Appalachia visits Pasadena

Appalachia visits Pasadena

Jeni & Billy keep it real at Caltech

By John Sollenberger 05/10/2012

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Caltech Folk Music Society brings a pair of originals to the Beckman Institute Auditorium stage Saturday night when the Appalachian folk duo Jeni & Billy stop by for a set.

The pair is based in Mount Gilead, NC, part of the Appalachian roots music homeland. Jeni Hankins originally comes from Virginia coal country, where she learned to sing in church choirs and family sing-alongs.

Baltimore native Billy Kemp developed a taste for country music, eventually relocating to Nashville and making a name for himself there, drawing influences from Appalachia and the sound of Tin Pan Alley.

Together, the two write such authentic-sounding roots music, it’s hard to distinguish between their originals and the region’s traditional music. Jeni & Billy’s clean vocal harmonies and guitar-, banjo- and mandolin-driven sound work together to tell the stories of the miners, preachers and plain-living people of the American folk heartland.
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Music starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at Caltech’s Beckman Institute Auditorium (not to be confused with the larger Beckman Auditorium), 400 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children under 12 and Caltech students. Call (626) 395-4652 or visit for information. 


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