Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Love from Loughborough

Report from Loughborough, Leicestershire, Great Britain: When you are seriously jet-lagged and can laugh like this then it must mean you're in Loughborough, sock capital of Britain, land of giant wooden shoes, gorgeous flower displays, Maggie's laugh, Pete's minestrone soup, and a very soft bed. Day 1 augers well for the next 72! On our way to Doncaster to see Ray and pick up my posh Walsham-le-Willows dancing board kindly donated to the Jeni & Billy tour by Thomas  & Iain last year! Time for some flatfooting, folks!

Monday, April 27, 2015


Here we go! See you soon!

Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop

Surprise! Just in time to fly over the sea today, we have our newest new CD in our hands:
Jeni & Billy: Live from McCabe's Guitar Shop.
You can get it at CDbaby (link at the bottom). Hands down, my favorite versions of Tazewell Beauty Queen and Jewell Ridge Coal are on this new McCabe's Record!
Thanks SO MUCH to Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band for inviting us along on November 7, 2014, to open the show for them at this storied venue! And thanks to all of the folks in the audience who got into the family reunion spirit and laughed their heads off during the show! What a super surprise that Wayne Griffith, the brilliant sound man from McCabe's, recorded the show. Thanks Wayne! And thanks to everyone at McCabe's for making us so welcome.
This week, we've also released "Live in LA with the Big Picnic Band" - a music-only CD including ten songs across ten years of our Jeni & Billy catalog recorded live with the Big Picnic Band at the Pasadena Folk Music Society. This is my favorite Jeni & Billy record since Jewell Ridge Coal!
Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop includes seven songs across our catalog, seven stories, and an introduction, all on separate tracks, so you can make a songs only version. You can actually hear the audience get more and more tickled as the concert builds!
LIVEINLACDCOVER Both CDs are available on CD Baby! And at all shows . . .
Digital version of McCabe's will be up in the next day or two.
Ok, that's it! Time to arrange our luggage!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Paradise Festivus

Last night, was my first time moonlighting as a Paradise Picker :) Billy Kemp, Dougie Kemp, Jack DiPietro, and me! The fellas will be sitting in for the Paradise Song & a couple of Jeni & Billy tunes, tonight, at the Paradise Festivus. 6pm to be safe. Wear a hat & scarf, it's a bit brisk out there!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Swimming toward Baltimore

This little fish swam over to see Mom & Dad in North Carolina today on our way to Baltimore and decided to spend the summer with them. 

When it's too bright in the car to do admin on the iPad, it means the light is perfect for sewing. I loved sewing this yesterday. I've had this glass fish bead forever. Just remembered that I got it in Covent Garden in London. Finally thought of a way to use it in a nifty way. I love how things are like that. We aren't sure how they fit, but one day, voila!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Paradise, new cd, new book, new fan club!

Paradise Festivus in Baltimore on Saturday, New CD, New Book, New Fan Club! If you missed any of this news last week, you can check out our fresh off the cyber-press newsletter!

That's my Great grandmother, Narcie Smith, on the far left, and her best friend, Elsie Brown, in the cream dress. The "Elsie Brown" is just one of the many goodies we offer our fan club members (aka a nifty way to hear new and rare Jeni & Billy songs!)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Live in LA with the Big Picnic Band

A whole lotta happenings here! Just got our new CD in the mail. This is our favorite Jeni & Billy CD since Jewell Ridge Coal, no doubt, hands down. If you are in the USA or Canada and would like a copy before we head to England (imminently), I would be tickled to pieces to send you one (see instructions below!). One night only, last November, Jeni & Billy with the Big Picnic Band. Dave Way​ on bass, Dillon O'Brian​ on vocals, keys, and accordion, Denny Weston Jr.​, on drums, and Craig Eastman on everything under the sun. Check out the track list. if you ever wanted to hear Chicken Ridge with a the chicken-est sounding fiddle there ever was and percussion scratched out on a garden shovel, it’s in here. If you ever wanted to hear If I Ever Get $10 with that funky full band feel, right here. And, if you’ve seen our video for Reckoning Day, you have an an idea of how everything came together in this completely magical and crazy gorgeous way. Check it out for a sample of what's to come on this record:

Mixed by the incomparable magic ears of Dave Way (gasp! Soooooo thrilled) at the Waystation in LA. Mastered by the subtle and so so smart Jim DeMain (Amy Marie assisting) at Yes Master Studios​ in Nashville. 100% Jeni & Billy Big Picnic Goodness. Ten songs, no stories (that’s coming on another little thing), full speed ahead, down home, southern style, straight from the heart, authentic, original, Appalachian (with some sweet sparkles from Hollywood) music. 

Thanks to my Dad, Greg Hankins​, for helping me design the package. Thanks to the lovely Fur Dixon​ of the quick eye for the gorgeous photos. And thanks to Carolyn Baker​ for the sweet back cover photo which made the perfect chalk board for our song titles. Alison Moynihan-Eastman​ was my best gal in this fairy tale night (love you). Wendysue Rosloff​ and Ella Mae​ hooted from the audience with aplomb. Thanks to Mark Indictor​ and Patricia VanOver​ for being the masterminds behind the Reckoning Day video (sending love you two).

To order: USA folks send $17.50 to on Paypal. Canadian folks send $22.50 USD (horrible horrible postage costs, I apologize). Not a fan of Paypal or feeling old-timey today, send a check, just message me for the address and send it today ‘cause this train is heading to England very soon! Otherwise, we’ll have it at all concerts from here on out! Up on CDbaby/iTunes soon . . . ! Hugsssss!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Here our songs first, here!

Would you like to hear our new songs right after we write them? How about lovely songs that you've never heard because they just didn't find their way onto a record? If yes, go here:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Homeward Bound

On my way home to Nashville after two weeks at Mom & Dad's. It's nice how they are the best parents and didn't mind having me take over the house with cartoon drawings, little folded up versions of CD packaging, cups of tea, and scraps of fabric. And it was lovely of Billy to come pick me up -- a lot of driving for my Baltimore Boy, but he didn't mind a bit. Ten days to get packed up for Britain ... then the Paradise Festivus in Baltimore on the 25th, Dulles to London on the 27th! So thankful for this troubadour life!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Barbie visits Castle Greyskull

Happy National Siblings Day (who knew?) to my very own stellar sister who was perfectly glad to let my Barbies visit Castle Greyskull and who let me wear her cardboard TV last week. Tried (sorely by my one-time obsession with speaking through the body a little muslin puppet man), true (taking up for me in any battle against the forces of evil and green slime), and a darn fine actress, director, scholar, and teacher. I love you! 

My new book is now for sale!

I'm very happy to announce that my collection of tour reports “Reports from Out West: On Tour with Jeni & Billy, October - December 2014" is with the printer and will be delivered to Nashville next Friday, so I will be able to bring 12 copies with me to Britain! They are very heavy, so that’s all I can manage with the new CDs, too! They’ve come out very nicely and I am so grateful to everyone who encouraged me to collect my reports into a book!

So, if you are in Britain and would like to buy a copy, they will be £15. But since I will only have 12 of them, it would be great if you could let me know that you would like to me to set one aside for you in case I won’t see you until the end of the tour. OR you can even pay in advance by sending $22.50 (US Dollars) to via Paypal. Either way is perfectly fine if you’re not keen on Paypal.

Folks worldwide can order a PDF version for $10 that you can read on your computer/tablet/iPad (wherever PDFs are supported) online at Blurb. It looks fantastic in this PDF format and you can handily EXPAND the type for easy readability. I did try to keep the type fairly large throughout the book for ease of reading. eBook format is still in the works due to a technical glitch on their end.

Friends in the USA can order their own printed copy of my new book directly from Blurb by following this link:

I may order some more to bring to shows in the fall . . . but if you’d like one now, just follow the link. That link is also good for purchasing the PDF version.


P.S. If you pre-ordered (THANK YOU!), I sent out an email today with a link to my Dropbox where you can download the PDF version. I will mail your print version on Monday, April 20. Let me know if you didn't get the email. I used the email address connected to your Paypal payment.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bees & Toast

Hi everyone! Just buzzing around like bees, getting all of the new goodies ready for our tour in Britain and for the rest of the year in the USA. So excited. Also mountains (very, very tall mountains) of admin to do to gather up the threads of where we are going to stay, perform, and travel for 73 days in one of the kindest and most beautiful places in the world. Love our summers in Britain so much. Can't wait to see our friends! Back into the paperwork I go.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A little bird told me we are working on something new

Sending LOVE out to our friends and families today. Billy is in Nashville getting something sweet ready for our tour in Britain. I am here in NC with Mom & Dad working on this and that with Dad (see photo). Remembering Easter dresses with jingle bells, a little white purse with a dollar for offering, a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, and a daffodil that I would peek at during Easter service – the Lord of the Dance still in my head from Palm Sunday.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Song for Uncle Willard

Thanks so much for your kind comments and likes on the tribute post I wrote for my mentor, Uncle Willard (aka Dr. Bob Manning of Davidson College). You are wonderful and dear friends.

Many of you said you’d like to hear the song I wrote in his honor, so I have made a simple recording of it and you can hear it on Soundcloud. If you send me a direct message, I’d be glad to send you a annotated lyric sheet (PDF), since I’m not with you to tell you the stories behind the song in the traditional Jeni way :)

Last week, I spent a day, while on tour up in Chicago, reading about 17th century French scientists because Uncle Willard was writing a book on that topic when he went on up to the picnic. It seemed very fitting that such a remarkable and tireless teacher would continue to inspire me to read more and seek more. To you, Uncle Willard: how glad I am for my heart so that you can live there, always.

Song for Uncle Willard: Scientist, Philosopher, and Mentor
© Jeni Hankins 2015

If I could live in your study,
and read every book that you owned,
I might find a note in the margins –
a theorem of where you have flown.

‘Cause I’d like conjecture,
I’d like to work you into my proof,
and offer you a hypothesis
on how much I will miss you.

Add a girl who ran down the stairs
wearing two crȇpe paper wings.
Subtract any frowns, if she chanced to fall down,
‘cause we never dwelled on those things.

Add a thimble of stardust to share
to the power of three Yogi Berras.
Divide any doubts ’til the proof shakes on out.
Je pense, donc je suis and etcetera.

I hear you are mingling with stardust,
which proves that Fermat was correct.
Solutions we find are not always kind
when we wish they were magic instead.

Are you up there with tireless angels
moving the spheres all around?
I’ll be right here, sweeping sawdust and tears
’til your famous last theorem is found.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Call for Raggedy Ann

Throwback to:
It’s for you.
Are you taking calls?
No? Oh, I see.
I’m sorry, Raggedy Ann is busy getting Winnie the Pooh out of a honey jar.
May I take a message?
Yes, Raggedy Andy, I’ll let her know that you and the camel with wrinkly knees are on your way home.
See you soon. Bye.