Private Events

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.

Nick did such an amazing job – he totally knew what we wanted and delivered it in style!! Joanie B. Wedding in East Brunswick, NJ – 10/10/2010
Highly professional and accommodating. They were wonderful. Francine K. Memorial Day Party, Glen Cove, NY – 5/30/2011
Extremely nice to work with, very professional. wonderful range of music. Iris L. Private Party, Montclair, NJ – 10/15/2011
Did a really great job! I love the talent and professionalism. Will definitely with them again. Reggie M. Studio Session, New York, NY – 3/26/2011
They were great! Eva S. Club Event, New York, NY – 3/8/2011
Nick did a great job and was exactly what i was looking for during my event. Cheryl I. Bar Mitzvah, Woodbury, NY – 9/5/2009

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 are self contained, play acoustically and/or provided our sound system. An outdoor battery operated amp and microphone for your officiant, toasts and speeches is also provided.

5 stars


All of our reviews have received 5 star ratings, where 5 is the highest rating

Breezy Point, NY

Michael B.

Hiring Nick and Betina for our wedding was a decision I would make a thousand times over. They not only played absolutely beautifully, but they also had incredible energy, charisma, and such chemistry between everyone in the band, keeping everyone going all night.

They accommodated our every request, from learning new songs (with incredible arrangements), to adjusting their volume levels to suit the differing demands of the Mothers.

I would recommend them for every event. Even now, months later, people are still complimenting us on our choice, and asking where they could catch more gigs! It was truly an honor to have them play for us.

ON 9/7/2014

North Bergen, NJ

Jessica A.

Wedding Cocktail Hour

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!

ON 6/10/2012

Stockbridge, MA

Quinn D.


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!

ON 7/27/2013

Old Lyme, CT

Lesley C .

Wedding Cocktail Hour

Nick was extremely professional and patient throughout the planning process. We hired him and an accompanying musician for our cocktail hour and a half. His expertise was obvious, and the outcome was highly enjoyed by all of our guests.

It ended up being horrible weather for an outdoor reception, and when we arrived at the Florence Griswold for our photographs during the cocktail hour, Nick was all set up under the tent in what appeared to me to have been a seamless adjustment.

Although the weather didn’t cooperate with my vision, the specific musical elements I planned were flawless thanks to Nick.

ON 05/25/2013

Long Island City, NY

Joseph B.

Wedding Cocktail Hour

Nick and his trio were the hit of our wedding cocktail hour. So glad we were able to have them as a part of our day. They played an excellent selection of music which was exactly as we had discussed prior to our event.

Our guests are still raving. He was extremely professional, and an all around nice guy! I would recommend him to anyone looking for live entertainment that will certainly impress the guests. He is versatile and can accommodate almost any request.

ON 07/20/2013

Oyster Bay, NY

Jennifer L.

Art Gallery Opening

This group was overall wonderful to work with. Their musical talent was very diverse and tight. The guests really enjoyed the music, and getting to talk to them after the show and our party was really complete with Banjo Nickaru and the Western Scooches. We’ll definitly be having them back again here at Planting Fields. Nick was very thorough and easy to work with leading up to the event and the planning. Great group of people!

ON 04/04/2013

North Bergen, NJ

Erik B.

Wedding Cocktail Hour

Nick and the guys were truly first-rate. From our first contact to the time we said goodbye, our experience was everything we could’ve asked for. Prompt, professional, and of course, phenomenal music.

These guys are superb artists and come highly recommended. Thank you for helping to create such a memorable evening.

ON 6/10/2012

New York, NY

Mary K.


Nick was a pro from start to finish. He was able to work within my budget and was flexible in terms of the playlist, etc. He really made the party special and I would recommend him to anyone.

ON 03/06/2013

Roxbury, CT

Kathleen P.

Birthday Party (Adults)

We were completely pleased with Nick and his group. Their music was wonderful, exactly what we had hoped for. They were friendly, prompt, accomodating. I would hire Nick again with pleasure.

ON 7/17/2011

New York City, NY

Pam J.

Corporate Function

Crowd pleaser! Everything went very well, according to plan. Most folks at my office (about 100 or so), said it was the best year-end event we ever had, and that the music made all the difference! The band members were pleasant and professional and the music was great.

ON 12/20/2011

Bethany Beach, DE

Ben L.

Wedding Reception

Betina and Nick were the perfect fit for our small beach wedding. They did a great job accommodating our requests, and working them into the reception in a way that demonstrated an experienced capacity for reading the crowd in real-time. Betina and Nick learned and performed a new song (and one that’s a little outside of their usual genres) just for us.

Their willingness to do this, and the quality of their execution, made our wedding all the more special. If you’re looking for a flexible, low key, down to earth singer or combo for your affair, please consider giving Betina Hershey Russo your business.

ON 6/5/2010

No Place

No Name

I was extremely impressed with Nick Russo Trio. They were very eager to please and knew just how to please my guests. They are creative and superior musicians. I am a professional musician myself and certainly know quality when I see it.

They were getting a great deal of applause from my guests and everyone kept asking me where I found them. They added class and a great deal more to the party. The selection of music was excellent! Bravo!!!

Nutley, NJ

Cindy Tirrell

Celebration, Surprise Anniversary Concert for her husband

The Nick Russo Trio made my event very special. I had imagined what I wanted the evening to be and they exceeded my expectations making it a night we’ll always cherish.

ON 5/20/10

St James, NY

Claire B.

Retirement Party

Nick Russo’s troup was fantanstic!!I received lots of compliments about the music and they were very accomodating in leading our ‘mardi gras’ themed parade!!! Great group!!!

ON 11/6/2010

New York City, NY

Rebecca & Chad


Dear Nick,
We have such wonderful memories of our wedding, especially of the spectacular music that you played!  Everyone just loved it.  Thank you for being on time and for playing such great music.

We included a couple of great photos that our photographer took of you guys that day.  Thought you might enjoy them, too!
Thanks again,

ON 2008

Englewood, NJ

Tammy E.


Due to my budget, I hired Nick Russo as a Duo for my cocktail hour. I was completely floored with how good they sounded. My venue was set up in a way that the Duo performed on a balcony overlooking my guests. At first many didn’t realize the music was live and thought it was a cd playing in the background! They were that good!

He played Brazilian Jazz & Bossa Nova to go with my Latin themed wedding. He was a really nice man, real easy to work with and the vocalist had the voice of an angel. I was 100% satisfied and would recommend this group to ANYONE! Thanks so much Nick, you truly made my cocktail hour the talk of the town.

ON 6/27/2009

Robbinsville, NJ

Talia & Jared Sapp


What an amazing band! Their unique blend of funk/jazz/blues makes them an unforgetable band. You can tell that they care about their music and have respect for each individual they play for. We have seen bands all over the country and this is by far the best band we have seen at a wedding, not even close really.

The guests at our wedding were from all walks of life and age and everyone commented on how great the band was and how they have never enjoyed a band at a wedding this much before. Bottom line is that the Trio rocks! We truely couldn’t have been happier and love the band! Thank you to Nick and the bandmates!

ON 8/29/2009

Philadelphia, PA

Laura T.


Banjoist, Nick Russo played our beloved Monie’s memorial service. At 100 yrs of age, it was moving to have music which she loved. The music & his respectful demeanor was needed to remind us of what she taught us to be happy. The ease in arranging for him to play was effortless & took a great deal of worry out of my mind.

When his trio began after service with a gentle wail of a trumpet seamlessly coming from heaven, celebration of life began. With his fabulous music we found ourselves gently & joyfully dancing with our ancestors. Thank you for making what might have been a sad & solemn experience a joyful remembrance. I recommend Nick for any of life’s celebrations.

ON 10/5/2007

New York, NY

Nicole Diamant

Private Party

Nick Russo Trio was a delight to work with. They were accommodating, easy-going, and took the time to fully understand what we needed for our event. They definitely contributed to the success, and I would be happy to work with them again in the future.

ON 4/9/2010

Little Rock, AR

Andrew F.

Nick and Betina played at our wedding outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Simply stated, they were incredible. They worked closely with us throughout the planning process and were very flexible and accommodating.

Their energy, style, range, chemistry, and fun-loving nature were major contributions to creating a special atmosphere during our wedding. Our guests were extremely complimentary of their unique sound and impressive talent, and my wife and I would highly recommend them for other weddings!

ON 10/10/2015

New York, NY

Sung-Hee K.

We loved Nick and Bettina and the whole band. They were extremely talented, accommodating to all of our requests, and most importantly of all pleasant, friendly people.

When the atmosphere at this party of adults got a little slow they even organized a square-dance for us to do. Everyone loved it! All of the guests commented on how great they were! Would definitely hire them again, and would recommend them to everybody.

ON 9/12/2015

Spring Lake, NJ

Alyssa M.

Wedding Cocktail Hour

Our wedding could not have been as spectacular as it was without the incredible talent exhibited by the Nick Russo Trio. As lovers of nearly every genre of music, my wife and I chose The Trio for their flexibility, ingenuity and ability to read and react to their audience.

Not only were they a highlight of the evening, but Nick came to the rescue when the house PA system failed us providing us a timely solution, ultimately saving the cocktail hour. All technical praise aside, the Trio are simply fantastic musicians, masters of their craft, and it is my pleasure to recommend them to anyone who asks.

ON 9/24/2011

Cooperstown, NY

Cynthia B.


Nick and Bettina performed as a duo for our daughter’s wedding welcome party. The venue was Cooperstown, New York on July 4th. Nick and Bettina arrived in patriotic garb (they asked our preference and 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 and accommodating to our needs and 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!

ON 07/04/2013

New York, NY

Cindy Y.

Birthday Party

Nick and Betina were awesome at my 40th birthday party! They sang all our requests, learned a couple new songs for us, and had a great attitude all night. The arrived early, made sure everything was set up, and everybody loved the music.

It was an amazing night, and they really helped set the tone for the whole party. They were so easy to work with and we would highly recommend them. Thanks again, we definitely hope that we have another chance to book them/see them perform in the future!

ON 6/21/2014

Aquebogue, NY

Kathleen N.


The Nick Russo Trio was very professional, courteous, and proactive in setting up all necessary arrangements. Communications were clear and anything that we wanted in terms of music – instrumental, vocal, mix, genres, volume – was accommodated.

The musicians were warm and friendly, played very well, and the singer had a beautiful voice. We wanted jazz and it was just perfect. Pricing was great too. I would definitely recommend the Nick Russo Trio.

ON 05/21/2013

New York, NY

Stephanie M.

Corporate Function

My experience booking the Nick Russo Trio was seamless. I got immediate response from him and he was accommodating with all our requests for play list and attire. He was very thorough and checked in prior to our event, which I appreciated.

We got very good comments from our client and the guests regarding the entertainment. Nick and his Trio helped to make our event a success. I would highly recommend them. We were honored to hear the great Charles Davis as well. All the musicians were stellar. (Nicholas Russo, guitar; Charles Davis, sax & Essiet Essiet, bass).

ON 01/15/2013

New York, NY

Ashley J.

Engagement Party

Nick was amazing, so accommodating and very sweet. The band was professionally dressed and was a lovely addition to the party. They sounded great and had an eclectic mix of music. I would definitely hire them again! 🙂

ON 12/17/2011

New York, NY

Ashley J.

Engagement Party

Nick was amazing- so accommodating and very sweet. The band was professionally dressed and was a lovely addition to the party. They sounded great and had an eclectic mix of music. I would definitely hire them again! 🙂

ON 12/17/2011

New York, NY

Ismail C.

Wedding Reception

We hired Nick Russo Trio for our wedding reception on 18 june. In addition to multi-talented Nick on the guitar and his lovely wife Betina on the lead vocal, they also had a great male vocalist who sang great classical American songs. The band is very professional.

They accommodated all our song requests and had a great three-hour performance. We strongly recommend the trio and hope to hire them for similar important events in the future.

ON 6/18/2011

Bellport, NY

Teresa P.

Art Gallery Opening

Nick Russo was very accommodating and was eager to please. The beautiful music created by 3 people will leave you questioning, how did they do that? With a very eclectic guest attendance, Nicks music was able to satisfy all levels of musical tastes and rhythms. Definitely a crowd pleaser!

ON 6/11/2011

Brooklyn, NY

Apryl G.

Birthday Party (Adults)

Hi Nick.
I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you and your trio for all your amazing music!!! Everyone is still commenting on how wonderful the music was!!! I hope that you got that feeling when you were here!

I filled out the review, there wasn’t enough space to rave about how happy I was with your trio. Hopefully you will get to read it.
Take care and hopefully we can make more music together in the near future.
Thanks again!

ON 10/23/2010

Brooklyn, NY

Apryl G.

Birthday Party (Adults)

Hi Nick.
I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you and your trio for all your amazing music!!! Everyone is still commenting on how wonderful the music was!!! I hope that you got that feeling when you were here!

I filled out the review, there wasn’t enough space to rave about how happy I was with your trio. Hopefully you will get to read it.
Take care and hopefully we can make more music together in the near future.
Thanks again!

ON 10/23/2010

South Dartmouth, MA

Peter A.


A wonderful group! On both occasions – our wedding and a 70th birthday party event – gave way beyond what we asked. With a whole array of instruments, they turned themselves into a New Orleans jazz band for the wedding, picked up and moved location without a murmur, filled in awkward gaps caused by late guests … they were sensitive, helpful, accommodating, generous, and played with enthusiasm and a rare degree of musicianship and inventive genius.

Our guests were delighted and very impressed with the music, which created exactly the mood we were hoping for and enhanced the occasion to a memorable degree. They are unbelievably talented, obliging, charming and FUN!

ON 9/7/2007

Stratford, CT



Nick, Weekenders can’t wait to have you back as we thoroughly enjoyed
your music and selection of songs. What a great extra to have the
lovely voice of your wife, Betina in addition to your own musical

I have and would recommend you to anyone as dealing with you was a
pleasurable experience!

ON 8/30/2009

Tarrytown, NY

Meg Y.

Corporate Function

I found Nick Russo to be both very talented and very willing to adapt to the needs of my event. It was extremely easy to work with him and his guitar playing was extraordinary. I highly recommend him.

ON 9/13/2009

New York, NY


Private Party

Hey Nick,
Thank you for that amazing evening! You are all such wonderful
musicians. The party was a huge success because of the music they
played. You guys are amazing and am I looking forward to listening to
the next gig 😉

[below is the e-mail Cecilia sent out to the guests of her party]
Hey everyone,
 Thanks again for coming to the party and making it such a big hit! For those of you who asked about the music, Nick’s details can be found below.
  He and his band play at various venues in NYC so check it out. I need to speak no more for you saw it for yourself how amazing these guys are!!!

ON 10/17/2009

New York, NY

Jane T.

Corporate Function

Nick Russo was extremely professional and warm. His guitar playing was very enjoyable to our employees and I am still getting compliments on how much they like it. I would definitely hire him again.

ON 9/20/2010

Wyckoff, NJ

Susan F.

Birthday Party

We had a wide range of ages at our birthday party (from 1-year-olds to octagenarians) and everyone loved the music. They added an upbeat atmosphere to the party without taking over. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire them again for my next party. Thanks!

ON 11/15/2009