Check out our live version of Freight Train on WFUV.

Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches is a most unusual NYC band.” – John Platt

We love WFUV! I’m a NYC girl, born in Manhattan, raised in Queens, and I’ve always listened to WFUV and John Platt. I got to play on WFUV for John Platt once before. I sang harmony on some Jack Hardy tunes and played some of my own before the 20th Anniversary of Fast Folk concert at the Bottom Line.

This time I was the with my husband Nick Russo as a part of our project Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches.

We played on Sunday April 9th on Supper Sunday, and John Platt was such a delight. He really loves music, is full of knowledge and questions, and has such a warmth.

Then the following Tuesday April 11th John Platt had us as part of his On The Radar series at Rockwood Music Hall.

What a treat!

And here’s what John wrote about us…


Betina Hershey

Banjo Nickaru and “Sunday Supper” host John Platt (photo by Jeremy Rainer)


Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches is a most unusual NYC band. Led by banjo/guitar player Nick Russo and singer-songwriter Betina Hersey, they have an appetite for all kinds of music: folk, blues, country, 1920s and ’30s pop and jazz, and roots music in general, expressed in both originals and cover songs.

Their real wild card is a Gullah-Geechee accent brought by percussionist David Pleasant. Pleasant wasn’t with them for this visit to Studio A, but they did bring veteran percussionist Newman Taylor -Baker on washboard and Neal Murgai on sitar.

Listen to what they add to Elizabeth Cotton’s classic “Freight Train.” This is a band that must be heard to be believed! Check them out in this fun session or at Rockwood Music Hall on April 11 for “On Your Radar.”