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The Scooches (from the album Lift You Up available on On The Bol Records) (By Lee Zimmerman)
The Scooches are a decidedly eclectic combo. The duo, formerly known as Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, wisely abbreviated their name but not their larger ambition. This new album, under their new moniker, reflects a wide array of musical skillsets, from retro to rap, while offering plenty of verve and variety embedded in-between.
Consisting of singer and guitarist Betina Hershey, multi-instrumentalist Nick Russo (AKA Banjo Nickaru), drummer Harvey Wirth, and vocalist Miles Griffith — along with a host of like-minded musicians in tow — The Scooches exude a decided joy and exuberance indicative of a decidedly carefree approach. The zesty ragtime regalia of the tellingly-titled “What’s Meant to Last Will Last” and the jagged pace of “Spread Your Wings And Fly” typify that celebratory sound, and yet there’s also plenty of honest emotion imbued here as well, particularly in the quiet caress of the album’s three soulful ballads, “Leavin’”, “Run”, and “Open A Door” as well as their bold, brash and frenzied double take on the traditional spiritual, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round”, the latter a further connection to sounds of a vintage variety. So too, the emphatic “Stop This Climate Change” reflects current concerns in line with a similarly timeless template.
Hershey, who had a hand in writing all the original tunes, sets the tone throughout, her expressive vocals at the fore commanding immediate attention. Even a cursory listen to opening track “Lift You Up” makes that point clear. Happily, an occasional intrusion of spoken word recitation doesn’t distract from an otherwise upbeat intent.
So too, Russo’s fretwork is, as always, both supple and exacting. A masterful guitarist whose efforts extend to banjo, keyboards and bass, he’s an ideal accompanist, especially when left to his own devices. “I Broke the Egg” and “Let’s Grow Our Roots Deep and True” exemplify the dual dynamic he and Hershey share in tandem. It’s a sound spawned from both spirit and soul, making Lift You Up consistently true to its title. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of The Scooches from AMAZON
Please go to The Scooches website for more purchase and artist information
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