo/guitar on pilot episode of the PBS cartoon, Peg & Cat.
Summer of 2013, Nick performed at Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin's place. It was an honor for Nick to meet Paul McCartney & jam with him while he played toy harmonica! Please feel free to view Gwyneth Paltrow & Stella McCartney's "An English Garden Party" video.
We have over 48 CLIENT REVIEWS (All 5 Star) between our 4 EPKs. Here are a just a few:
"Betina and her husband, Nick were completely fantastic at our wedding. Nick was able to play classical guitar at the ceremony, and also to arrange a piece from one of my favorite movies on guitar as the processional. They were able to accommodate a wide range of music, rearranged pieces creatively, and really just wowed the crowd at the reception. We got tons of comments on how fantastic they were and I'm sure they will get more gig offers from our friends. Also, they spent hours on email and the phone with us prior to the wedding, confirming every detail. They made every announcement I requested, and did everything with a smile. Love them! "
Quinn D. Wedding in Stockbridge, MA 07/27/2013
"Nick & Betina performed as a duo for our daughter's wedding welcome party. The venue was Cooperstown, New York on July 4th. Nick & Betina arrived in patriotic garb (they asked our preference & were happy to comply) and provided an evening of true American music from bluegrass to patriotic to old-timey. Musically, they were excellent. Professionally, they were on-time, cordial & accommodating to our needs & requests. They provided a true Independence spirit for a true American locale. We would definitely hire them again. A number of NYC residents intend to seek them out at performances in their area. Thank you for making our evening great!" - Cynthia B. Celebration in Cooperstown, NY 07/04/2013
Nick and Betina were the absolute best thing that happened to our wedding reception! Our guests are still raving about the music. Both Nick and Betina went out of their way to make sure that everything was just as we wanted it. They even accommodated some new songs that we sprung on them at the last minute. They also added a Sax/Clarinet player that was outside of their normal band, he was amazing! This whole ensemble was truly great. Their professionalism and helpfulness truly went above and beyond. I simply cannot say enough good things about them and would hire them again in a second! The videos posted here do NOT do this band justice, they're truly amazing. -Lyman T, 10/22/2011, Wedding Reception, Lakeville, CT
Nick Russo is the most accomodating musician you could ever hope to work with. He honored every song request we asked for. He went above and beyond when he and his wife helped me compose an original song for my husband as a surprise. He then accompanied me on the song at my wedding. People couldn't stop talking the entire night about how amazing the song was. His talent is phenomenal. The feel his musicianship lent to the cocktail hour & ceremony was one of elegance, sophistication, fun, uplifting, and beautiful. I highly recommend him to any future bride, not just for his talent, but for his warm and inviting personality as well. Thanks Nick! Jessica & Paul Bartels
-Jessica A., Wedding Cocktail Hour in North Bergen, NJ 6/10/2012
"Nick was extremely accommodating, and suited our smaller event with only one of his "scooches", who was also an amazing musician. They played to a party full of amateur and pro musicians, and were extremely accomodating to both - great session guy! In addition to top-notch musical talent, he kept the party humming with a warm and welcoming vibe and made our party a really memorable and AWESOME event! Lot's of great feedback from all who were there! I would heartily recommend him for any event, large or small!!"
- Judy L.
Fundraiser in Poughkeepsie, NY on 05/04/2013
Simply put, this band rocks. The musicians were prompt, professional, personable and most of all incredibly talented. All of my guests commented that they loved them and at least 50% of my guests asked where I had found them. Very fun music.
- Fernando J A; Birthday Party in Weston, CT on 9/6/2014
Nick Russo (banjo),
Betina Hershey Russo (voice, guitar)