Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round

Today Dr. David Pleasant flies up from Georgia to join us NYC based Scooches for a jam at our house that we will capture on video and tomorrow for a recording session, bringing his Gullah-Geechee rhythms and his activism to the song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round.”   

We have recorded one version of this powerful song for the album already. David will lead us to create a live version steeped in activism and history, with his deeply researched and lived awareness of the struggle for equality and justice. 

David playing the drum set he created

Our first version of “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round”  was developed together with musicians Miles Griffith on lead vocals, Harvey Wirht on drums, Mamadou Ba on bass, Nick Russo on guitar, Betina Hershey (that’s me) on supporting vocals, and Ra$hCa$h rapping. The rhythms and voices are jubilant. The joyfulness of this first version can lift spirits even as we know that we must keep bringing justice, freedom, and understanding to the forefront, says Miles Griffith. How can we constantly make change if we can’t find the pockets of celebration? This is a point of contention with David, who says we need to keep focused on the seriousness of the black struggle against racism, not lose our drive celebrating what hasn’t fully come to pass.

Which version will be on the album? Possibly both, says Nick Russo, guitar/banjo/arrangements/producer. I can’t wait to see how we continue to bring our music, histories, and visions together to make something impactful.

David’s Spirit & Rhythms

This isn’t David’s first flight to join us. David flew up the first week of January to add his Gullah-Geechee stomping, harmonica, and his drumming to many tracks on our upcoming album Lift You Up

Watching David work is spellbinding. He immerses himself in the music, as most of us aim to do, but there is a power, a uniqueness, a sense of guttural cries about to surface at any moment, that seizes attention and brings me to the core of music and meaning.

Have you seen David’s TED talk yet?

You must have seen our Get Us Out Of Fearland video from our 2018 album release! David’s rhythms are what inspired me to write that title song for album, during a living room hang before a show in Boston. 

Lift You Up Songs

The songs we are recording now for Lift You Up are full of connection, the need for change, and ways to lift ourselves back up:

  • climate change (“Stop This Climate Change”)
  • gun violence (“Run”)
  • believing in ourselves so that we can work towards true freedom for all (“Spread Your Wings and Fly”)
  • and yes, also relationship stuff, including “I Broke The Egg”
  • and “Leaving,” a song about leaving our kids behind as we set off on the road to tour. We might be leaving, but we are definitely coming back!

Gratitude

This album taking shape makes me want to dance, weep, chuckle, and proudly claim it as my own. 

It wouldn’t sound the way it does without the thoughtful and talented musicians that fill my songs, the ears and vision of my husband and band co-leader Nick Russo, and Nick’s “cousin” Lenny at Soundtronics capturing our sound. 

For all of these wonderful beings, I am grateful. They lift me up, just as I hope our album will Lift You Up when we release it this coming April!

  • Betina Hershey, composer/guitarist/vocalist/scooch

Will you be at Folk Alliance? We decided a bit last minute, but we’ll be there as a trio version of The Scooches (Miles Griffith, Nick Russo, Betina Hershey – me)! Let’s connect there, or here in NYC, or online.

Have you checked out our new The Scooches YouTube Playlist and our @TheScooches YouTube Handle? We’re recording lots of videos and expect to be posting more of them as we gear up towards are album release!

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