Jeri Katherine Howell is a Folk/Americana singer-songwriter and teaching artist based in Frankfort, Kentucky, creating at the intersection of social and ecological justice, wellbeing, and the fullness of our shared human experience. She commands performances with her dynamic voice, thought-provoking lyrics, quality musicianship, and joyful presence. She empowers learners of all ages to creatively share their stories and build inclusive community that blossoms beyond the classroom.
Jeri Katherine has been writing and performing as a solo artist – and collaborating with Kentucky musicians – for over 15 years. In 2007 she won 2nd Place in the Flat Rock Music Festival Songwriters Contest for the title track of her first album Branch to Branch. In 2011 she received the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council to study and perform with master songstress Carla Gover. As she developed artistically, Jeri Katherine began performing with world music band Stirfry Musette and was featured on their 2013 release No String Unturned. That same year, Jeri Katherine released her second album, Collage, featuring 14 original tracks and several of Kentucky's best players. As Jeri Katherine dove into student life at Centre College, she immersed herself in the campus folk music scene as a lead singer and guitarist in the College’s Kentucky Music Ensemble. 2016 brought two tours with the ensemble: one in the Northeastern U.S. and the other in Yamaguchi, Japan. With her fierce interest in cultural exchange and community engagement upon graduation, Jeri Katherine received a Fulbright grant with the U.S. Department of State and performed and lectured throughout San Carlos, Costa Rica with Nat Colten - her partner in music and life - for the 2017 year. In 2020, Jeri Katherine joined Centre College professor, Nathan Link, and students for a Kentucky Ensemble reunion tour in Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and France.
June 1, 2021 debuted Jeri Katherine and Nat Colten’s debut duo album, Holding On. Written over several years of travelling and living in different states and countries, the songs of Holding On reflect on what it means to come back to Kentucky and do just that -- hold on to their hometown, the land they live on, each other, and community amid times of chaos and difficulty. Composed of five tracks written by Howell and five by Colten, the album celebrates the duo’s connection to place and community. The album includes songs written across several years and sometimes even across different continents, but the resulting work is a seamless reflection on the interconnection and interdependence of nature, self, and community, with threads of social and environmental justice. Holding On features musical accompaniment from an array of talented Kentucky artists - Jordon Ellis (drums, recording, mixing), Ellie Miller (fiddle, viola), Nathan Link (bass), and Braden Urevick (guitar). The album was mastered by Justin Perkins of Mystery Room Mastering in Wisconsin. Frankfort photographer Joa McDaniel shot the album’s cover art beneath an old shagbark hickory on Howell’s former family farm.
Holding On is available digitally where music streams.
Awards, Recognition, Education & Community Work
Alternate ROOTS, Member / 2023 - Present
Kentuckians for the Arts, Member / 2023 - Present
Josephine Sculpture Park, Assistant Director (formerly Program Director) / 2018 - Present
Kentucky Arts Council Teaching Artist Directory, Adjudicated Member / 2019 - Present
Berea College Partners for Rural Impact Teaching Artist Directory, Adjudicated Member / 2019 - Present
Yes Arts Teaching Artist / 2018 - Present
Kentucky Arts Council Performing Artists Directory, Adjudicated Member / 2018 - Present
Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification / 2023
University of Kentucky, Master of Science in Community & Leadership Development / 2020 - 2022
HeartBEATS Founder & Program Manager / 2018 - 2020
Youth Arts & Environmental Education Program Consultant / 2018 - 2020
Kentucky Foundation for Women, Art Meets Activism Grantee / 2019-2020
Professional Environmental Educator Certification / 2019
National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, Creative Placemaking Scholar / 2019
Kentucky Foundation for Women Firestarter Award, Recipient / 2018
Kentucky Arts Council, Certified Community Scholar / 2018
U.S. Department of State Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship / 2017
Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate, International TEFL Academy / 2017
Centre College, B.A. Environmental Studies & Spanish, Latin American Studies Minor (Valedictorian) / 2012 - 2015
Jeri Katherine is currently booking paid opportunities for all of 2024.
Jeri Katherine is booking concerts as a solo, duo, trio or full band act, performing one to two sets. She performs for venues that intentionally center the musical/creative experience, such as a listening room, house concert, educational performance, or music festival. It is preferable for the venue to provide sound production, but Jeri Katherine can provide sound production for an additional fee.
Previous concerts include Grand Theatre (Frankfort, KY, 2023), House of Jane Songwriter Sessions (Madison, IN, 2023), Arts Center of the Bluegrass (Danville, KY, 2023), Louisville Folk School Shady Grove Summer Stage (Louisville, KY, 2023), The Burl (Lexington, KY, 2020), Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest ColorFest (Clermont, KY, 2019), Senora May's Sweet Thing Jamboree (Irvine, KY, 2019), Kentucky Arts Council's Kentucky Crafted Market (Lexington, KY, 2019), Downtown Art Walk (Rutland, VT, 2018), Costa Rica Institute of Technology Theatre (Santa Clara, Alajuela, Costa Rica, 2017), Yamaguchi University Bluegrass Week (Yamaguchi, Japan, 2016), Brooklyn Music Factory (Brooklyn, NY, 2016), and a variety of private house concerts around the world (2010-present).
Jeri Katherine considers it an honor to contribute music for those special, often vulnerable, private moments in your life. Examples include performing pre-selected songs for a wedding ceremony, anniversary, celebration of life, or other special ceremony. These performances are paid. It is preferable that the venue provide sound production, but Jeri Katherine can provide sound production for an additional fee.
PUBLIC SPEAKING + LECTURES
Jeri Katherine is a poised, engaging and empowering public speaker and lecturer who draws from her interdisciplinary educational, creative, and life experiences. Topics may include environmental education, arts education, social justice, environmental justice, climate change leadership, community development, community based learning, community engagement, facilitation, creativity, and personal and organizational development. Past examples include serving as a keynote speaker at The Bonner Foundation's National Congress (2019, topic: art, music & social justice) and Kentucky Environmental Education Council & Kentucky Department of Education’s Green and Healthy Schools Awards Summit (2018, topic: youth environmental leadership), a panelist at U.S. Department of State and World Learning’s U.S. Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar on Substance Abuse Prevention & The Arts (2018) and Norton Center for the Arts Creative Conversations: Being a Woman in the Arts World Today (2018), a guest speaker for the University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College Singletary Scholars Program (2020, topic: my leadership journey) and the New Leaders Council Kentucky Changemakers Institute (2023, topic: joy, wellbeing & community building), and a guest lecturer for Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program (2022, topic: music career & songwriting) and Centre College Music Program (2019 & 2020, topics: songwriting, flat footing & Irish roots of Kentucky music).
WORKSHOPS + RESIDENCIES
Jeri Katherine is a skilled and experienced teaching artist, focused on songwriting and arts-based environmental education with a trauma-informed lens. Since 2010, she has taught for community groups, after school programs, universities, and elementary and high schools for a range of 1-hour workshops to multi-day residencies. She is an adjudicated member of the Partners for Rural Impact and Kentucky Arts Council's Teaching Artist Rosters. In 2018, she was awarded the Kentucky Foundation for Women Firestarter Award for her songwriting and teaching artist projects that foster social change. As a teaching artist, Howell also draws from her formal education: M.S. Community and Leadership Development, B.A. Spanish and Environmental Studies, and certifications in environmental education, teaching English as a Foreign Language, Kentucky Community Scholar, and Youth Mental Health First Aid. These are paid opportunities. Previous teaching artist workshop and residency examples include a multi-day songwriting and concert video performance residency at Model Laboratory High School (Richmond, KY, 2022), Yes Arts middle & high school multi-day songwriting workshop (Frankfort, KY, 2021), multi-day virtual songwriting residency with Lynn Camp Middle/High School Visual & Performing Arts students (2020), “HeARTs Virtual Classroom Communities: Building Safe, Inclusive & Creative Virtual Classroom Communities” at the Berea College Virtual Festival of Learnshops (2020), Fulbright U.S. Student English Teaching Assistantship Access Scholarship Program Teacher (Santa Clara, Alajuela, Costa Rica, 2017), and Cowan Creek Mountain Music School (Whitesburg, KY, intermittent 2014-2019, topics: old time harmony singing, Kids on the Creek, guitar, old time string band).
- "JSP Art in Nature Camps Offer 'Mindful Artmaking'." FRANK. Magazine, 1 June 2022. By Susan L. Moore.
- “Snapped: Nat Colten and Jeri Katherine Howell album release party.” FRANK. Magazine, 9 July 2021. By Hannah Brown.
- "Frankfort singer-songwriters Jeri Katherine Howell and Nat Colten announce debut duo album." The State Journal, 3 June 2021.
- "HeartBEATS inspires youth through beat making." The State Journal, 16 Oct 2018. By Chanda Veno.
- "Kentucky Foundation for Women honors feminists with 2018 Firestarters award presentations." KyForward, 6 Aug 2018. No author.
- "Four Americana music acts added to Kentucky Arts Council's Performing Artists Directory." KyForward, 12 July 2018. No author.
- "Digging deep into community in Frankfort and abroad: Get to know Fulbright scholar Jeri Katherine Howell." The State Journal, 8 July 2018. By Hannah Brown.
- "Bluegrass Bios - Jeri Katherine Howell (Franklin County Singer-songwriter)." Lexington Community Radio, 2 Feb 2018. By Chuck Clenney.
- "Faculty, Staff and Alumni Bring Centre to Japan for Kentucky Bluegrass Week." Centre College, 14 Dec 2016. By Elizabeth Trollinger.
- "Jeri Howell '16 Awarded Fulbright Grant to Teach English in Costa Rica." Centre College, 13 June 2016. By Elizabeth Trollinger.
- "Centre's Kentucky Ensemble Tour New England." Centre College, 16 March 2016. By Elizabeth Trollinger.
- "Behind the Scenes at Churchill Downs: Jeri Howell '16 Interns with Backside Learning Center." Centre College, 23 June 2014. By Laurie Pierce.
- "Jeri Howell '16 Sings and Strums Her Way into the Spotlight." Centre College, 30 May 2013. By Elizabeth Trollinger.