The Sleeping World

The Sleeping World

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Sultry, bluesy rock. Singer/songwriter Jessica Smucker's songs are "woven with a sort of defiant sadness, a square-jawed resilience" (Fly Magazine). A sweet, sincere voice delivering lyrics that will trip your mind & tie your stomach in knots.

Biography

An emerging indie rock band out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, The Sleeping World features original songs by Jessica Smucker, a successful poet whose recent foray into the music world has birthed a new breed of sinister love songs. Melding her literary sensibilities with her breathy, intimate voice, Smucker is able to accurately, and painfully, describe not just the external world but the inner depths of her being in a way that draws the listener in to an experience that can be both cathartic and uncomfortable.

Comparable to groups like 10,000 Maniacs and Over the Rhine in both sound and scope, The Sleeping World strives to create music that matters, music that can make some impact on the state of the world. The music comes first, but the message is never far behind--issues of faith, sensuality, relationships, where the past meets the present and hints at possible futures. Thematically, The Sleeping World resembles U2 in its exploration of the co-existence of the secular and the sacred--but whereas U2 reaches outward toward global definition, Smucker looks within, bravely asserting her personal stories and insights as little mirrors for the world.

Formed in early 2007, The Sleeping World quickly gained notoriety in the Lancaster, PA music scene, and has begun breaking into other regional markets. This isn't the kind of band to trickle into listeners' consciousness and win them over time; they take their audiences by storm, eliciting immediate visceral reactions and commanding the attention of new devotees everywhere they go.

Lyrics

Brooklyn Bridge

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

If I could take you anywhere right now
we'd climb the Brooklyn Bridge. I'd show you how to see
the whole wide world inside your camera lens
but you'd waste all your pretty shots on me instead.
We'd throw our voices out to meet the edge even though
competing steamboats have the upper hand
and every time I make a little dent
there's nowhere left for me to go but home again.
You wrote a song that set my blind love free,
took your guitar & moved away from me
and ever since my days are all the same--
tuning in to hear the one you titled my name.

I lay my head down on the radio & let your love sing me to sleep.
This song's the only thing in life right now I'm sure I want to keep.

I've seen the tired sands of Africa. I've been to France.
I've been around the world & back again
but I'm still living in the town we knew.
That means I'm too much of a small-town girl to hold the likes of you.
The New York skyline's got me wondering
if you're okay. I haven't seen you since that autumn day when you
threw up in the cab & kissed my cheek
and I cleaned up & paid the tab & left you in the street.

I go back home to where I know I'm safe & wait for you to come out of this haze
'cause suicide is not the only way to kill yourself these days.

(musical break)

Something happened when the lights when out.
You rose up like a phoenix from my silent mouth
and whispered in my ear until I came around,
packed up my bags with all my rage
and stormed the man who's hogging up the stage.

It's not your fault you get to live like that.
I don't want your life. I want mine back.
Your luck's the only thing in life right now that's keeping me on track.

I lay my head down on the radio & let your love sing me to sleep.
This song's the only thing in life right now I'm sure I want to keep.

You'll Forgive Me

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

It's over. I'm sorry.
You will have to live without me now.
I'm moving to Chicago. I'll pick up my things tomorrow.

It's not you, it's me. I'm like a leaf stuck to a tree
I'd give my roots, my breath, my home, my peace
to freefall with the autumn breeze--
let the wind blow me to anywhere but in your arms,
let the city lights eclipse the moonlight's song.
A fever's burning my whole world into a rage
but darling, you will forgive me one of these days.

Come closer. I would like to tell you how you shook my life.
I'm still inebriated from the myth that you created
when you fell in love with me & let me bring my misery
into your house, into your mind, a cloud against your sky-blue eyes.

I can't remember how I let it come to this,
when you were wild-eyed & begging me to reconsider.
I had no choice. I slammed the door & blocked your way
But baby, you will forgive me one of these days.

There is a special place in hell for one like me
who tears the wool right off the sheep
and brings a grown man to his knees.
But when you get back up it'll be better you than me:
You'll be the still, bright moon lighting up the sky.
I'll be the insatiable sea.

Don't worry about me. I chose this life. I'm finally free.
Don't worry about me. I chose this life. I'm finally free.

Tumbleweeds

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

On the way to Arizona
with a suitcase full of nothing
Lucid stories, tentative lies--
I hope you don't mind that's all I have got to offer.

From the cockpit, the pilot's smooth voice.
A shot of vodka from the waitress's tray.
Hope is beyond me, the world's below me.
From my seat I'm mapping out the landscape.

The world is checkered fields and solid, curving lines.
The snowy mountains are sublime.
I'm glad to live and bleed and sing most of the time
but if this plane would crash, I probably wouldn't mind.

You love me best when I'm on a mission.
Can you believe in my bad decisions?
Everyone's grown up and moved away but
I'm still sitting in my little room, begging you to play with me.

We climb the rocks until we're 10,000 feet tall,
move with the panoramic scene.
In Arizona there's no safety net at all
and only canyons' mouths will catch you when you fall.

(musical break)

This story's fading. We're going extinct.
We've got a few good years.
I could survive if I'd stop caring what you think but you are
ever-present as the tumbleweeds blowing all around me.

It's like a movie screen that never fades to black,
the climax reeling in our brains.
We ride into the sunset but the sunset hesitates.
If you'd ever loved me, you'd be singing my refrain.

On the way home from Arizona...
I close my eyes & try to sleep.

Mercy

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

I see the shadows move across the sky.
I see the stars are falling down on you and I
keep hoping maybe you'll forgive what I'm about to do.
You can handle everything just right
but still one day you see your entire life--
a magician's cloth that's pulled right out from under you.
You mistook me for a lullaby
but I'm a wrecking ball, I'm a thief at night.
I'm the empty room that greets you in the morning light.
You want to salvage something from this mess,
turn our impending doom into a big success
but I've got nothing left and baby, I'm content to fail.

I've been reaching for the wrong ends
waging fake wars up in my head.
Starve the body just to spite the soul.

I'd try harder but the devil's got his hands on me.
He's all liquored up and getting ready for the feast.
You cook it long enough, it starts to taste a little sweet.
Well he treats me right, you know, but he won't set me free.
I have to leave this town
'cause I'd always let you down.

I can feel you moving on from me,
see the apple fall from the dying tree.
I'm just a yesterday that flickers as you walk away.
But forgiveness isn't novocaine,
it doesn't numb the lips or take away the pain.
It's just a thing you say & hope it'll be true someday.

Give me something to hold on to,
the grip of hands pulling me in.
Give me body--I've had enough of soul.

I want Jesus to jump off the cross & dance with me,
let our hips rewrite the canon, reinvent mercy.
He's the only one who can make me come but we both know
that martyrdom's the purest form of apathy.
I'll be waiting in your bed
‘til you come back from the dead.

Mercy...you're the gun that hunts me down.
Mercy...hands & knees, I'm on the ground.
Oh…
Mercy...I'm ready now.

Last-Minute Messiahs

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

She’s been getting used to this since she was 5 years old.
Why don’t you let your little girl be a little girl?
I’m supposed to love you as if you were my kin.
Well I couldn’t say I would love you if you were.

I come and sit by your bedside
But I’m running out of things to say.
You’ve been dying for way too long.
Why don’t you give it up? Just give her up.
You think religion’s gonna ease her pain—
Your street of gold and last-minute messiahs?
Why don’t you jump on a fast train out of her mind?

Dirty daddy’s kisses taste like ashes.
Mama looks so pretty through the smoke.
She’s been dusting shadows all her long, long life
And you’re still throwing fires on the stove.

I could shed some light on your life
but the smoke is getting in my eyes.
You’ve kept her wishing for way too long.
Why don’t you give it up? Just give her up.
You think religion’s gonna ease your mind—
Your street of gold and last-minute messiahs?
Why don’t you jump on a fast train out of her mind?

(musical break)

I come and sit by your bedside
But I’m running out of things to say.
You’ve been dying for way too long.
Why don’t you give it up? Just give her up.
You think religion’s gonna ease her pain—
Your street of gold and last-minute messiahs?
Why don’t you jump on a fast train out of her mind?

Why don’t you jump on a fast train out of our lives?

Holy Holy

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

In the underworld, there's a little girl
throwing fire into her wounds
and your God is there, sees that she is scared
but he just watches her amused.
It's just a nasty dream but it looks just like
a scene out of the books that we've been reading:
a God of power and light
stained onto these pages
the residue of fear in every eye.

Holy holy...

Who'll be the star of Jesus?
Who memorized that verse?
I started to tell my story
but he had to sell his first.
In his tragic fantasy, the hero always dies
while we're standing on the shoreline, waiting for him to arrive.

Holy holy...

(musical bridge)

I'm sorry. It's just me. I don't really mean to accuse.
But all the prophets and the Holy Bible—
well, they didn't help to ease the confusion.
I'm sorry. It's just me. I don't really mean to accuse
but throw the literature out the window
and show me a little piece of good news.

I want to be whole.
Holy...

Sweet & Broken

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

Summer is hot but the water is cold.
You swim up to me, hold out your shriveled-up hands
and say, "I think we're getting old."
I'm trying to laugh but you're drifting away.
You're saying, "Cheer up, Angel Face, nobody's dying today."

There was a time when you were a snowman
melting in the yard before my eyes.
The grip of your hands to the wisp of a man,
evaporated, drifting out of time.

chorus:
I want to be like the edges of the sea,
fold your sweet & broken body into me.

There's a statue of a lady poised above her grave.
It says she fell down a crooked staircase on her wedding day.
I pass her in the crowded cemetery on my way
to the bar where I'm going to drink away another day.

chorus

I walk around this little city. It's a trap these days.
Everybody wants to leave but everybody stays.
I hold my hand out to touch the cool breeze,
crunch the leaves beneath my shoe--
anything to feel alive now that I've lost you.

(musical break)

chorus

Autumn was sweat and winter was blood.
We thought that we could make it to the spring.

Beautiful Sin

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

It's 2 am & the music stops. There's nothing left but you & me.
You throw one back & you move toward the door
But then you turn to look at me.
Listen here: I don't want any protest. I'll tell you how it's gonna be.
You'll arrive like a thief in the night and make sweet love to me.
Angel of death you'll take me back to where I started from.
I'll hold my breath until you're as naked as the winter sun.

Loneliness is a pissed-off kid with 2 little dolls in his fists.
Knocking us together til we come apart & he's alone again.
You've got a way of getting everything you want from me.
Lucky for you 'cause that's exactly how I want it to be.

Oh—
Let me run down from your chin like forbidden rain.
We've got nothing to lose
And nothing beyond the dead of this night to gain.

Throw me down on the bed like a sinister map of every place you've been.
Draw the lines on my skin--irrefutable proof of this, our beautiful sin.
You'll be the king & I will bathe upon my roof.
But forget the king—I don't care who you are, if you want the truth.

(musical break)

Come away to the place where society bends us & the lions feed.
Pull me out of the muck and mess of all that I'm supposed to be.
You are my Jesus for tonight. I don't mind telling you so.
But when we're through you'd better pick up your humanity
off the floor & go.

Reluctantly Yours

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

Love the price we pay for our sins.
The game isn't fun to play and, of course, nobody wins.
Someone gets bored and everybody gets scared.
The jury is rising. The verdict's in.
It's "why the hell should we care?"

If all the signs are saying "run like hell"
then what are you still doing, standing there?
I'm not a woman. I'm a warning bell,
a doomsday siren blowing through the air.

This isn't real love. It's only a dare.
Fumbling my way to you
to see if I can have an ordinary love affair.

If I can love you, I might live again.
It's a simple way of challenging the odds.
But hold on, let me catch my breath again
'cause I can't outrun the vengeance of the gods.

(musical break)

Miracles can happen, sure
but you're not dumb.
You're not on your hands and knees.
You're putting on your coat and getting ready to run.
Well, don't be alarmed but
I'm blocking the door.
I'm cynical and sad but still
reluctantly yours.

Every time I put my hands on you
it's like I'm lost and running in the rain
but if I never find my way again,
well, I'd have to be a fool to complain.

Mermaid's Kiss

Written By: Jessica Smucker Falcon

I had a mind of my own.
I was gonna form clouds with words and speak rain in tongues
on your wedding day.
I was gonna be the one
to prophesy your mermaid wife--
how she'd only step down from the movie screen
long enough for you to take a bite.

I wanted more than your bed.
I'm a cupid of words like arrows shooting straight to your head.
I was gonna be the one
but there she was with her hair hung down and the ocean on her back.

It all happened so quickly
I'm afraid I missed my cue
or maybe I'm just tired.

I probed your mind with my tongue,
burned you with chaliced lips you mistook for a mermaid's kiss
but I wanted more than your lust.
I'm the sepulchral groan of the wind.
I could beat your words to dust.
Just haven't bothered for a long time.
A long time.

I can't be what you want me to be--
fumbling through your brain, riding on the waves of a fool's mythology.
Everything that you can't have--that's what you want.
You always look to the big screen mermaids
'cause they can't run like I can.

The ocean won't underwrite your claims
but there are currents beneath the surface bowing down to your name.
You're a pocket of sand I've swallowed.
Parched, my lips run dry
while you're asleep on the coastline, tanning,
so vain you won't deny
what I've been saying for a long time.
A long time.

Discography

The Sleeping World EP - release date August 23, 2008

Set List

Original Song List:

The All Clear
*Autumn Lullaby
Beautiful Sin
The Blues Are Here to Stay
*Brooklyn Bridge
Dear John Letter to Jesus
*Holy Holy
*Land of Goshen
*Last-minute Messiahs
Love is a Date Rape Drug
Love Song for the Apocalypse
Mercy
Mermaid's Kiss
No One But Myself
Overthrown
Party Like We're Free
Rattle My Chain
Reluctantly Yours
Same Time Every Year
Shut Up
Sweet and Broken
There and Back Again
Tumbleweeds
The Will to Sing
With Us or Against Us
*You'll Forgive Me

(* on The Sleeping World EP)

Cover Song List
(a sampling of the cover songs we perform live):
Dolly Parton - Jolene
Fiona Apple - Sleep to Dream
KT Tunstall - Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
M. Ward – Sad Sad Song
PJ Harvey – This is Love
XTC - Dear God