About Jeni


Jeni performs in Carnforth, Lancashire, England. Photo by Peter Knipe.


"JENI IS A TRUE POET AND BORN STORYTELLER – MANY OF HER SONGS CONTAIN WHOLE NOVELS."   – LEE SMITH, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF FAIR AND TENDER LADIES AND ON AGATE HILL

Jeni Hankins grew up in the coalfields of Appalachian in Southwest Virginia among a family of miners, moonshiners, and journalists. Her writing pulls the grit, gumption, and keen sense of observation out of that heritage to tell the stories of her family to audiences from Los Angeles to London. A songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and flatfoot dancer, Jeni is best known for the sound of the “born-in-the bone twang” of her voice and her true tales of mountain life. 

"Hankins’ approach is often compared to that of Hazel Dickens (1925-2011) and aptly so. Though Hankins has a smoother, less nasal voice than Dickens, it has the same born-in-the-bone twang – the kind you don’t get by dressing up country and scouring songbooks. Hankins also grew up in the same contiguous coal mine region that spawned Dickens, and with the same sensibilities: an appreciation for the grace of ordinary people, mountain gospel music, support for miners’ unions, and a gift for finding beauty where less attuned people fail to see it." (Sing Out Magazine)

Based in London, England, and Nashville, Tennessee, Jeni is also an accomplished seamstress and quilter. You can stay in her vintage Americana home in East Nashville where you can live amongst artifacts from her Appalachian childhood, play her instruments, and even sew on her 1930's Singer sewing machine.


In every song, Jeni’s “true sense of place shines through – old as the hills, but brand new at the same time.” (Lee Smith)

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