Jessica Smucker believes that the best way to change the world is to channel our pain into connection.
Her songs have a way of reaching deeply into people’s souls and inviting the kind of reflection that feels both reassuring and unsettling. Wrapped in catchy melodies, her lyrics appear simple and relatable on the surface, but each listen will uncover more hidden pockets of nuance. She’s the kind of writer and performer who can lull a noisy room into a hush with a single line.
Although Jessica cares deeply about big picture issues like social justice, she tends to write about life’s more intimate moments. How it feels to walk through an empty house after love has left it. The difference between carrying a child in the womb and mothering them in the world outside. The particular ways a happy marriage can slide into decline. The simultaneous rush and terror of falling in love. The way humans can hunger for things (like peace on earth, or god) we don’t even believe in. The tricks and techniques we all use to shield ourselves from the kinds of knowledge that might lead to pain.
Jessica is based in Lancaster, PA, very near the tiny rural town of Bird-in-Hand where she grew up. Two of her grandparents were born Amish, and she was raised in the Mennonite faith tradition – by a family full of storytellers, activists, adventurers, and pranksters. Although her town was small, the bigger world never seemed out of reach. She felt empowered to engage and explore it.
Jessica has toured nationwide, and performs regularly throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. She has opened for Cheryl Wheeler, Susan Werner, and Bill Staines, and shared billing with Heather Maloney, Meghan Trainor, and the Stray Birds. Notable venues include the Tin Angel (Philadelphia), Godfrey Daniels (Bethlehem, PA), The Cellar Stage (Baltimore), Steel City Coffeehouse (Phoenixville, PA), World Cafe Live (Philadelphia), Muses in the Vineyard (Belvidere, NJ), Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA), and 30A Songwriters Festival (Santa Rosa Beach, FL). She has won or placed in numerous national songwriting contests including SolarFest’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase Competition, the Connecticut Folk Festival Song Competition, and the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.
In her life beyond music Jessica is a published poet and essayist, a social justice warrior, freakishly good at Scrabble, and mother to two of the smartest people she’s ever met in real life.