East Side Storytellin’ 107: When the dirty parts of the bible was translated into the books of Sam and Russell

Sam Torode, Tom Eizonas, Russell Thompson, 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 the recap and recording of the 107th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 106, I repeat … 106, 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 the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 107. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone who is actually related on his father’s side of the tree to Henry David Thoreau. On his mother’s side, the ancestors include Texas farmers, preachers, outlaws, banjo players, and Cherokee Native Americans. Like many of our featured artists, he doesn’t limit himself to one medium. You can Google him later and find his album of jazz standards titled Someone to Watch Over Me. Some of his favorite storytellers are Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, and Ray Bradbury. Some of his favorite thinkers are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joseph Campbell, and Marcus Aurelius. Combining everything from the storytellers, thinkers, and jazz greats, this artist is the featured author tonight because of the release of his novel The Dirty Parts of the Bible. He’ll cover more about his work other than it being one of the catchiest and most intriguing titles at East Side Story later in the show, but it was an honor to welcome our featured reader to the stage. I’m talking about the one, the only, Sam Torode!

Sam had admittedly taken some time to build up confidence while battling insecurities every artist fights before he decided to bring some of his books into East Side Story recently. And before this show, he told me he had rarely taken time to schedule any planned readings to share his work, because he was unsure of the reception. There wasn’t any worry on my behalf for the show’s reception for Sam and his work because there were plenty of family and friends in the mix to listen. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that Sam had any butterflies either from the outside. Sam always gives off the impression that he is calm, cool, and collected. I knew the time was right and that his amazing book would speak for itself.

Sam had broken down his reading into several excerpts that not only laid out the perfect setting for characters and theme and title of his book, but it also was the perfect teaser for people to get pulled into his work and want to know more. Within the sections he shared, Sam told us about different stages of development about the main character named Tobias. This young man was raised by a strict preacher in the town of Remus, North Michigan. Sam started the story from Tobias’ birth. Then, he shared the direct piece of the story that influenced the title of the book where Tobias found out about the racier sections of The Bible that talked about a woman’s chest area of flesh. It’s true, it’s all there for the reading. Sam said it a lot better than I just did, but like everything else Sam shared, it just made perfect sense. I felt like we were all being entertained and educated at the same time.

Sam finished his performance by sharing two final sections that were cool and striking, to say the least. First, he described quite the adventure on a train with Tobias and his older friend Craw. Craw taught him some enlightening, non-traditional remedies that may or may not work (I’d love to ask Sam if he researched some of those or totally made them up = you’ll hear them in the recording or read them for yourself. It’s worth your time, either way). There was also a wonderful scene of Craw teaching Tobias how to properly jump from a moving train (don’t try this at home, kids). And then Sam closed his set with a trip to another character’s house by the name of Sarah (the character, not the house’s name). Like I said before, Sam did a wonderful job of setting up the book with a pinpoint layout of interesting scenes and characters that made everyone in the room want to read and hear more. And for someone who doesn’t do this very often, I’d say Sam is well on his way to making this more of a frequent happening. At least I hope so. He is a brilliant reader and an even better writer. But like Lamar, don’t take my word for it. Listen to the recording below and get the book when you have a chance soon.

Our featured music of the night is someone who I met the very first time I met our featured author. I kid you not, both of these scholars came into the store the very same day and we spent about an hour talking about literature, pop culture, religion (thanks to Sam’s book title and this guy’s past in the church), and everything in between. Back to our featured musician, he is mutual friend and frequent stage-sharer with fellow East Side Storytellin’ alumni greats in Megan Palmer and Sergio Webb. Born to a Navy man, he crossed the country 3 times over by the age of 10. He’s lived in and played towns and cities and farms and deserts and mountains, forests, canyons, and rivers all over. He is 64 years young and has lived in 62 different places. We are very lucky to have this guy here tonight. He’s been a mechanic, a painter, a carpenter, a salesman, a cook, a husband, a father, a minister, and combined all of that into being a stellar songwriter and musician for the past decade. Releasing his full-length recording soon, entitled Sometimes I Dream, I couldn’t have been more excited to introduce the likes of Russell Thompson.

If you’ve ever met Russell then you already know that he has never met a stranger. He took a seat beside the microphone, in front of a room of people he just met the hour before sitting down, and jumped right into talking about his move to Nashville and what pulled him out of religion and into searching for more soul outside of San Diego awhile back. It was one of the most intriguing introductions to an East Side Storytellin’ musical sets that I’ve ever witnessed. It reminded me of the great RL Burnside (you need to know who that is, if you don’t already). Before we knew what hit us, Russell was sipping his water and ready to sing the first song he wrote after leaving his ministry and before landing in Nashville. He had played it during sound check and blew Sam and I away, but then he took it to another level for everyone in the room. It was truly amazing.

In keeping with the featured book and content of the night, Russell carried on with the conversation of love and sex right into his song about a sweet and sacred bed. You can take the jelly roll line as that much or as a donut reference if you’re hungry and into that. Either way, Russell was on fire. His songs were as multi-layered in references and metaphors and flat-out philosophies that were much needed to be heard in today’s chaos. He made note of where he was and what struck him to write each one of his songs. He shared that the song about sunglasses was inspired from seeing Bob Dylan at an award ceremony, that a song about ding dong and the bells ringing was like a call to action from Woodie Guthrie himself, that a dream about a boy named Johnny and his pal got Russell thinking and rambling about people he had never met but was connected with, and also how the idea of Mother’s Day flashed a song thought that resembled an old Guy Clark favorite of his. I can’t say this enough, Russell’s songs and spirit are so brilliant.

Again, as soon as we were just hitting our groove of a show, it was time to get both of the artists on stage and for me to attempt to connect the dots via personal questions. Like the first day I met Russell and Sam in the bookstore, it was more about letting them do their thing and share the moment and me just trying to stay out of the way than anything else. It may sound in the recording as though I was a little more jittery than usual, and you may be right, but I admitted to them that I wish I could’ve just let them talk for several hours about their personal stories and professions and inspirations for why they do what they do without restraint. These two guys, like so many of the pairings we have on the show serendipitously, have so much to share with the world to help make everything make sense and strive for a better tomorrow. They have a deep sense of what changes should be made with focus and action in this country right now, in regards to religion and politics and life in general, and I for one was happy to share a small moment and spotlight with them as they continue on their personal journeys moving forward.

Again, I highly suggest you get a copy of Sam’s book and look out for the release of Russell’s newest album when it comes out and that you make plans to check out each of these guys whenever they are sharing their art in public again. I promise that you will be a better version of yourself after you experience what they’re creating and sharing.

And speaking of something these two are creating and sharing, please take a moment to listen to and share the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 107 that featured Sam Torode and Russell Thompson at The Post East on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017. It was a brilliant show that can live on forever, thanks to the good ol’ internets. Do yourself a favor, and take a gander. You can thank me in an hour.

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

You can read more of Sam’s writing here –  www.amazon.com/author/samtorode

You can listen to more of Russell’s music by searching on Youtube.com and Facebook.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.

art design by Clay Brunton, inspired by The Dirty Parts of The Bible

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’ 108

Tuesday, June 6th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Casey Renee Le’Vasseur

singing-The Minks

That said, that’s all for the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 107 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,


1 for the road

2 for the road

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