Monday, October 21, 2019

New CD! Concerts: London, Beverley, Preston, Carnforth, Liverpool, and USA!

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Jeni Hankins
Appalachian Folk & Country Music

I'm pleased to announce that I have a new CD coming out on November 2nd . . . .

 . . . . and to celebrate I am playing a mini-tour of concerts in November! Shows in London, Beverley, Preston, and Carnforth. The London and Carnforth concerts include a Small Exhibition of American Southern Quilts from four generations of Appalachian Quilters – many from my own family. Details below.

I'll play a concert, TBA, in Nashville in January, followed by two shows in the Liverpool area in February. More dates to be announced at the first of 2020 including a tour in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA in April and May and a summer tour in Britain.

If you are keen to receive my new CD ASAP, then you are welcome to pre-order by sending $18 for the USA and Canada OR £15 for the UK to on Paypal. Prices include postage. For other countries or arrangements, please feel free to email me on the same address. I will mail your CD on the 5th of November. Otherwise, you'll find them for sale online in my shop in early December. I'll send along a note when they're on the interweb!

More about the concerts and my new CD below.

It's all rather topsy-turvy out there in the wilds of the world, isn't it? Have you petted a dog or cat or watched a rabbit chew some hay lately? Perhaps a hunt for lichen or a visit to Mawmaw is in order? Maybe a nap?

Your singing and sewing friend,


November HOMECOMING QUEEN CD release tour!

Saturday, November 2, House Concert & Quilt Exhibition
Crystal Palace, Doors 7, Concert 7:30, Tickets £15.
For reservations, contact Jeni Hankins

Friday, November 8, House Concert
Preston (PR1 9JN), Doors 7, Concert 7:30, Tickets £12.
For reservations, contact John Hollingworth or 07790 827849

Saturday, November 9, House Concert
Beverley, Doors 7, Concert 7:30, Tickets £12.
For reservations, contact Helen Byass or 07789862009

Saturday, November 16, House Concert & Quilt Exhibition
Doors 7, Concert 7:30, Tickets £12.
For reservations, contact Jeni Hankins

If you'd like to host a house concert or book me to play for your folk club, village hall, church, school or festival, please write to me on In the UK and the USA, I am able to bring a selection of quilts made by four generations of my family to your home, school, or venue. These can be displayed in creative ways on tables, beds, chairs, pews, etc, and a "gallery" space is not necessary. I have ten years of experience performing for and teaching songwriting to children and teens, and I LOVE these days in my tours. Please contact me to talk about my visiting your school. Here's a guide to my whereabouts in 2020 should you wish to book a concert.

November: England
January: Nashville
February – mid-April: UK
Mid-April – mid-May: VA, TN, NC, VA, MD, PA, etc
June/July/August: UK

As always, you can find my tour dates, by visiting my website.

RECORDINGS 2005 – 2018

In 2005, I began recording my songs. I went to my first recording session in a barn in rural Maryland where a fella named Billy Kemp had a studio. My arrangement of the traditional ballad "Two Sisters" on this new CD comes from those winter 2005 sessions. Over the years, Billy and I always recorded more songs than we might put on an album whenever we went into the recording studio. Then, when it came time to select songs for the album, some songs were left in the archive because there simply wasn’t room for all of the recordings we'd made. Our albums tending to be based on themes, and some very fine songs just didn't fit the theme.
Over the last 18 months, since the release of my first solo album, The Oxygen Girl, I’ve been writing songs and performing them at concerts from Cornwall to California. I was lucky that the sound man, Dave Burrows, at Bromborough Folk Club on the Wirral near Liverpool captured a couple of these as did Peter Cutler who runs Fiddler’s Crossing with his wife Deborah in Tehachapi, California. (I'll be returning to Bromborough Folk Club on Wednesday, February 19th, 2020).
After coming across one of these older recordings by chance – “I’m Not Your Girl” – I noticed that this early song of mine had an answer in a song that I’d written last year – “Rise and Shine.” So, the idea for this album sparked and here you are.
I have, in fact, compiled, edited, mixed, and mastered this record myself because I wanted to see if I could put all of my recording studio learning from the last fourteen years to good use.
And because I had remembered my passion for printmaking and typewriters this past spring while wading through the red tape of my UK Visa, I have also made the packaging on my own, too. 
I’m creating 200 of these CDs in my home studio. Each one will be numbered and signed by me. 
I have loved hearing these old songs of mine again and I hope you will enjoy this song collection, too. I feel the songs have a theme of their own now – "the secrets girls keep buried down in their sleep" (from "Coronation Day" by Jeni & Billy).
Available at concerts beginning on November 2nd, in advance by Paypal, and, in December, online.

Pre-order by sending $18 for the USA and Canada OR £15 for the UK to on Paypal. Prices include postage.

I look forward to singing for you again, soon!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Which Country? Questions from Trevor, age 7.

Jeni in her car.

Yourself and Your House Wonderful 

How is Your Country?

When I was a kid, Mawmaw and her sisters – The Aunts (pronounced like the insects “ants”) – would take all of us kids to the beach on Emerald Isle in North Carolina for a week in the summer. (Their motto is "Nice Matters" – and you wonder where I get this smiley thing.) This was the highlight of my year. I think my childhood brain was mainly absorbed by dreaming about this yearly event and then there was some space left over for curling my hair, dance class, doing Barbie’s hair, and math problems. 
Over seventeen years of going to the beach, I learned to ride the waves, flirt with boys, and eat my weight in Fruity Pebbles. My recurring fantasy was that my best cousin, Rachel, and I would grow up to live in a house together on the ocean front. Now, Rachel and I live on different continents and neither of us live in a house on the ocean front, but that dream helped to make me a dreamer and where I live now seems like a dream. Many of the places I’ve lived have seemed dreamy to me, in fact – a farmhouse in Pennsylvania, a fifth floor flat in Paris, a town house six blocks from the US Capitol, an Arts & Crafts house next to one of the most famous recording studios in Nashville, and this flat in the treetops in London where I can hear the trains pass gently night and day. 
I’ve lived in fifteen or so different places since I graduated college and I’ve never stayed in any one of them the whole year round. When I left Nashville a few weeks ago, after a two month stay, I noticed nearly black gladiolus getting ready to bloom in my yard which I’d never seen before. And I still haven’t seen them because here I am in London . . . 
But, as I was saying. The Beach. This summer, Rachel decided that us “children” should take Mawmaw and The Aunts to the beach. So, she rented a house on Emerald Isle and, after more than twenty years, we all went to the beach. Well, we couldn’t all go, because in the time since our last visit, grandmothers and husbands, fathers and brothers, children and mothers have passed away. But there we were, the matriarchs, the progeny, the second husbands or wives, the newborn babies, the boyfriends, and the step children – the whole gamut of modern family life.
Because of this and that, I could only go for part of the week, but while I was there I spent a lot of time with my third cousin, Trevor, who is seven. Trevor and I got on like hot cakes because I often say that I am mainly seven in my everyday thinking. We collected seashells, we played chase, we splashed each other with water, we watched a movie, we made shell-covered animal cracker boxes, we ate the animal crackers while trying to decide whether we were eating an elephant or a koala (ack!), and we ogled scary fish together at the aquarium. His pronouncements on me were that I was good at coloring, good at crafts, a good singer, and pretty. That made my year. 
When we were combing the beach for the absolutely perfect shells to decorate our animal cracker boxes, Trevor, who had been told that I was moving to England, asked me, “Which is better? England or America?” This was quickly followed up by, “Who do you think is more powerful? America or China?” 
Well, Trevor . . . I tried to say something adult like, “Don’t you think it would be great if countries could work together to make the world a kinder place, rather than competing against each other to be better or more powerful?” Oh, Jeni. You may be good at coloring, but world political analysis for seven year olds? Maybe not.
Poor Trevor, I don’t think he got a very satisfactory answer from me. I decided to make monster noises and chase him to cover up my complete haplessness at answering his questions.
Ten days ago, I moved to England. I’ve been visiting England since I was nineteen. I’ve been a tourist, a student, and a worker here. Since 2009, when I played the Beverley Folk Festival, I’ve been traveling to Britain nearly every year for a musical tour. I’ve loved visiting Britain. And I’ve loved mainly living here for the last two and a half years. My Englishman is here and he’s a good enough reason for me to move anywhere in the world. 
But this particular border crossing was different because, when I crossed it this time, I began a seven year path to dual citizenship. And these are strange times to be considering what it means to be a citizen. I am an American citizen, and I am a British learner citizen. 
My family are all very concerned about my giving up my American citizenship – which I won’t be doing, thus dual citizenship – and the British Home Office has made it as trying and expensive as possible for me to pursue dual citizenship here. Some of my American fans perceive my London home as an incredibly dangerous big foreign city full of snares and bombs. And my British friends are exasperated by the mass shootings and gun-related deaths in the USA and wonder how anyone gets through the day there.
Some of my American fans feel like I’ve abandoned my roots. Some British fans feel that I’ve come here to find my deeper roots.
I know that I am here because I surprised myself and plenty of other people by falling head over heels for an Englishman a couple of years ago. This is the natural course of things – to be moving here and starting a new life – and I have put my little paper boat full of poems, songs, and drawings into this course and the Englishman and I are towing it along the path by a silky red string.
When I was a girl, I dreamed of living by the ocean with Rachel, but I also dreamed of falling in love, getting married, filling a house with furniture . . . but then it all got a bit vague. It was really just an impression built out of television sitcoms, home decorating magazines, and the cosmic human push to pair up and procreate. I couldn’t actually imagine what kind of job I would have because I loved going to school so much and I loved making things. Maybe an art teacher? I also loved microscopes, stars, and math problems. An astronomer? An astrologer?
I loved to color, dance, sing, make up stories, sew, and bake biscuits. Is there a job for that? I think that is the job that I have – that I’ve created for myself.
I never dreamed about having children. I never felt that capable or brave or reckless (depending on the circumstances) to be a mother. 
My adult life has looked very little like those vague dreams. Instead, I’ve traveled most of my life. I’ve fallen in and out of relationships. I’ve felt deeply bewildered, eerily calm, and uncontrollably ecstatic. I’ve buried a parent and I’ve buried friends. I’ve made friends and lost them. I’ve made enemies without even trying. I’ve been my own enemy. I’ve been rescued and I’ve rescued myself.
But have I been a good citizen? What is it to be a citizen? Is it remembering the victorious dead? Is it recycling glass, paper, and plastic? Is it joining a church and taking meals to housebound strangers? Is it joining the army or taking guns to strangers? Is it running for office or running a soup kitchen?
Is England or America better? Is America or China more powerful? What can I say to Trevor? 

What I keep coming back to is being a good citizen of my own tiny little country of myself. My Mom and I love a children’s book from the early 1900s called Yourself and Your House Wonderful about bodies and how to manage your own body properly. You can read the whole book thanks to the stunning Internet Archive. There are all kinds of metaphors for how you keep yourself well and tidy in the same way you’d keep a house tidy. And though this may sound quaint, I think it’s terrific advice.
Because answering a question like is England or America better is really too big. What shall I compare? The price of milk, murder rates, gross domestic product, obesity, life expectancy, or moss health? What makes a place the best? And to whom? 
So, instead, because this is my letter, I’m going to think about when I am better – at my best. Because I still espouse the old fashioned notion that, at the end of the day, a nation is built of its citizens and if they are sick, tired, and poor, that nation will be too.
I love brooms because I feel good when I use them. I sweep sweep sweep. (See the incredible broom museum that I visited in Jodhpur, India, here.) I see the pile of dust and grit on the floor. I brush the detritus into a pan. I knock the pan into the trash can and goodbye dust. I think we need to do this for ourselves, too.

We need a little nap. We need a good nights sleep. We need to clean off our desk and finally file away those old bills. We need to put our laundry away. We need to make our beds, wash the dishes, and take out the rubbish. We can do this in our houses, but we can also do this in our minds and hearts. 
We can say, “Dear heart, why are you holding on to this old worry? What if we just took a broom to that old cobweb of self doubt and shook it out onto the sidewalk.” Achoo!

“Dear mind, why are you building up all of these barricades called failures? What if you had a little nap and then 
see how things look when you are rested?” Zzzzzzz.
Because it may seem like pop psychology or like a “me” generation kind of statement, but I firmly believe that if we can’t get a grip on our own little countries of self, what hope do we have of collectively making a great nation of ourselves? There have been times when my own little country was at war with itself – depression. Or when my country won gold medals left and right – high school. Or when my country felt like it was having a nationwide festival – giving a concert. I also know that the pirouettes of my little country sent those people-countries around me into wars and festivals, too, and so on and so forth, world without end. Amen, amen.
So, when I think of Trevor and his big questions about better and more powerful nations, what I want to say is look after your little person, Trevor. Rest and eat, make things and stretch, run and laugh, read and write, draw and swim, and always do these things. Resist ossification, domination, humiliation, exasperation, and big talk of nations. Let your little country spin beautifully. Let it rub like a purring cat up against the countries of your mother and father. Let it stand resolute in the presence of playground bullies. Let it dance around your third cousin Jeni when you find the perfect seashell. Do this always wherever you are and wherever you live, and those you live amongst will be well, too. 
Fellow citizens of planet Earth, I hope you find the perfect seashell this summer. May you stand resolute in the presence of playground bullies and spin so wonderfully that all they can do is lie down and take a nap.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
sweep, sweep, sweep
 . . . 
Your friend,
P.S. Yes, I sold the Airstream to people in Alaska who are retiring to the Ozarks! What a neat new adventure for the Airstream.
P.P.S. News to come soon of my Airbnb in Nashville!
My homage to L'Enclume's Michelin Star chef Simon Rogan – Early Grey tea parcel on a bed of lemon drizzle dust topped with serviette plume. Thanks to Ken Anderson of Hungrytown for the photo. The Englishman and I are pleased to have Hungrytown, Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, in residence at our flat in London for four months! We'll be presenting them in concert in London on Saturday, October 5th. We'll also be hosting a house concert for Hungrytown at our home in Carnforth on Saturday, September 7th. Both concerts are doors 6:30, concert at 7. 12 pound admission. Space is limited, so if you'd like to reserve your seat, please write to me. We'd be pleased to have you!
Jeni's handmade bag featuring a horse.

And one more thing, my fan, Stuart, bought his wife, Helen, a Happy Summer present! What a guy. He found it in my shop where there are more Jeni-made gifts to be found. Stuart says, “My wife loves the bag and it has been receiving many admiring looks and comments from her circle of friends. My stock is also dramatically on the rise amongst that circle as I’m now recognised as a man of great taste & deep feelings!”
This, too, could be you!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bye bye, Bambi!

That's all folks! I've sold my Airstream. Some terrific people all the way in Alaska bought it and they'll be taking it to their retirement spot in the Ozarks and on their adventures! What a great future for the Bambi. Thank you for sharing my post. The buyers found it through the ad that I ran on Airstream Classifieds. So, if you're looking for your Airstream adventure, that's a great place to do your dreaming. For my part, I'm looking forward to getting my provisional license (yep, I have to get a "learner's permit") in the UK and being able to drive the little Fiat 500 around the streets of London – much smaller than the Airstream, but still egg-shaped, so perfect for me.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Help with my Airbnb description, please!

Hey all! I'm working on my description for my Airbnb which in the last few weeks of coming together! Here it is, if you have time to let me know if I might have missed something obvious. There will be a grid-thingy online with checkmarks to show all of the boring stuff like the fact that there's a washer and dryer, coffee-maker, etc. I'm just trying to describe the overall experience. ALSO, the Englishman and I brainstormed on names and we wondered about something like Coal Camp Cottage or Coal Mountain Cottage because of my Jewell Ridge history, etc, but I also want to honor the history of this particular house which Mr Draper built. So, thoughts about that would be great.

I will be leaving detailed descriptions on how things work inside the house.

I completely understand that only a few people may have time to comment, I just thought I would ask in case some folks were interested! 

Welcome to Draper House – a quiet and quaint wonderland for musicians and vintage lovers. Built by Mr. Draper in 1912 for his family, this wood-framed house with a big ole porch has only seen three owners in 107 years! Current owner, songwriter and Appalachian Folk musician Jeni Hankins, shuttles between Nashville and London, and welcomes you to her home while she’s away. 

You’ll find all of the modern amenities like Google Fiber internet, a Smart Vizio TV, Apple TV, etc. But you’ll also feel like you’ve traveled back in time while surrounded by original woodwork and mantlepieces. Soak in the history while you play Jeni’s 1970’s Baldwin spinet piano, Seagull SG+ Folk guitar, Baby Taylor African-Bubinga-wood guitar, no-name 1930’s mandolin, and early 1900s open-back banjo. Have your own jam session on the old-fashioned porch where there are plenty of chairs and spots for drinks!

As a touring musician herself, Jeni knows what a stress it can be to travel, especially to fly, with your instruments. But if you really love pickin’, it’s tough to be without them. So, as her guest, you won’t have to hem and haw about buying a flight case or playing overhead-bin roulette, just play her instruments and bring them to life while she’s gone.

AND if you LOVE VINTAGE, you’ve come to a home that will get all of your ideas flowing. Set up a photo shoot on the Eastlake sofa, in the cowboy rocker, or in the clawfoot tub. Jeni’s front porch has been the set for many a photo shoot! You’ll find everything from tin doll houses to mini-matchstick cabins on her shelves. Plenty of these things she’s rescued from the hillsides and houses in her native Appalachia. Plus, East Nashville is absolutely chock-full of vintage shops, if you want to take goodies home!

Want to sit back and watch a movie or listen to music? Jeni has everything from a Columbia Grafonola to iHeart Radio, from VHS to Chromecast. Her house is full of vinyl records, DVDs, tapes, CDs, etc. Want more tunes? East Nashville is home to no less than three music shops, all of which have new and vintage vinyl sections. 

Are you a bookworm? Jeni is too. She has everything from Dickens to Marilyn Monroe on her bookshelves, including a full set of The Oxford English Dictionary. Yep, all twenty volumes. Go ahead and look up that word you’ve always wondered about.

Do you like to sew? Jeni’s grandmothers and mother taught her to sew and she rarely goes anywhere without a needle and thread. She has a fully working 1940’s Singer electric in its sewing table in the bedroom and a 1960’s Singer hand crank machine which she welcomes confident stitchers to use. Jeni uses the hand-crank machine to sing and sew in her concerts!

Lots of paper, pens, pencils, scissors, tape, and a new wireless printer/copier/scanner for scribbling down ideas or printing off a letter to say you’re staying an extra week at Draper House!

Come and write a song here, write a novel, take a week to read good books, sew a quilt, or just sit out on the porch and watch the house sparrows and eastern cottontail rabbits. 

This neighborhood is QUIET and this is not a through street, so you’ll have plenty of calm, but if you’re looking for bright neon lights and plenty of live music, there are four buses that take you directly from Jeni’s street to downtown in ten minutes. Not a fan of the bus? Save on parking costs downtown and grab a ride with Uber or Lyft. Want some energy closer to the house? How about Five Points which is only four blocks away! It’s home to bars, restaurants, and the famous Five Spot music venue of the TV series Nashville. There’s plenty of free parking on the street in front of the house, so you can rent a car with confidence if you prefer to be your own chauffeur. 

Prefer to walk or cycle? There are several grocery stores, a post office, a bank, eateries, the public library, vintage and record shops, hair salons, spas, gift shops, bars, churches, liquor stores, and even a big art supply shop within a 10 to 20 minute walk of Jeni’s house. No, really. It’s a super walkable neighborhood with sidewalks everywhere. And Jeni has two lockable bikes out on the porch which you are welcome to use. One is an adult trike with a basket for collecting supplies. And she also has a collapsible rolling shopping cart which you can take, if you’re on foot, to carry home your groceries. 

Want to bring friends? Draper House has one bedroom with a double bed, but there’s also a queen size air mattress and bedding available. Want to bring a lot of friends, but want your own space? There’s a huge Airbnb next door and many others literally moments away. Come as a group, but carve some space out for yourself. Why not?

Jeni has spent the last twelve years of her life touring and staying with friends and fans as well as in hostels, hotels, motels, and campgrounds. It’s her aim to make a space for you in her home that will feel just as nice as her favorite places to stay. Welcome to Draper House!