Sleeping on the Plane
'Sleeping on the Plane,' is a tangible example of the way love inspires artists to create. Joana Smith had been struggling for two years to write another song, until she feel profoundly in love. Then, for the first time she was plunged into such an intense period of inspiration that many of the songs were written two-at-a-time, and the whole album was penned in the length of time it takes to go on a long plane ride. Joana's own words: FOUR YEARS AGO you would have found me painting through the night in the basement of a stone cabin that I thought was haunted, though it was only the rustling of deer eating the azaleas outside. Having just stepped off the plane from London, I found that my funds were so depleted from two weeks of living in the loft of a Cotswold barn-turned-recording-studio, that I could no longer afford to live in New York. Retreating to the 'burbs, I took on some odd jobs: nannying, teaching piano to an emphysemic shut-in with an impeccable manicure, and selling lottery tickets during the lunchtime shift at the local deli. Maybe things had gotten off track somewhere in all the moving around, from San Francisco, to Texas, to New York, to England; I felt like a noncitizen with no sense of home or belonging. I tried to use this as inspiration to fuel my writing, but everything felt stifled; and the musical phrases that had once brought me joy, were now laborious. That's why I started to paint. At the end of the summer, a deluge hit and water flooded under the wall into my little room molding my clothes, mattress, paintings, everything. When the family I nannied for refused to recognize that there was a problem, I knew something had to change. A church in England had been looking for some musical and artistic help, and when I got the job, I went back to England. Even though my new job was stimulating creatively, I still hadn't managed to overcome that songwriter's block. Until one Christmas...The family who was partly responsible for bringing me to England invited me to spend Christmas Day with them. I had known them for years, but throughout all that time I had never met their oldest son. He had been away at school in Boston. It wasn't long after Nathan bounded down the stairs with a gigantic dictionary that we met eyes and everything started to feel like home. One night, a few months after the initial meeting, when Nathan had returned to Boston and we were in the midst of a deeply entwined written correspondence, I woke, sitting upright in bed with musical phrases careening through my brain. Love hadn't helped me find the music in my life again; love was shouting music into my ears. I had no choice but to get up and write. The first song on the album, 'Little Seed,' is actually the first song of that spree. It's about being released from unproductive labor to become fruitful again. As I wrote it, a love song, 'Have Anything,' emerged to form a 6/8 timed medley. The two songs were later pulled apart for recording purposes. The paintings that adorn the CD jacket are my original artwork, from the basement.