An Unusual Source Of Inspiration Revealed

You will find in this article singer songwriter Geri Smith's unique insight on how inspiration came to write her favorite song.

While not playing her own songs, Singer Songwriter Geri Smith is writing with Nashville writer Sol Knopf, singing and speaking the role of the Ladybug for Rob Dickenson's Children's Tale "The Ladybug's Shelter". Below you will find, her unique insight, on how inspiration came to write her favorite song:

The strangest way I ever wrote a song was in my sleep. The song is called "Not Alone". I dreamed I was in a cave, and there was thunder and lightning at the cave entrance. It was raining really hard. I was looking at some cave paintings on the walls. There were animals that looked like the ones on the caves of Altimira, and a message in some strange language that I somehow knew was for me. As I was trying to read the message, my ex husband came in with a can of black spray paint and began gleefully painting over the writing and drawings, exclaiming "I won, I won!" I walked further into the cave and there were voices murmuring , but I couldn't make out what they were saying. My boyfriend and dobro player Jimmy was lying on top of a huge wooden crate with his ear pressed to it. He said "I'm listening". I felt once again like there was a message there for me that I couldn't quite make out. I walked toward the entrance of the cave and there were two soldiers in fatigues standing at the entrance. They said "You can't leave yet, you have to remember the song!" I suddenly heard guitar music in C minor tuning begin to play, and the soldiers sang me these lines "I dreamed of thunder, I heard the sound, I dreamed of water tumbling down, I saw the lightning in a distant sky, I heard the voices of ages gone by" They said "Sing it back!" And I did. Then they said "OK you can go, but you have to remember the song." I woke up and there was a bird right outside my window singing one note over and over. I got up and put my guitar in C minor tuning (which I had never written in before although I have used other open tunings) It was as though I already knew how to play the progression that became the song. If you have ever played in an open tuning you know that you usually have to hunt for chords, but not this time. It was like I already knew how to play it. I quickly wrote the rest of the song about the experience. It was one of those songs that all comes out at once. The sun was just coming up. When it was finished I felt a sense of wonder, like "Where did that come from?" When we recorded it Jimmy did a whole bunch of dobro parts and there were parts that were the same rhythm and harmony, like he meant to do that, only he didn't... He wasn't hearing the other part. The dobro is capoed so it is in Bb. Marc Moss the producer put some backwards dobro at the end of the solo which added to the spookiness. Jimmy's Uncle Bill played fretless bass making it a family project. The whole thing fell together in a way that was unlike any song I ever recorded. We did it really fast, like the way the song was written. Both Jimmy and Bill were working night shift that week and came in on very little sleep to do the tracks. It is my favorite of my songs, and often when we play it people comment on it's hypnotic effect. You can hear it at

Geri Smith

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About the Author
Geri Smith

Singer Songwriter Geri Smith began her musical training in classical piano at an early age. Geri currently teaches Piano, Voice and Song Writing at the Darlington Fine Art Center. Personal Website:

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