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.