East Side Storytellin’ 103 – When two long lost brothers showed us what America looks and feels like, all thanks to Sam and Odie

Tom Eizonas, Odie Lindsey, Chuck Beard, and Sam Lewis // photo credit to Steve Simpson

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 103rd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 102, I repeat … 102, 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’ 103. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night first entered into my life and store because of a mutual friend, East Side Storytellin’ 83 alumnus, Justin Quarry. The two are friends and professional colleagues who are just as excited to promote the other’s work before their own. It’s not hard to promote and find this guy’s work outside of the shelves of East Side Story. His writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Iowa Review, Guernica, Electric Literature, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, Fourteen Hills, and many more. A veteran, his related story collection, We Come To Our Senses, can be purchased at East Side Story after you finish reading this. Because I know him as a writer and a father and a man and a friend, it was one of my biggest honors to introduce this man, the local author with one of the coolest names ever, and introduce him to the microphone to read on a microphone for maybe his first time ever … I’m talking about the very talented Odie Lindsey.

Odie already had my respect, but he took it to another level when he decided to read something new and fresh off the typewriter (or computer and printer, what have you). He took one of his characters, a vet named Colleen, from his short story collection and made it into a longer project that will someday sell many many copies when finished and published. If you haven’t ever heard Odie speak or read any of his works, you should Google and buy his stuff like yesterday. If you have, then you know how colorful and brutally honest his characters are and how they represent AMERICA to a T, at least our current State of chaos. Another aspect of his writing that I love more than words is his representation of veterans, male and female protagonists. He develops characters and situations that may come off as zany in one scene but then bring your heart to tears in the next. You learn about them and then love them for who they are. And, in turn, you relate to those characters in an intimate way you don’t get the chance to always do with other fiction.

The more Odie read about Colleen’s adventures and beauty pageants and support system, we followed him into that Trumpland rabbit hole of crazy. It was crazy awesome. More than everything else that touched me about the story he shared was the comradery from the everyday civilians who had their own stories and came together to help patch up a lost vet who returned to her homeland picking up her pieces. At times, I laughed. At times, I felt sad. The entire time, I was in awe. Odie is an extraordinary writer that definitely puts the extra on the ordinary.

Our featured music of the night also entered into my life because of a mutual East Side Storytellin’ artist, #99 alumnus in that of Matt Urmy. My friend who did tonight’s print, Clay Brunton, and I stumbled into an event by Artist Growth a few years back and were both blown away instantly by the honesty, the melodies, the overall talent, and everything this guy brought to the intimate show that night. I’ve personally tried to get him on this show ever since that night. This night was finally that night. Most recently, he’s been quite the tour mate and stage collaborator with Chris Stapleton (an artist who dubbed this artist “a modern Townes Van Zandt”). An artist who rarely needs an introduction, and surely won’t sooner than later, I was double-honored to finally have the opportunity to introduce the one and only Sam Lewis.

I’m not certain, but I’m guessing that Sam was born to be a songwriter and performer from the word go. Everything about him, his lyrics, stage presence, relationship with the audience, flow of conversation and transitions into each song, his humor, the inflection of his notes at just the right spot in every song that is in itself a wonderful novella … everything about his set flows as natural as a creek in the woods. And he pretty much started his set from his own beginnings. He sang what he called an intro to his life, one of the first songs he wrote when he came to Nashville. Then he transversed over into his very personal history called Southern Greek Tragedy, a song that outlined his family tree and roots for all to witness. He dabbled in a co-write in honor of John Prine, and kept the night lively with short stories about travels and friendships  that truly helped shape him into the man he is today and get him to where he’s at now and going tomorrow (over seas that is).

There were just as many laughs in the audience because of Sam’s wit as inspiration from his songs and storytelling. There were tales of trips with East Nashville friends and mushrooms that helped create songs and memories that will last forever, and there were other parts that continued the vain of his ongoing Southern Greek Tragedy too. One of my favorite lines and songs was inspired by current political climate and the losing of two of Sam’s heroes in Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell this past year. Yessiree, Some fall hard living easy and Talk about it may be my two new favorite songs in the world. I suggest you both take a listen to the tracks in the recording below and then go out and buy all of Sam’s albums online and in person. He, like Odie, is an artist who will be helping make this world a better place to live in for decades to come.

Then, per usual, I was fortunate to have the chance to converse with both featured artists and dig a little deeper into what drives them to create and share with others. After the second question, it was fairly obvious that these two shared more than just a single serendipitous theme in their stories or where they were from. Turns out, these two have countless connections and friendships and shared stories to get back together and talk about at a later date. I promise I don’t pair these things together as perfect as they always turn out on their own. The conversation and grouping yet again left me with an overwhelming sense that we were all exactly where we needed and were supposed to be for that moment in time. I was honored to be a small part of something so grand.

So, with that said, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 103 that featured Odie Lindsey & Sam Lewis at The Post on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Feel free to enjoy and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. It is so worth your time and energy. It will change your life. You’re welcome.

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to acknowledge the fact that I’m glad Sam was always too busy until this given night. Both Odie & Sam paint perfect pictures of what AMERICA really is today. Today, this night and now, I needed this pairing to happen. And I’m sure I wasn’t alone. These two realized, soon after some questions and performing, that they were thick as thieves and had countless connections already set in stone along their paths so far. So, with that, I want to give one last big round of thanks for Odie and Sam for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Odie’s writing here – http://oalindsey.com

You can listen to more of Sam’s music here –http://samlewistunes.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 and below to promote the show.

art by Clay Brunton

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’ 104

Tuesday, April 4th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Gregory Delzer (http://defunctbooks.com)

singing- Alexis Stevens  (http://alexisstevens.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 103 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,


One more for the road //photo credit to Steve Simpson

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