East Side Storytellin’ 106: The unforgettable day when Tim Shaw, Podium, and Joshua Black Wilkins reminded us what life is all about

Podium, Tom Eizonas, Tim Shaw, Joshua Black Wilkins, and Chuck Beard

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 recap and recording of the 106th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 105, I repeat … 105, 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 an awesome 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 the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 106. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is someone who is widely known around Nashville for his professional athleticism and career. A former NFL linebacker and special teams captain for the Tennessee Titans, this man spent 7 years in the NFL at places like Nashville, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Chicago Bears, where he set a club record for special teams tackles. A 3-year starter and graduate of Penn State, he earned Academic All-American honors and also holds an MBA from George Washington University. Needless to say, from those few, impeccable stats, he is a total slacker. Today he is an entrepreneur, investor, a motivational speaker, and avid supporter of ALS awareness. He is featured for this specific show tonight because he is the co-author of the successful book Blitz Your Life and is helping others join in the community outreach for knowledge and help for the month of May being ALS Awareness month. I know I say that it is an honor to introduce all of these artists so often that you may not believe me, but believe you me, it was one of the highest honors I’ve ever been given to introduce this man. I thought it was appropriate timing to break out a new and worthy tradition of asking the entire crowd to give this man a standing ovation before he read a single word … and they did. I’m talking about someone who has inspired me ever since the first time I knew about his story. I’m talking about the one and only Tim Shaw.

Tim instantly shed the attention from the standing ovation into a solid laugh. He told the crowd that he might as well leave before reading because it wasn’t going to get any better than the standing ovation from his point of view. For everyone in the audience, we knew he was wrong. It kept getting better for everyone the more he spoke. Honestly, it was the first time Tim had ever tried to do less talking and actually read from his book to a crowd. He has been doing speeches and panels across the country and globe for the past year, recently going back to his alma mater in Penn State to enlighten and hype up the football team. This reading thing, like acknowledging himself as an author (something so many writers have issues with … being an artist going hand and hand with insecurities and all), was new to him. But you couldn’t tell. Heck, he pretty much started with the beginning and also had a personal assistant beside him to hold the book steady and be on cue. To crack another joke and deflect attention, Tim introduced his father as Podium since he rested his elbow on the podium beside Tim and helped steady the performance. I don’t think Podium minded it. I most certainly didn’t. It, like everything Tim does for his cause and others, was brilliant!

Tim broke into his book by sharing a scene of him of when he was at the height of his efforts in sports with training and applying his talents in the spotlight. Physically, it was a far cry from state of being today. But, mentally and the rest of Tim’s presence, from his humor and quick wit and personality and infectious smile and sense of the moment and joy in general, is like that of the Dalai Lama. I should know, I’ve had the honor of seeing both speak firsthand. With Tim, there is no sense of EGO or “Why me?” or anything other than a direct force of life that is constantly encouraging everyone he meets to “DO SOMETHING!” He doesn’t ask it of you. He demands it of your without saying a single word. Tim mentioned that he has had an abundant number of positive mentors, from the classrooms to coaches to his family, but he himself has turned into one of the most prolific mentors I’ve ever known by simply living in the moment every second he is thankful to live and by being the person his parents and family has taught him to become. Of course, it’s also Tim just being Tim. And a major part of Tim is his laughter. He told a story about some of his medications, a red pill for muscles in his mouth actually, that make him have a hard time stopping his laugh once he gets going, even if he wants to do so. One particular story that made the crowd chuckle is one about a friend’s dog that I’d rather you hear Tim tell on the recording below. Point being, we were right there with him (and Podium).

I’m not the only one who could’ve listened to Tim speak all night long, if he had kept on going. Truth be told, he was saving some of his energy for the interview portion at the end of the show and he was also pumped to hear the featured musician, since he got to meet him and talk guitars with him for a bit in the pre-show hang.

Our featured music of the night is someone who is a mutual friend of East Side Storytellin’ alumnus and great Lauren Farrah (shout out in the front row for Lauren). He is a well-respected professional photographer, who has several books published of his works, on top of being a beloved local musician on the rise. He’s a solo artist who mixes Americana with acoustic folk blues and alt-country. He moved to Nashville in 2002, paid his dues on Lower Broadway before signing his first record deal in 2004. He subsequently went on to make a name for himself, despite or possibly in spite of his record label, and has found various TV credits on the History Channel and Speed Network. He managed to find serious rotation for his work on SiriusXM, all the while opening for such acts as Justin Townes Earle, Drive-By Truckers, John Moreland, Shawn Mullins, and many more you know very well. Speaking of artists you already know well, if you like guys like Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, and Ryan Adams, then you’ll more than likely love this guy. A photographer with 8 books and 10 records and counting, he is quite the slacker as well, as you can see. Featured tonight to focus on and share more about his original music like few around, the room erupted in applause for the talented and humble Joshua Black Wilkins.

Joshua took to the stage running. Well, not exactly running, but he took to the stage with everything he had. He had a vintage guitar, another kind of podium to keep him focused and supported, a harmonica or two, a killer hat, and style and amazing songs for days. He opted to play a majority of songs from his soon-to-be-released album called “Rogue.” He add some humor to the night as well by saying he was well stocked with a bag full of large CD’s, for those who fancied record players. On a night when the majority of Nashville had stayed indoors to catch the Predators taking down another playoff foe, Joshua kicked off his set with his “Ain’t no baseball town.” Being that we were talking a little bit about football and the biggest game in town was for hockey, everything about the song and the set was money.

Joshua, as mentioned before with his style and various stage gear, was right at home with the setting and ambiance. It was kind of a full circle experience for Joshua because he first began playing music in coffee shops as a teenager when he was just learning his craft. With a renewed sense of personal history and a few decades worth of professional experience, Joshua was ready to take us all on quite the melodic journeys through his creative filter. He drove us down Remington Road, behind talking about graves, on top of soapboxes of complaints, around tattoos on his arms and on his chest, inside a heart that had been sold for parts, and finally put us in our place with the advice of be tough or be lucky. For this night, with Joshua and Tim side-by-side, we were better off than before the show for sure and a little bit more of both because we got to hear their stories.

Joshua finished his set as cool and calm and collected as he started it. You could tell he had immense respect for those he followed, learned from, and played in front of for this one night. I tell ya what, there’s nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, cooler than being exactly where you are supposed to be and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing in life. Again, I wasn’t the only one in the crowd thinking this concept and being moved to all sorts of emotions in the best of ways for this given show. It was that incredible.

And then came the part of the night that I selfishly love the most. It was time to get both of the featured artists back up on stage to share more about their stories and lives in general.  Tim left his podium and carried the overall interview into another level altogether. He and Joshua were earnest, forthright, transparent, inspiring to the max, and so incredibly gracious and humble as they spoke about their storybook adventures via higher eduction at prestigious institutions, reaching heights of success in both the NFL and photography and music that few attain in several lifetimes, and also teaching all of us listening how to apply the lessons they both learned and used on their journeys into our very own and what we are all trying to figure out with the one life we all have to live. Both of these guys were tremendously inspired from and taught the meaning of hard work and good living and the best definition of the word love from their family and close friends … and it showed … it shows every second with these two, in their writing and music and speaking and giving of their time and talents to move others in a positive direction. I seriously can’t say enough great things about either one of these men I now call friends. As for the interview, I’d rather you listen to the entire show below to hear the answers and all the rest of what I’ve blabbered on about above from the mouths of these two impeccable artists themselves. You can thank me in the morning.

To say we, everyone from Tim and Joshua and Podium and myself to everyone in the crowd … to say we had a fun evening would be the understatement of our lives. Now, as Tim would say, get out there and DO SOMETHING!

Before you get out “there,” do yourself a favor and listen to this edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 106. You remember, the random Tuesday night on May 2nd, 2017 at The Post East when Tim Shaw and Joshua Black Wilkins showed us a glimpse of what purpose looks like on Earth. Feel free to listen to it and share this recording over and over and over until everyone you know and their mothers have heard and shared it too. They’ll thank you in the morning too.

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

You can read more of Tim’s writing here – @TShawTruth

You can listen to more of Joshua’s music here – www.joshuablackwilkins.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 WordsTab – 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.

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’ 107

Tuesday, May 16th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Sam Torode 

singing- Russell Thompson

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 106 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 of Tim and Podium for the road … again, such a great, unforgettable night and evening.

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