Thursday, November 2, 2017

Florida, Alabama, and Davidson College! November tour!

Hello from Nashville!

That’s a new photo of me from a photo shoot at my great-grandfather, John Rufus Smith's, cabin. He built the cabin in the late 1800s and generations of Smiths lived there until the 1960s. Now, the cabin and the land around it is owned by the gas company who have sunk a gas well nearby. But the intrepid Smith can still get there with dresses in her backpack! Photo by Graham Frear.

It's been great to be in Nashville after more than a year away! At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed seeing all of my old things. I wrote an essay about that and you can read it on my blog at Little Yellow Sewing Box. But now, my journey ahead seems a bit clearer and I am brimming with ideas about the future! But, first, time for a tour! 

Tomorrow, I begin my journey by heading further south to Florida! First stop is Gainesville for a house concert on Saturday night, Nov. 4th, at the home of banjo aficionado Chuck Levy and his lovely wife, Sandy. If you’d like to come, just write to Chuck: 

On, Sunday, Nov. 5th, I’ll make my way down to Lakeland for a 2pm concert at the Lakeland Public Library. I haven’t been there in several years and I remember when I played there last, a woman wrote a beautiful poem based on my singing! Who knows what will happen this time around. 

Then, I am heading down to the greater Tampa area for four concerts: 
Tues, Nov 7, Jan Kaminis Platt Library, Tampa, 7pm
Thurs, Nov 9, New Port Richey Library, New Port Richey, 6pm
Sun, Nov 12, Lake Echo House Concert, Odessa, 3:30pm
Thurs, Nov 16, Hugh Embry Library, Dade City, 1pm

 And before I head back to Nashville, I will be stopping in Huntsville, AL, for a benefit concert for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI supports thousands of families struggling with mental illness. They do vital work that saves lives and I am very honored to be playing for them. That concert will take place on Friday, Nov 17th, at United Church. Doors open at 6:30, concert at 7. Tickets are only $10.
concert poster
I am thrilled to say that the last concert of my tour here in the USA will be held at my alma mater, Davidson College! Please join Professor Randy Ingram and the students of English 240 for an hour-long performance on Thursday, Nov 30, followed by a Q&A at the Carolina Inn. Doors open at 6:30, and the concert will begin at 7pm. I will also be available on campus throughout the day, so, if you’d like to have a cup of tea or lunch, let me know! I will be meeting with students at the career center from 1pm to 3pm on the 30th. So, if you know any current Davidson students who would like to talk with me about a career in the arts, I would love to meet them!

You can always find details of my concerts on my tour page. And you can buys CDs at bandcampcdbaby, and iTunes!

Thank you to all of you who came out to the concerts in MD, PA, and VA! I had such a great time seeing old friends and making new ones. If I missed you, I’ll hope to see you in 2018! 

Happiness, peace, and kindness to you all,

Resting your heart

It’s been a tumultuous eighteen months for this folksinger. If I could try to say something helpful for anyone else out there coping with grief and change, I would say that not every decision has to be made today. Things might look very bad on one day. Maybe that day, you give yourself a treat, and decide not to decide. Maybe, you keep things as simple as you can on that day. And, if you feel like you are worthless or that you have no place in the world, just put that thought on the shelf. It will jump up and down on your shoulder insisting to be heard, but just pick it up and put it on the shelf with your coffee mugs or your curios. And turn your back on that ugly thought. Get yourself a good book or a crossword puzzle or a bit of sewing or some pieces of wood with hammer and nails and give your brain a rest. And then your heart will get a rest, too. 

And the next day, maybe that ugly thought will have walked off due to boredom and inattention. If it’s still there, maybe it will taunt you, but just stick your tongue out at it or close the cupboard door on it. Be really kind to yourself instead. You don’t have to do anything big. Maybe you buy a new book or you let yourself try to draw a tree or you go to the movies. Just don’t push too hard or criticize yourself too much. Give yourself time.

I say this like it’s easy, like I am a pro at this. I’m not. Sometimes, I listen to that ugly thought about my worthlessness and end up in tears and the whole day gets drowned. But, that happens less and less the more I see it coming, the more I can gather up the strength to be easy, to be calm, and to rest my mind.

I only offer this up as a prayer and a wish for you and for us all. It’s not official advice or a substitution for talking with a professional whether that be a rabbi or a counselor or a doctor. I am thankful for the time that I’ve been able to talk with a counselor.  

I just want to let you know that I appreciate your encouragement and I send you strength, too.

LOVE, Jeni

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

At the cabin

Photo from a recent shoot at my family's cabin. My great grandfather, John Rufus Smith, built this cabin in the late 1800's. Smiths inhabited it until sometime in the 1960's. It's now owned by the gas company who are fracking nearby.

Concert announced at Davidson College!