Monday, December 19, 2016

See you in 2017!

Wishing you a beautiful Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year! I am heading out of internet range for the next two weeks. See you in the New Year. I plan to be more in touch 2017 than I have been as of late. Thank you for all of the kind notes, calls, and emails of friendship over the last few months. Hugs!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Coffee Gallery

Jeni with Craig & Ali Eastman at The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena at 2pm today! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Radio in Davis

Thanks to Bill Wagman for inviting Craig and me to KDVS yesterday morning! Rainy day in Napa, but all cozy in the barn for our concert to benefit the East Napa Valley Watershed Alliance...and a new song written just for the occasion!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Next up, San Mateo

Next up on the Way Out West Tour, a house concert in San Mateo hosted by the wonderful Steve Eulberg! Wednesday, Oct 26! I hear there might be some dancing....

Saturday, October 15, 2016

First concert, Way Out West

2200 miles in the world's cutest rental car and here I am in Los Angeles! First concert of the Way Out West Tour tonight at The Living Tradition in Anaheim. Come along!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Jeni with Craig Eastman Tour Dates

Way Out West 2016

Hello Friends, 

I hope this note finds you enjoying cooler days and the promise of autumn colors.

It’s time for the Way Out West tour. This year the tour is happening in two parts. Billy played at the Conway Public Library on Thursday night (I’m sorry I didn’t get out the newsletter before that!) and he will be giving another concert at the Fort Stockton Public Library in West Texas on Tuesday, October 11th. Then he’s coming back to Nashville to work on a production project that he couldn’t pass up!

I am heading out to California and our great friend and collaborator, multi-instrumentalist and champion fiddler Craig Eastman, will join me on that tour. Craig’s wife and my best pal, Ali Eastman will also join us for several songs bringing together the Red Shoestring Band again for a second year! I’ll also be playing a few dates on my own. You can see our website for details about the show line-ups. 

I’ll have our new CD, “Heart of the Mountain,” with me, as well as Tea Towels, Tote Bags, and T-shirts!

See you soon!!

Jeni & Billy too

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Happy September!

Hi Friends! Jeni and Billy are taking the month of September off. So, I won't be posting on social media. Lots of songs to write and banjo tab books to make. But these red shoes will click us back to the internet in early October. So, Happy September to you! See you again soon and I hope you have a beautiful month ahead full of music and magic.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Goodbye Dad

Report from I-40, on the road to Smith Ridge from Nashville: On Saturday, up on Smith Ridge, my family, friends, and the people of the Friendly Chapel Church will celebrate the life of my Dad, Greg Hankins. I will sing Polishing Stars -- the last song that I wrote while in a musical conversation with Dad. We'll sing two of Dad's favorite hymns, Lord of the Dance and In the Garden. His best friend from college will speak about him and my sister will read a poem. Our friend Dwight will read Dad's favorite Bible verses. And we will put some of Dad's ashes in the family cemetery next to Pawpaw Avery and Mawmaw Narcie. 

People all over the world will be enacting a similar ritual at the same time. And for all of us, these motions will be a goodbye among goodbyes. 

I say goodbye to Dad every time I reach for the phone to ask him a question or ask his advice. I say goodbye when I hold a piece of leaded type in my hand or thumb through the last book he gave me. Dad is everywhere except in his body anymore. And the admixture of goodbyes with the hello of discovering his voice in me, makes for an entirely new walk with Dad.

Thank you so much to all of my friends who have sent condolences and encouragement. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Smith Women, August 21 2016

The Smith women after the Jeni & Billy concert in JOHNSON City, Tennessee.  Kim Agner, Bonnie Agner, Ann Shreve, Princess Casey, yours truly, Bethany Burke, and Rachel Agner. I love you all! These are the people who have taught me about storytelling. And that's the "Mawmaw" I always talk about in concerts - ANN Shreve. And that is THE Aunt Bonnie of the "Ask Bonnie" feature in the newspaper insert in the new CD. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

September tour to be rescheduled

Wonderful friends and fans, we have had to cancel our September tour because I have a virus which affects my mouth and the medication I was prescribed for it is making me sick, but I do have to take it for the next three weeks to shake this this thing.

I had to give this decision serious thought over this past weekend, but I've had the virus since May, done two very intense tours while coping with it, and I think I need to face the fact that I'm only going to get better with rest and the right medicine.

We will do our best to reschedule these appearances!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

East Tennessee

Here we are in the all American town of Johnson City, Tennessee, and tonight, we'll play at the Bluegrass and Bayou event at Saint John's Episcopal Church. But first we'll play some gospel songs for the service. How wonderful to be a singer and lifting my voice up this morning!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Love the land

Will we love the land like our beloved or will we scar it with our greed? One of my essays from our travels out west in the Napa Valley is sadly still relevant today. The people of the watershed continue the fight to save their mountain from decimation. Solidarity, Peter and Annette.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nashville, it's been a while

Back home in Nashville for just a day or two before our Jonesborough and Johnson City, TN, concerts this weekend. The first time I've set foot in the house in four months and two days. First time coming home and seeing Dad in everything. Taking refuge in laundry and unpacking. Wrote a new song this morning. And I'm remembering that Dad being in everything means that he's right here wherever I am, always. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ruby Slippers

How very fine to have a rest, write a new song, and see Dorothy's ruby red slippers again. Sending love to you all and wishing you a beautiful week ahead.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jeni takes a break

Hi friends! I'm taking a week off to do some writing, reading, and sewing. And, I'm taking a break from all but essential email and social media, too. Thanks to everyone who has written, called, and spoken with me about Dad. I've been so grateful for the chance to honor him in songs and stories this past week. He would have been tickled by it all. Have a great week and see you next Sunday! 

P.S. I didn't sew this. Isn't it great -- a vintage handkerchief belonging to my good friend Olive. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wise owl

Finishing up a wise owl cushion for our house concert tonight in Kennett Square. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hanover Tavern

Getting ready for our concert at Hanover Tavern as part of their Virginia Heritage Music Series! Music from 7-8. Come along. P.S. We have tea towels from Britain, while supplies last, as well as tote bags and t-shirts! Tea towels and tote bags are $10 each. T-shirts are $20. Add $4 postage if you'd like me to mail one to you. Pay by PayPal to or by check (write me for the address). 

Folkworks Review of Heart of the Mountain

The first review of our new album, Heart of the Mountain, by my fellow songbird Susie Glaze! Twenty-seven tracks including songs, spoken word, and instrumentals. Available at shows or via PayPal if you send $24 to Will be on CDBaby and iTunes in a couple of weeks. If you go via PayPal, let me know if you'd like it signed and how.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Tour

Please join us for our mid-Atlantic tour which starts tonight in Marriottsville, Maryland. We have a new record and many new songs to share with you. And I will be honoring my Dad and all that he did to inspire me to find my calling.
07/30, Marriottsville, MD, Soup & Song
08/01, Fredericksburg, VA, Music on the Steps at the Library
8/03, Hanover, VA, The Hanover Tavern Viriginia Heritage Music Series
8/06, Kennett Square, PA, Private House Concert
8/14, Arlington, VA, Private House Concert
8/15, Richmond, VA, Private Event
8/19, Jonesborough, TN, Music on the Square
8/21, Johnson City, TN, Bluegrass & Bayou, Saint John's Episcopal Church

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nothing Lasts Forever, Except Our Song

The week before Dad passed away, I was working on a love song – part of a songwriting challenge I've set for myself over the last month. Though it's still a love song, a lot of Dad ended up in this song. He was my best friend. Everyone can download this song and story, no need to be a member of the fan club.

"I'm glad I have a heart, though now it's broken.
I hope another door will open.
Until then, I'll be strong."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thanks to the Pilot Newspaper. Dad loved being a newspaperman.

The Heartbeat of This Community:’ Seven Lakes Residents Mourn Loss of Newspaper Publisher

In his 20-year ownership of the Seven Lakes Times, Greg Hankins’ formal titles of editor and publisher were only the tip of the iceberg.
The death Sunday of the newspaper’s proprietor — and lead reporter, ad salesman and delivery man — leaves a void in the Seven Lakes community that those who knew Hankins suspect may never be filled.
“He was just a great guy who’s going to be sorely missed in the Seven Lakes community,” said John Whelan, owner of Whelan Realty. “People for the last three months have been wondering if we’re ever going to have the Seven Lakes Times again.”
In April, Hankins and his wife Marcy — his high school sweetheart and right hand in the myriad tasks, from photography to proofreading, involved in producing the biweekly paper — suspended publication while he received treatment for acute myeloid leukemia at Duke University Hospital.
He died at his home on Sunday at the age of 59.
Seven Lakes business owners and civic leaders have commended the Hankinses’ dedication to covering the gamut of local happenings: Kiwanis pancake sales, Easter egg hunts, homeowners’ meetings and county government. Over the years, the couple became as much a part of the Seven Lakes landscape as the water features from which it takes its name.
“You’d see them walking quietly through the crowd, getting information, taking photographs, getting names,” said Pat Weber of the Women of Seven Lakes. “We miss his overalls, we miss his hat, we miss his smile, we miss his beard, we miss everything there is about Greg Hankins.”
Nick Picerno, chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners, appreciated the even-handed approach to journalism that was Hankins’ trademark.
“I knew that politically we were not on the same page; he was one one side and I was sort of on the other, but I trusted Greg,” he said. “I’d always enjoyed reading the Seven Lakes Times because it always seemed to have a lot of factual knowledge. You didn’t see a lot of spin.”
Hankins bought the Seven Lakes Times from Ruth Sullivan in the late 1990s after moving to Mount Gilead a few years earlier to run the Montgomery Herald with his father. Though he studied religion in college and even earned a master’s degree in divinity at Harvard University, the native of Virginia coal-mining country followed family tradition to spend his entire career in news.
“He just really enjoyed going by and seeing his dad as a kid,” said Marcy Hankins.
During summer breaks in high school and college, Hankins fell into the fold writing for one of his father’s newspapers in New Mexico, where he won awards for feature writing and photography. After stints at television stations in Nebraska and Tennessee, Hankins moved to North Carolina and returned to print news.
“He just had a very big interest in newspapers from the beginning,” said Marcy. “We basically moved around so he could work. He’d always been really great with marketing and numbers and helping people understand what their markets were about.
“We just really enjoyed being part of Seven Lakes — it was kind of like we melded together.”
Stepping in at the Seven Lakes Times, where he changed the publication schedule from monthly to every other week, was Hankins’ first experience as a publisher in his own right. The paper was essentially a two-man show, with Hankins and Marcy enlisting only part-time help and regularly putting in 60- and 70-hour weeks. To fulfill Hankins’ commitment to accuracy and fairness, nothing less was possible.
Ellen Marcus, who began writing for Hankins in 2012, learned quickly that there was no room for sensation or opinion in the Seven Lakes Times.
“He would tell me to go write for a magazine,” was Marcus’ affectionate recollection. “He was one of the most intelligent, hardworking, unbiased people I have ever known. He didn’t run any national news at all. He said that with a local paper we had the opportunity to make a difference. And he did that.”
On the rare occasion Hankins could not personally attend a county or school board meeting, he would dispatch Marcy to tape it in full and take notes. He had no qualms about calling officials to clarify statements before printing them.
“He felt it was very important that people were informed of what was going on the meetings,” Marcy said. “He reported both sides of the story so that people would know what they had to make a decision on.”
Over 20 years of controversies like dam closures and the fate of land abutting a popular putting green, Hankins issued a sole editorial opinion during his tenure in Seven Lakes: in favor of lifeguards at the Seven Lakes North swimming pool to enhance the safety of children and elderly adults.
Hankins disdained ambulance-chasing, deferring to victims’ families before publishing coverage of tragic accidents and printing obituaries free of charge.
“I have so much respect for him; he was a man of integrity,” said Marcus. “I’ve never worked with anyone like him before; he was encouraging, he was honest, he just was a funny guy.”
Their differences of opinion aside, Picerno frequently conferred with Hankins as someone in touch with a large number of Moore County residents.
“We could sit down and have a good conversation and lay everything on that table and have some good ideas come of that,” he said. “Sometimes you need someone that you trust to be honest with you, and Greg was that kind of guy.”
Marcy is unsure of the fate of the Seven Lakes Times, but for now the institution will be missed almost as sorely as the man behind it. Hankins made the rounds every other Thursday, delivering to newsstands as well as the post office for Friday mailbox delivery.
“Whenever he delivered the paper he would always be here laughing and chatting about what was going on in the community,” Whelan said.
Hankins also harbored an interest in vintage technology and owned an antique printing press. His country roots left him with a love of nature manifested as he picked blackberries for homemade jam, raised chickens and grew vegetables. To unwind, he would pick up a banjo or accordion.
Despite his antiquarian pursuits, the avid follower of the New York Times and National Public Radio was never caught off-guard when it came to current events.
That love of information extended to Seven Lakes residents, who the Hankinses kept well-informed through a bookstore they ran in the Seven Lakes Business Village.
“We feel like we’ve lost a member of our family,” said Weber. “We discovered once the paper stopped that they were truly the heartbeat of this community. We’re all kind of lost without the paper and without them.”
The women’s group has established a fund to help Hankins’ family with medical costs, which will continue to accept contributions in his memory. Donations can be sent to the Women of Seven Lakes at 850 Seven Lakes North, Seven Lakes, NC 27376 with checks payable to the Women of Seven Lakes Hankins Account.
Contact Mary Kate Murphy at (910) 693-2479 or

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Greg Hankins, my Dad

I will always be reading the book of you. Always singing the tune of you. Always walking the path of you. I will see you every day when I look in the mirror and when I look at my heart. Goodnight, my father, it's me, goodnight. Shanti shanti shanti. Amen. All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
A piece of a song I wrote for you:
"I'm glad I have a heart, though now it's broken.
I hope another door will open.
Until then, I'll be strong.
Goodbye to the me I know beside you.
I hope that love will find you
And you won't wait too long.
Nothing lasts forever except our song.
Nothing lasts forever except our song."
Thank you to all of my friends who have been so supportive and who offered up prayers and thoughts for Dad over this last year and longer. I'm sorry that not all of you knew that he was sick. He was very private and never lost his sense of hope. He was trying to make friends with the EMS people and talking a blue streak until the very last moment. Our bodies are so fragile even when our minds are so strong and willing.
I love you, Dad. Call me on the banana phone sometimes.

Stephen Gregory “Greg” Hankins, 59, of Mount Gilead, died Sunday, July 24, 2016.
He died from complications from Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) at his home.
He was a native of Richlands and Jewell Ridge, Va.
Mr. Hankins was a graduate of Richlands High School and the valedictorian of the Class of 1975. He attended Davidson College, Davidson, and graduated cum laude in 1979, with bachelor’s degree with honors in religion. Mr. Hankins earned a master’s in divinity degree at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., in 1982.
He had worked as a consultant for Butterfield Communications in Belmont, Mass., under David Butterfield. In 1986, he and his family moved to Las Cruces, N.M., and he worked with his father and brother in a start-up newspaper venture.
The family moved to Omaha, Neb., in 1987 where he worked for Pappas Telecasting as the marketing director and in sales support at Channel 42 KPTM television.
Starting in 1988, Mr. Hankins worked for WTVF Channel 5 Television station in Nashville, Tenn., as the marketing director under General Manager Tom Erwin and eventually for Lemuel E. Lewis of Landmark Communications Inc. He served in this position for seven years.
In 1995, he and his family moved to Mount Gilead to pursue his dream career in the newspaper business, in the beginning working with his father and brother for two years at the Montgomery Herald, Troy, and eventually becoming the editor and publisher of The Seven Lakes Times of Seven Lakes. He did this for more than 20 years with his wife, Marcella (Marcy) Hankins.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Guy Hankins; maternal grandparents, Avery and Narcie Smith; and paternal grandparents, Sutherland and Georgia Hankins.
Mr. Hankins is survived by his wife, Marcella Hankins; daughters, Jennifer (Jeni) A. Hankins, of Nashville, Tenn., Sarah E. Hankins, of Greensboro; his mother, Ann Smith Hankins Shreve, of Jewell Ridge, Va.; brother Thomas G. Hankins, and his wife, Crystal, of Candor; half-sister, Stephanie Grayson Pierce, and her husband, Joshua, of Mooresville; his nieces and nephews; and his faithful cat, Olivia.
At Mr. Hankins’ request there will be no local service or memorial held.
In lieu of flowers, donations to defray medical costs may be made to: The Women of Seven Lakes, Hankins Account, 850 Seven Lakes North, Seven Lakes, NC 27376.
Arrangements provided by Pugh Funeral Home of Troy.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Friends across the sea

Today, I'm thinking about how much I miss my friend Annie who lives in the Lakes in England. And I miss a reason to wear Wellies, the dance of drying the wash in the rain, summer that feels like blustery March, and the balm of a cup of tea. Here's to tea and friends across the sea!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sisterhood of the traveling house

For the last five days, my sister and I have been packing up her things for her move in town, and I am happy to say that we have developed a sense of humor since we took this photo. As children who moved to Appalachia every summer and who have moved all over the USA with our parents and then in our adult lives, we are very adept at packing. The key is for me to have Skittles available and for my sister to have gin & tonic. This is the core of our sisterhood.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Obviously, if given the choice between pink cotton candy and blue cotton candy, the answer is both, especially if it's raining.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Thank you for all of the wonderful wishes for my Dad and our family. I realize that a lot of you didn't know that he is ill and that's because it was difficult for me to tell everyone. But this is a wonderful article about my parents for those of you who would like to learn more. I know my Dad has a lot of fans in my friends because he is such a champion of our music and folk music in general. And that makes him glad! Sending hugs back out there to you all.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Do I miss my friend Hazel? A million times yes! Sending love to our friends on that more-ish island across the Atlantic.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Welcome home, Dad!

After 70 days in the hospital, my Dad got to come home last night! He went in before I flew to Britain and was still there when I got back last week. Mom and Sarah have been incredibly strong caretakers and Dad has been incredible never losing his sense of humor though it was sorely tried. Dad's bone marrow transplant will happen when the doctors feel he's regained his strength for a process that will mean several more months in the hospital. I'm just thankful that I was home to see him walk through our farmhouse door and sit with his cats.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me a note of encouragement or given me big hug over the last few months. It was very strange to be an ocean away during this time, but my family wouldn't hear of me missing out on a tour in a country I love so much. Can't wait to just sit in the living room and chat with my Dad today, hang out in the sewing room with my Mom, and crack up at everything my brilliant sister says.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Stitch of light


A memory of one of the best cities in the world. Window at W.Stitch & Company, Berwick Street, London -- a place straight out of Dickens and where Mr. Stitch played his part to a T.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Twin across the sea


You know what's fun? Having a twin in another country. This is my friend Philippa from York. Once I was in the loo when the audience started to stream in for the show and Philippa was minding my little merch shop. Lots of people thought she was me and hugged her as they said how much they were looking forward to hearing her sing again!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Picnic time

It's an honor to be part of Herb and Bev's family reunion and church picnic every year! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016


If only we had such magical mending services in the USA, we could employ them to patch our hearts. We will miss our British friends so much. Big Ben sized thanks to you all for making this our best tour yet! Here we go! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Ducky Day

Join us tonight at the Conwy Folk Club for our last concert of our 2016 tour in Britain!! It will be ducky celebrating our Independence Day in Wales for the six the year! Doors 8, concert at 8:30. 5 pound cover.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Last Yorkshire concert for 2016...

Join us tonight for our last 2016 concert in Yorkshire! Woodend Gallery in Scarborough, Doors 7:00, Concert 7:30.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Last dates in Britain!

Had a blast last night in Dundee! Come along to our last three concerts of our UK tour.

Saturday, 2 July, Woodend Gallery, Scarborough

Sunday, 3 July, Conwy, North Wales Bluegrass Festival

Monday, 4 July, Conwy Folk Club

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


See you tonight at the Dundee Acoustic Music Club, The Newport, 1 High Street, Newport on Tay, Fife. Doors 7:30, Concert 8. 

Monday, June 27, 2016


I'm heading up to the Granite City, Aberdeen, in Scotland with our friend Annie today! Billy is going on a big hike in the lakes with Annie's husband John and we'll meet up tomorrow in Dundee where we'll play at the Dundee Acoustic Music on Wednesday! So excited to be heading to Scotland again! 

To celebrate, here's one of my very favorite songs - "Aberdeen" written and performed by Kirsty McGee.

Kirsty McGee!

Sunday, June 26, 2016


There's nothing like your first pair of shiny red rain boots - Wellingtons! Come out and take shelter from the rain and go up on the mountain with us at Saint Anne's in Ings near Windermere today. Doors 2:30, concert at 3. Sunday, July 26.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dr. Ralph Stanley

On the Death of Dr. Ralph Stanley

All things fall into place
The reading is over
The book is closed,
And put back on the shelf
Where parting is no more
Where no storm rages.
Oh, the rock of ages.

You were not spared,
But you shall have your
Sit down at the picnic
Dinner on the ground
Catch a cloud
And go
On up to that high atmosphere.

We'll sing here,
Spared for another year.

Goodnight, hallelujah 

- Jeni Hankins 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cardiff, tonight!

Soooooo excited about our concert in Cardiff, tonight!! Come along!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gingerbread and lightning

Over to The Wirral for the Bromborough Folk Club tonight! Starts at 8, come along and learn about the importance of gingerbread in the event of being struck by lightning. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


This is what I'll be up to today on account of the sudden rush in Britain on Jeni-made cushions! Thanks to everyone who has bought a cushion. If you know we are coming your way and you'd like a cushion, it would be great if you could let me know. I only have a few more of the ones that I made in the USA and brought with me, so I am making new ones here and it would be helpful to think about how much sewing I should do...they are 45 pounds, all hand stitched by me!

Monday, June 13, 2016


Come dream a little dream with us tonight at Grateful Fred's, Cafe d'Arte, Formby Village, Liverpool. Eyes and photo by Hazel Davis :) 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hebden Bridge, Trades Club

Tonight, we play the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge! Come along!! I was tickled to pieces that Rosie of Angela AndRosie bought my fox cushion at our concert with King Courgette in York!