Putting Poetry to Music

Hannah Evelyn Jones’ songwriting is led by her soul

One could say Hannah Evelyn Jones and music were destined to intertwine. Her grandmother, Evelyn, led a family gospel trio in the 1950s and ‘60s. Her father played in bands and ran sound for musicians on the road. Jones and her twin sister grew up singing in church, school choruses, and the Evansville Children’s Choir. Over time, she fell in love with the guitar.

“Guitar grabbed my soul,” Jones says. “I was writing poetry, so it went hand in hand that guitar was the vehicle to put poetry to music.”

By the time Jones graduated from Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana, in 2017, she had been playing solo acoustic music for two-plus years and immersed herself in the local music scene. She was “glued,” she says, to WIRED Coffeehouse & Venue, a Downtown business that closed in 2018.

Now a tattoo artist by trade, Jones sprinkles shows and sessions between writing sessions.

“Music’s funny in that it’s not a full-time job for most people, but it demands your full-time attention,” she says. “It’s a piece of the pie of my professional career.”

Her work is a mix of indie and pop rock, with singer-songwriter and Americana-country influences, too. As a writer, Jones is influenced by Neko Case, Jason Isbell, and Brandi Carlile, as well as “more in-your-face women in country” like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Onstage, she channels the energy of Paramore, Blondie, The Sundays, and Sheryl Crow to deliver an eclectic, engaging show. Her backing band of late, Hannah Evelyn & The Handmades, includes Jake Bethel on bass guitar and vocals, Zach Evans on keys and guitar, and Benji Koelling on drums.

“I find it really easy to do the artistry portion of things, but being an entertainer is a whole different skill set,” she says.

Jones performs under the name Hannah Evelyn, a nod to her musical grandmother. She plays in Haynie’s Corner Arts District and Downtown venues like Bokeh Lounge and the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. She credits the Booked! series at Your Brother’s Bookstore with encouraging a passion for local music.

“I’m a community member, first and foremost,” she says. “A music scene isn’t one band making it. It’s about the collective efforts of all musicians working together and building up the legitimacy of the scene.”

Hannah Evelyn Releases
“Exposed Floors,” a full-length album in 2019
“Cicada Songs,” an EP in 2020
“Embers and Constellations,” an EP in 2021
A collection of singles in 2023

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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