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Jessica Smucker - June 2011

Jessica Smucker writes what could be considered "dark pop" songs: catchy melodies in minor keys, lyrics that masterfully infuse sad stories with tiny flecks of humor and hope. She performs in diverse configurations and contexts, but her songs have a consistent melodic edge. "Woven with a sort of defiant sadness, a square-jawed resilience" (Fly Magazine), her compositions often start down a familiar road but, through a series of subtle twists and curves, deliver the listener to an unexpected destination.

Unflinching in her dealings with controversial themes - God, sex, social justice, and the movement of all three through an intimate personal narrative - Jessica delivers lyrics that will trip your mind and tie your stomach in knots. Her voice gives an impression of innocence until it erupts into an explosion of rage or desire - evoking, in its gentler moments, a lullaby quality in the vein of Cat Power, Sarah McLachlan or Over the Rhine, then launching into a vocal diatribe with all the anger and intensity of Alanis Morissette, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple or even Janis Joplin.

A published poet and lifelong writer, Jessica found her voice in music much later. She has played/sung in an acoustic duo with Jeff Bryson (of The Vinegar Creek Constituency) intermittently since 2006. She assembled her band, The Sleeping World, in early 2007, and has guided it through several incarnations.

Jessica's solo work consists of lyrical poetry and musical simplicity. Audiences respond to her straightforwardness and vulnerability on stage, and the intimate format in which she performs.


When she plays with The Sleeping World, she expands the scope of her songs into a lush rock landscape: fuller, deeper arrangements created in collaboration with some of the Central PA region's finest musicians.

Instrumentation
Jessica Smucker - Keys/Vocals
Rich Sexton - Guitar
Dave Sheaffer - Bass
Tommy Leanza - Drums

Discography
The Sleeping World (EP), 2008
Reluctantly Yours (solo EP), 2010
This Broken Moment, 2010

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As Reviewed:

A Beautiful Piece of Heartache - Fly Magazine

John Keats once wrote about the miracle of melancholia, the idea that only by experiencing sorrow can a person know true joy. That idea – the “fertility of pain” – is what makes the music of Jessica Smucker Falcon and her band of merry men, The Sleeping World, so affecting. The songs are woven with a sort of defiant sadness, a square-jawed resilience that only comes once you’ve been knocked off your feet a few times and lived to tell about it.

Also a successful poet (and writer, casting director and film production coordinator), Smucker Falcon has a knack, if not a compulsion, for dumping out her proverbial purse on the table. She’s been writing music for about eight years, and poetry for even longer, so the process of digging deep into her personal history for lyrical fodder is more or less like second nature.
“It’s not scary, but it’s tricky,” she explains. “The idea of exposing my raw nerves to strangers is less daunting than the task of doing it right. The closer the song is to my heart – the more it taps into a pocket of pain that is still active for me – the harder it is for me to accept anything less than a smooth, perfect performance.”

Musically, The Sleeping World has a few obvious touchstones – melody-centric writers like Over The Rhine, Patty Griffin and Leonard Cohen (the band got its name from a Cohen quote), as well as several female artists (Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Alanis Morissette) for whom timidity has never been an issue. At times lilting, shuffling, uplifting and melancholic, the music is also characterized by a certain menacing factor, something sinister lurking just under the surface, like swallowed anger.
“Sometimes, in order to work through a philosophical question or problem that’s eating at me, I have to go to this dark, sinister place in my mind and dredge up the roots of the problem in order to find my way to the other side of it,” Smucker Falcon says. “I’m conscious of it. I’m self- conscious about it. I worry that it will be misunderstood.

“There’s a lot of heavy sh*t in these songs, but I write them because I’m trying to find something true.”

While Smucker Falcon has been writing music as an emotional outlet for years, it wasn’t until early 2007 that, at the encouragement of some musician friends, she entertained the idea of it being an actual pursuit. After tossing a few songs out into the ether, she was able to attract an able-bodied cast of players to back her, including (after a few personnel shifts) Lancaster mainstays Matt Underhill and Tommy Leanza. And before she knew it, The Sleeping World just kind of was.
“It started happening in spite of me. I didn’t seek it out. It found me,” Smucker Falcon says. “I had just moved back to the area, was recently divorced, between jobs … Everything about my life at the time was transitional, so I had this enhanced openness to the whims of fate – or whatever. I figured if I let myself float for a while, I might end up somewhere good. And I did.

“It’s been the most challenging and rewarding creative pursuit of my life so far,” she adds.
The Sleeping World is currently in the midst of recording its debut EP, with a full-length album to follow within the year. Beyond that, the band will continue to spread that little miracle of melancholia around the midstate and collect more fans – like the one who decided to show her appreciation by making Smucker Falcon a battery-operated light-up bra.
“I thought that was the best thing ever – even though I’ll probably never have the guts to wear it on stage,” she laughs. “I’m a sucker for a good story, so for me it’s a highlight when something weird happens. For example, if some drunk lady comes up to me after a show and starts petting my dress or giving me wet kisses on my ears, it’s kind of a highlight.”
To each her own.

On The Web:
For more, please visit.... www.jessicasmucker.com

www.sonicbids.com/jessicasmucker

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jessicasmucker2
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ADAM TAYLOR
ANDREA DAVIDSON
ANDREA DAVIDSON
ANNALISE EMERICK
ANNALISE EMERICK
BLACK COFFEE
BLACK COFFEE

BRETHREN
BRETHREN
BRI ARDEN
BRI ARDEN
BRIAN CARROLL
BRIAN CARROLL
BRITTANY OPPERMAN
BRITTANY OPPERMAN

CARRIE WELLING
CARRIE WELLING
CHRISTINE HAVRILLA
CHRISTINE HAVRILLA
COLEBROOK ROAD
COLEBROOK ROAD
DANA ALEXANDRA
DANA ALEXANDRA

DANIELLE MIRAGLIA
DANIELLE MIRAGLIA
DARRY MILLER and the VEIL
DARRY MILLER & the VEIL
DREW NUGENT
DREW NUGENT
DR. SLOTHCLAW
DR. SLOTHCLAW

DYLAN JANE
DYLAN JANE
HAYLEY SABELLA
HAYLEY SABELLA
INDIAN SUMMER JARS
INDIAN SUMMER JARS
JAKE HILL
JAKE HILL

JD SAGE
JD SAGE
JENEE HALSTEAD
JENEE HALSTEAD
JENSEN KEETS
JENSEN KEETS
JESS KLEIN
JESS KLEIN

JESSICA SMUCKER
JESSICA SMUCKER
JOHN KANE
JOHN KANE
JOHNNY MAINSTREAM
JOHNNY MAINSTREAM
JOSH CHRISTINA
JOSH CHRISTINA


KATIE ROBINETTE
KAYLA KROH
KAYLA KROH
KINGSFOIL
KINGSFOIL
LAURA REED
LAURA REED

LOVEBETTIE
LOVEBETTIE
MALLETT BROTHERS
the MALLETT BROTHERS
MARK DEROSE
MARK DEROSE
Matt Wheeler
MATT WHEELER

MIEKA PAULEY
MIEKA PAULEY

MIKE SHARP
MOSNO
MOSNO
The OK-OK's
THE OK-OK'S

LONE WOLF PROJECT
PHIL FREEMAN
RED ROOSTER
RED ROOSTER
RHYNE
RHYNE McCORMICK
RYAN PETERS
RYAN PETERS

SARAH BLACKER
SARAH BLACKER

SLACKWATER NEWS
SLIMFIT
SLIM FIT
STEVEN COURTNEY
STEVEN COURTNEY

SUZIE BROWN
SUZIE BROWN
SWEET LEDA
SWEET LEDA

the CARDBOARD CROWNS
The Penny Black
THE PENNY BLACK

The Wild Hymns
THE WILD HYMNS
THE CULTIVATORS
THE CULTIVATORS
THE JANE
THE JANE
THE SUBSTANCE
THE SUBSTANCE

THE VANITY BELLES
THE VANITY BELLES
TOY SOLDIERS
TOY SOLDIERS

VIKING MOSES
VOODOO PHARMACOLOGY
VOODOO PHAMACOLOGY


WAYNE SUPERGENIUS
Camela Widad
WIDAD


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