what's up?


As a Fulbright alumna, I teamed up with Dr. Elliot Gann, Executive Director of Today's Future Sound (TFS), to write a USDS Alumni TIES grant to launch HeartBEATS, an innovative and trauma-informed Hip Hop and beat making youth development program for middle and high school students at The Kings Center in Frankfort, KY. Elliot brings the Hip Hop, beat making, mental health and youth development expertise. I bring the local knowledge, grant writing and program development interest, and drive to bring more creative youth development opportunities to Frankfort. Learn more in our State Journal article.

In addition to the grant, local partners include Frankfort Independent Schools, Hands Healing HeArts, South Frankfort Presbyterian Church, Kentucky State University Music Department, Scott Tippet and the Franklin Co. Agency for Substance Abuse Policy. Would you like to support HeartBEATS? Any amount helps. Email me for details.

In less than ONE WEEK, Elliot and TFS Senior Instructor Elwin Williams III will be in Frankfort to train local artists in Hip Hop pedagogy and how to implement HeartBEATS. Elliot will also be facilitating two community workshops on October 30 and November 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in the Paul Sawyier Public Library Community Room. If you want to learn more about the psychology behind the power of music...check this out.

Follow the project by liking our Facebook Page and Instagram @heartbeatsfrankfortky.

There are several ways you can support HeartBEATS: 

  • Make a donation. We need sustainable funds to keep this going. Email me for details.

  • Invite friends & colleagues to one of the community workshops

  • Like our Facebook Page & share the page on your wall

  • Follow us on Instagram @heartbeatsfrankfortky  


Thanks, friends! The journey continues... 

Best wishes to you and yours,


Jeri K. 



Motivating, Reassuring, Gratifying 

Two big honors this year that recognize my work as a singer-songwriter-guitarist and teaching artist have left me feeling motivated to continue and grow this work; reassured that I have found a vocation that intersects my passions, skills and interests with my community's needs and wants; and gratified that folks are recognizing my work and that I am honoring that work, after several years of personally pushing it aside.

First big honor: 2018 Firestarter Award 

(Left to Right) Brianna Harlan, Firestarter; Betty Dobson, Sallie Bingham Awardee; Mackenzie Fraley, Firestarter; Jeri Katherine Howell, Firestarter

I received the 2018 Firestarter Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for my innovative and creative work as a singer-songwriter and teaching artist, and for my work through Hands Healing HeArts.  I was honored alongside fellow Firestarters Brianna Harlan (radically vulnerable art installations), Lacey Trautwein (literary publishing) and Mackenzie Fraley (theatre). KFW shared, "All [the Firestarters] are forging new spaces for dialogue and engagement, thought-provoking performances and community participation." Jennifer Zingg's nomination and my ultimate receipt of this award fuels me to write more, do more and collaborate more in the area of art for social change.

I was so happy to lead the singalong with one of my co-collaborators and dear friend and mentor, Joanna Hay, at the KFW Day awards ceremony.

Firestarters are young people developing as feminist, social change artists whose work has the potential to create change for women and girls in Kentucky. If you have a young artist in mind, consider nominating them in the spring of 2019. Read more about the award and my fellow Firestarters here.


Second big honor: Pine Mountain Collective

Nat and I were invited to participate in Kentucky Natural Land Trust's Artists' Retreat as singer-songwriters and musicians. A few weeks ago, we set out to Pine Mountain Settlement School for a weekend of learning about KNLT's Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor project, meeting new creatives, hiking in protected old growth forests on Pine Mountain and reflection. After this incredible retreat, we were welcomed into the Pine Mountain Collective, a group of artists who have been on this retreat and share resources and news with one another and collaborate on work related to arts and the environment.

It felt wonderful to refuel in this creative space and to soak up the healing beauty of Pine Mountain. That place will inform my music and outdoor experiences for years to come.  


And there's more good news to come...

Bluegrass in the Green Mountains Tour 

WE'RE GOING ON TOUR! The Jeri Katherine Howell Trio features the lovely and recently bewedded (to me!) Nat Colten and the fantastic fiddler Jimmy Kalb. There's Jimmy above, wearing his halo while rockin' a fiddle tune for me to clog to with schoolchildren during our 2016 tour in Yamaguchi, Japan! Jimmy is a Kentucky lad who was given a fiddle at birth. He moved to Vermont in 2017 (no, he's still not used to the winters). When not hugging radiators, Jimmy enjoys fiddling with bands in Vermont and Kentucky, including Rutland's "Miss Guided Angels."

Jimmy and I have played music together across central Kentucky, throughout the northeast, and across oceans. This time we are stickin' around Jimmy and, his wife, Jessica's new hometown of Rutland, VT. A HUGE thank you to Jessica and Jimmy for inviting us into their home, and for booking us some wonderful community shows. Please help us share some Bluegrass in the Green Mountains by forwarding the tour info to your friends in and around Vermont. 


I also am thrilled to give a shoutout to Nathan Link, the human who introduced Jimmy and me, got us playing music together and found funding for us to tour as the Centre College Kentucky Ensemble. Check out this video below to learn more about this incredible human, educator and musician, and to hear a song featuring Nate, Jimmy and me (around 2 min 40 seconds).


Invite us to your hometown! We like to get to know your neighbors, hear their stories, understand the culture and dynamics of a community. It doesn't matter to us how small or large your hometown is. If you can help us set up some shows, we will do our darndest to get there.

With love,

Jeri K. 

Art of Recovery  

"This is your song, we are just facilitating the conversation," I encouraged the women at the start of our songwriting workshop with Hands Healing HeArts (HHH Arts) in 2016. At this time, HHH Arts was an arts-based project for women moving forward in their lives while struggling with the ongoing effects of drug addiction. Nat Colten and I were guest artists, tasked with facilitating a songwriting workshop with the women. After a five-minute free-write, the women shared their thoughts about what they hoped their song would communicate. Collectively, the group wanted a song that painted the ups and downs of addiction and recovery for an audience that may not have any idea what it's like, and communicate that addiction can affect anyone at any time. Each participant wrote 5 words or phrases that they thought of when they meditated on "recovery," and several phrases repeated: "road to recovery," "God," "hope,"lies,"addiction," "honest," "family," and "bent but not broken," which became the title of their song.  Nat and I pieced together "Bent But Not Broken" using the women's draft verses, poetry and journal entries they had written earlier in the year,  and our collaborative conversations from that day. As a songwriter, this was the most collaborative and meaningful workshop that I had facilitated. I also believe it's one of the most important songs that Nat and I will ever write.    

Joanna Hay Productions' film "Art of Recovery" documents this first year of Hands Healing HeArts' programming, and a year in the lives of several women on their road to recovery in Franklin County. Their song, "Bent But Not Broken," weaves its way throughout the film. You can see this important, timely, compassionate and engaging film on Kentucky Educational Television (KET) this month and next (KET May 20th 3:30 PM, KET2 May 20th 10:30 PM, KETKY June 3rd 7:00 PM, KETKY June 16th 12:00 PM, KETKY June 17th 7:00 PM, and KETKY June 27th 6:00 PM). There will also be a special showing at the Speed Art Museum Cinema in Louisville, KY on June 10th. View the trailer below: 

This year, Hands Healing HeArts has expanded to include programming for women and men in drug court and their children. I am currently working as their Youth and Family Program Coordinator, conducting arts workshops with local artists in public schools and with family service organizations, as well as establishing sustainable creative youth development programs for children and teens in Frankfort. Learn more, support and follow our journey a hhharts.org.  

Love to each one of you, wherever you may be on your journey of healing.

Jeri K. 












A big shout out to community radio stations for giving local folks a platform to share their stories. I am grateful to have been on two community radio stations in February and March: WLXU 93.9 Lexington Community Radio and WXOX 97.1 ARTxFM in Louisville!

You can listen to some of my original tunes and my interview with Chuck Clenney on his show "Bluegrass Bios" on Lexington Community Radio. We discussed my experience playing music in Costa Rica and how growing up in Kentucky - the landscape, people, and culture - has shaped and continues to shape my songwriting. Like any interview, there were several details that I messed up or recalled leaving out once the microphones went off the airwaves, so I've noted those here: another great place to hear local music in Frankfort is at Josephine Sculpture Park events, the 2018 Frankfort Art Walk is  April 27th,  and here's the application for the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition's Catalyst Summer Camp. Also while on the airwaves, I couldn't remember some of the lyrics to my new song, "Space of Quiet." So, here it is in its entirety... 

If you speak Spanish, would like to practice listening to Spanish, or would like to hear live cuts of my original songs, "The Blues" and "Abandoned House," you can listen to my interview with Luis de Leon on his program "Acentos" on ARTxFM in Louisville! We discussed what I learned in Costa Rica and how I will apply what I learned to my work in Kentucky. You can also check out the Facebook live video.

Jeri Katherine with Luis de Leon from "Acentos"

If you don't do so already, I encourage you to tune in to your community radio stations to learn about the great work going on close to you, how you can engage with your community, and how you can tell your story on the airwaves!  

Love to y'all.


A Magical, Unfolding Beginning 

Hello, good folks!

2017 was a year of growth and exploration. I received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant from the U.S. Department of State to teach, engage in community and live in San Carlos, Ciudad Quesada, Costa Rica. I packed my bags, made lifelong friends from all over Latin America and the U.S., taught culture and managed the community service program for 45 incredible high school students in the Access Microscholarship program, assisted in public school English classes, and Nat and I performed and gave workshops about Kentucky music and dance for schools, universities and community groups. I want to give a special thank you to Rose Mary and Federico - from the band Jabiru (check 'em out!) - who opened their home and friendship to us and let us into the heart of the local Costa Rican folk music scene.

Over those 10 months, we created a beautiful life. I loved and am loving, learned and am learning, more than I can yet express or recognize. Gracias a San Carlos, a mis estudiantes y colegas, y a mis amig@s. Sé que nos veremos pronto. Pura vida.

Performing at the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica in Santa Clara

So, what does 2018 have in store? As inspired by the words of Melody Beattie: This is a beginning. I'm letting it be magical. I'm letting it unfold.

I'm putting myself out into the universe musically with this NEW WEBSITE, writing new tunes, booking shows, collaborating with artists and organizations, and being open to opportunities that come my way. Please peruse and share the new site, and feel free to reach out to me in the "Contact" section. You can still keep up with my past, present, and future music endeavors via Facebook or Instagram, as well.

February Shows

May you seek to engage the wildness in your own heart, mapping the way in love.

Best wishes to you and yours,

Jeri K.


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