East Side Storytellin’ 101: The night Sarah rallied us to embrace every body and Leah summoned her old soul

Chuck Beard, Matt Campbell, Sarah Hays Coomer, Leah Blevins, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 101st epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 100, I repeat … 100, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is East Side Storytellin’ 101. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is the first ever East Side Storytellin’ featured author who wrote a book about weight and wellness. She is a certified personal trainer, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, a certified nutrition and wellness coach, prenatal fitness specialist, and the author of Lightness of Body and Mind: a Radical Approach to Weight and Wellness. Don’t be intimidated, we are not going to make you get up out of your seat and start doing exercises just yet. Her book is all about encouraging a healthier lifestyle for her readers, through memoirs and intimate client stories. Ready to share some of those stories and her own, it was an honor to finally have the chance to spotlight Sarah Hays Coomer.

Sarah broke her reading into two separate short stories about two very different and vulnerable clients, with Elizabeth and Cora. You can read more about both of them and more in her book, when you get a copy for yourself, but Sarah read both in a way that perfectly set up their bio’s to where the audience felt as though they had grew up alongside each person in the old neighborhood. After Sarah clarified each person’s scenario, she then dove into how both Elizabeth and Cora each attached their faults and turned their health and bodies into positive inspiration for themselves and all around them. To say that each story was moving would be an understatement of the year.

Sarah not only went into great detail about each personal case profiled, but she also delivered it in a way for each person in the crowd to instantly relate to each story and then apply those questions, answers, thoughts, and aspects of living your most healthy life and version of yourself to find true happiness for us all.  I don’t have any say in the matter, but if I was the one in charge of booking the speakers for another Women’s March in Nashville or any city, I would have to say that putting Sarah Hays Coomer as top billing would be my first and ultimate priority. She has such unique analysis, prose, and delivery that I dare you to find anyone who she can’t help for the better. We all want to be our healthiest version of what we can become. I feel fortunate to know Sarah is out there practicing what she preaches and is not out of reach for YOU or anyone you may know who could use the help. Seriously, give her a shout at her website below (and buy her books too).

Our featured music of the night is a fellow born Kentuckian (shout out to Sandy Hook!). Heavily influenced by the Appalachian Mountains, church hymns, and great country and rock leading ladies such as Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Janis Joplin, this ladies distinct country/bluesy style is quite different from other leading ladies in Nashville. Since coming to Nashville, she has been featured on Acme Radio Live, landed a solid publishing deal, toured around the south and was featured on multiple festivals to date. But, on a side note, she also shares her time and efforts with cancer patients with a variety of charities. Paired with her friend on the guitar by the name of Matt Campbell, everyone in the room put their hands together for the extremely talented, Leah Blevins.

Matt was a steady melody on the guitar throughout the set and Leah was the most refreshing voice I’ve ever heard in Nashville. I can’t say enough superlatives about Leah’s voice and writing. She is a natural born poet with the chops of a reincarnated every female I described in the bio (Janis, Emmylou, and Loretta). I’m being totally serious here. A lot of people describe themselves as similar to their heroes, but this is one case where it not only speaks to the truth of the matter but it also says everything about where this young star is on her journey. If Leah is this good now, I can only imagine and feel fortunate to follow the rest of her creative journey for decades to come.

Leah sang bout mexican restaurants, magnolias, little birds, and running to and from things, but each song has about a 100 layers of beauty, wonder, and discovery mixed into the lot. Beneath the surface of her song lyrics and melodies lies a magical depth of ideas to explore and honesty to feel where few artists grant access on the regular or at all. I was honored to be in the crowd and to experience everything these great artists were sharing.

And speaking of sharing, I was yet again afforded the wonderful chance to ask these two featured artists more about their artistic growth, creative journeys, and what makes them continue to tick. They didn’t disappoint in their answers or their grace. For a rainy Tuesday in February that has had a strange dynamic with weather and a chaotic world for all, this musical set and reading performance was spot on medicine for all who are willing to listen to themselves and others for help. Not to mention, Leah and Matt and Sarah are some of the most humble and flat out nice artists I’ve ever been around. The combination will make you sick with hope. Point being, these ladies are good. Real good.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 101 that featured Sarah Hays Coomer and Leah Blevins (with Matt Campbell) at The Post East on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Feel free to enjoy this link and share it with one and all over and over again. You’re welcome.

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Sarah and Leah for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Sarah’s writing here – www.strengthoutsidein.com

You can listen to more of Leah’s music here – www.leahblevinsmusic.com

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large.

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 102

Tuesday, March 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Larry Kenneth Alexander (www.smokemirrorandchains.com)

singing- Rayvon Pettis (www.rayvonpettis.com

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 101 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,


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