Jeni And Billy Bring Appalachian Folk To Charles And Myrtle's Saturday

Sunday, September 16, 2012
Jeni and Billy will play at Charles and Myrtle's Coffeehouse on Saturday.
Jeni and Billy will play at Charles and Myrtle's Coffeehouse on Saturday.

Jeni and Billy will bring Appalachian Folk to Charles & Myrtle's Coffeehouse on Saturday at 8 p.m.  The coffeehouse is inside Christ Unity Church at 105 McBrien Road.  There is a $10 suggested donation at the door.  Call 892-4960 for more information or visit www.christunity.org.

Review for Jeni and Billy:

You have to watch where you sit at a Jeni and Billy concert, because that ordinary-looking folding chair might just turn into the back seat of a big ole Buick hurtling down the switchback of a coal truck road.

That barstool might turn out to be the rock-hard sinners pew of a white-washed mountain church. That couch might be a marble stoop on a gritty street in Baltimore, and that velvet theater cushion could just be the well-worn driver's seat of a wagon headed across the windswept Texas plains. 

The high twang of a banjo starts it off -- or maybe the mournful lilt of the mandolin. Then, a train comes barreling down the reeds of a harmonica. The guitar catches fire and lifts two voices into the high lonesome harmonies of the Appalachian mountains, painting pictures of miners and millworkers, roustabouts and revival preachers, Buicks and beauty queens. 

From Nashville to LA, from Chicago to Tampa, from Beverly, Yorkshire to Conwy, Wales -- Jeni and Billy have traveled more than 150,000 miles in four years, just to paint pictures in song for thousands of people. At festivals and fiddlers' conventions along the way, they have picked up ribbons in songwriting, traditional folk-singing, guitar-picking, and flatfoot dancing.

Jeni and Billy bring to their work distinct musical backgrounds that draw from the deep well of Appalachian roots music. 

Jeni Hankins traces her vocal style to Virginia Lowe, the blind music minister of the Friendly Chapel Church on Smith Ridge, the Appalachian community in which Jeni spent her childhood summers. A natural storyteller and prolific writer since childhood, Jeni trained formally with Pulitzer-Prize-winning Northern Irish poet, Paul Muldoon, and earned a Masters in English Literature. While her singing has been compared to the lonesome voices of Maybelle Carter and Iris Dement, her writing has been likened to that of Southerners Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and Lee Smith. 

Billy Kemp, a Baltimore native, embraced the sound of country music in the nearby community of Oella — the home of Appalachian migrants who came to the city looking for work in the mills. Fired on by dreams of the Grand Old Opry and his passion for the sound of Flatt & Scruggs, Billy headed to Nashville and toured with country bands all over the US, Canada, Germany, and right onto the stage of the Opry. He honed and shared his skills as both student and instructor at the University of Maryland, and built a producing career working with roots artists.   

Mountain roads and mountain churches, moonshine and oxycodone, snake handlers and sherbet cake -- you get to know them all at a Jeni and Billy concert. You might arrive a stranger, but you'll leave a member of the family.

More information on the duo is available at jeniandbilly.com; their CDs are available on CDBaby.com.


CSO Youth Orchestras Present Their Fall Concert

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Youth Orchestras open their 2014-2015 season on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Ringgold High School with a concert performed by the Symphony Orchestra with Gary Wilkes conducting.  Also featured in the program is the 2nd place winner of the 2014 Concerto Competition, Nacor Lantigua.  The final selections on the program are the last two movements ... (click for more)

North Georgia Author And TV Star Randall Franks Chronicles Folk Legend's 10 Decades In New Book

Author Randall Franks debuted his new book in Nashville, signing it for fans at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Whittlin’ and Fiddlin’ My Own Way: The Violet Hensley Story” reflects nearly a century of experiences through the eyes of Silver Dollar City personality Violet Hensley. Mr. Franks co-authored the book with Ms. Hensley, who just turned 98. “It was ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)