Picnic in the Sky with Jeni & Billy's Big Picnic Band

by Jeni & Billy

Released 2014
Waystation Records
Released 2014
Waystation Records
Welcome to Jeni & Billy's picnic. Townes Van Zandt said, “There are two kinds of music – the blues and Zip A Dee Doo Dah.” There is a third kind, which finds the best of both and turns it into something seamlessly American and wonderful. - Dillon O'Brian
NOTES
The sweetest, most down to earth, good people making music just like that. Their roots run deep and sprout the most fragrant flowers.

- Dave Way, Three-Time Grammy-Winning Producer, Mixer, & Engineer

Jeni Hankins makes quilts. She finds the peculiar value in scraps of fabric and combines them into fabulously beautiful pieces of art. But quilt-making is not just an exercise in self expression. Quilts are functional. Quilts make an empty room homey.
A quilt will keep you warm in a world turned cold. They can be thrown over a couch in any room and somehow blend seamlessly with whatever style is there. Making quilts is about having the natural talent to see how all the scattered bits of the world’s pieces fit together and create a whole that is much larger than the sum of its parts.
My old friend Billy Kemp and I are among the many stray pieces of cloth that Jeni Hankins has discovered on her journey through this life. As are my friends Dave Way, Denny Weston, David Jackson, Craig Eastman and great number of other folks, in whom Jeni found a peculiar value that she could see would blend seamlessly into a beautiful patchwork, which only she could create.
Jeni and Billy’s songs are made of sugar and spice, and everything nice; snips and snails and puppy dog tails; cakes and pie and picnics in the sky.
Legendary Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt said, “There are two kinds of music – the blues and Zip A Dee Doo Dah.” There is a third kind, which finds the best of both and turns it into something seamlessly American and wonderful. My girlfriend Ronda Call, a twenty-year music industry A&R veteran, has a name for it. She says “It’s Jeni, honey! Who wouldn’t want to be Jeni?”
Welcome to Jeni & Billy's picnic. Here's a quilt for you. Find a spot on the grass and help yourself to anything you hear on the table. And don't be shy about coming back for seconds.
- Dillon O'Brian, Grammy-Nominated Producer, Songwriter, & Musician

I first saw Jeni and Billy at Beverley Folk Festival in the UK. Their freshness, authenticity and likability struck me hard and I found it difficult to shake the experience. I have followed their career ever since and devoured each album, whilst each time worrying that their genuine, charming sound will be diluted if they ever "hit the big time."
But I guess they have hit the big time, if the "big time" is gaining a devoted following in the States and in the UK, all of whom can't get enough of Hankins' enchanting tales of life on Jewell Ridge. And I am pleased to say that this album, although produced by the Grammy-award-winning Dave Way (who mixed the Spice Girls), has lost none of the hometown charm of the previous discs.
Like their other records, it's organic and raw. Jeni's voice still falters beguilingly and the duo's synergy is still very much audible.
This new disc is a special treat for Jeni & Billy fans but will be a classy introduction for the uninitiated. I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want. To listen to this again and again.
- Hazel Davis, The Guardian, Maverick, Billboard, UK