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.


Truck Line-Up Announced For Chattanooga's Monster Jam

Monster Jam is returning to Chattanooga with a brand new line-up at UTC McKenzie Arena Feb. 6-7.  The truck-line up will include Black Stallion driven by Mike Vaters, Overkill Evolution driven by Mike Vaters Jr., Higher Education, Iron Warrior driven by Matt Cody, Fatal Attraction driven by Jeff Murphy and Full Boar driven by Ed Eckert.  The line-up ... (click for more)

Old Crow Shows Memorial A “Tennessee Saturday Night”

The Memorial Auditorium was graced with the presence of authentic country music Saturday night.  Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives kicked off the evening with a 16-song set, laced with mandolin solos, gospel songs, a little boot tapping, and even a Johnny Cash cover thrown in for good measure.  Each member of the Fabulous Superlatives took his rightful turn ... (click for more)

Attorney Says Member Of DA Staff Said She Was Having Sex With Judge At Time He Was Presiding Over Kiser Death Penalty Case

An attorney testified Monday that a member of the District Attorney's staff told him she was having sexual relations with the judge in her division at the time of the Marlon Duane Kiser death penalty case. Attorney Hank Hill said he and his wife ran into Cindy Richardson, former victim/witness coordinator in the courtroom of Criminal Court Judge Steve Bevil, at the North Shore ... (click for more)

Grote Hall At UTC To Reopen Tuesday After Sinkhole Is Deemed To Pose No Danger

Grote Hall at UTC will reopen on Tuesday after a thorough inspection determined that a sinkhole posed no danger. The campus building was closed on Monday with all classes cancelled. But classes are back on for Tuesday and employees are to report. Officials said the sinkhole was caused by a broken section of stormwater piping that serves the nearby Holt Hall. It was found ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Faculty Has No Business Being Involved In Hiring Decisions

This letter will hopefully bring some clarity to the recent situation created by the faculty of Chattanooga State Community College. It is based upon my tenure as a member of the faculty at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, the transformation to Chattanooga State Community College, and my service as the financial and administrative officer at Chattanooga State until my retirement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UVa --Time For Change

The University of Virginia is, by any measure, one of the finest universities in the world. I have long admired it, whether covering dozens of sports events, cavorting with countless friends, or benefitting repeatedly from the surgical skills of the late world-class humanitarian Frank McCue. But today there is a terrible pall over “Mr. Jefferson’s university” – no, make that a ... (click for more)