East Side Storytellin’ 14 – Where The2ndHand and East Side Story came alive

Tom Eizonas, Mike Willis, Chuck Beard, Todd Dills

East Side Storytellin’ 14 was going to be something new for me.  It was the first show that I knew for sure that my loving and always supporting wife would not be attending because she was on a business trip of sorts.  The day of the show, May 21st, first appeared to be rocky and stormy in the sky and I figured Emily not being present was one of the reasons why.  Then, as if a higher power heard my woes, the cloudy skies opened up and turned blue, the sun came out alongside my mother and brother and sister-in-law arrived out of the blue too, and I received a text from the “business trip” from Baltimore.  It was a picture of a hot dog, a cold beverage, and a clear view of the Baltimore Orioles’ stadium that read something like,  “The Yankees are in town! Have a wonderful show.  I loves you!”  Getting this text, a text from someone who loathes sports events on television or in person as much as I loathe liars and people who skate by on life without trying their best (another story or ten altogether), I knew this text was a good sign for a great show.

As mentioned, the skies cleared for us to have another stellar radio show outdoors.  I was super excited about the show because I knew the author and musician had actually worked on a project fairly recently and planned on showcasing the project at some point in the night.  Judging from the excitement and quality that the artist collaboration of East Side Storytellin’ alumni Craig Havighurst and Don Gallardo & How Far West brought to the show the week before, I was again geeked out for something extraordinary to happen.  In the end, I get geeked out every show because I know that something extraordinary is about to happen between two artists that are good-hearted and very talented.

I stepped up to the mike and introduced the featured author of the evening.  Todd Dills is one half of the most delightful literary dynamic duo around this town (his wife, author Susannah Felts, is having her own show on the 4th of June).  He is the driving force behind the nationally known quarterly magazine & weekly online magazine that features short writings called The 2nd Hand.  When he’s not busy with that or freelance gigs, and being a great dad, he’s got his hands full with 3 published works that are all sold at East Side Story.  The first was called Sons of the Rapture, the 2nd is a collection of 10 years of stories for The 2nd Hand called All Hands On, and the latest one, and the one from which Todd read from for the evening, is called Triumph of the Ape. And speaking of Triumph of the Ape, you should totally check out this Kickstarter link that Todd has started to get his latest book even more recognition that he justly deserves-



Todd took the stage and totally rocked it.  He mesmerized the crowd, had them laughing at the times he also chuckled, and told an eloquent story that had you feeling the words of the character and the actions of the story in general.  I can’t say much other than it was a FINE reading in all caps.  You can listen to it in its entirety on the recording link below this page.


After Todd took his seat, it didn’t take long to get the stage set for the solo artist of the evening.  Mike Willis, a close friend of Todd, is a busy man.  I was grateful that he took time to be a part of the show and only learned upon arrival that he had another gig after our show at another place with his larger band called The Cumberland Collective.  He spends a lot of time writing songs for a lot of people with names and songs you’ve heard before, but I always like it more to hear the person that actually writes the great songs play … don’t you?  Mike has an authentic country feel to his melodies, an author’s touch to his words and stories, and a powerful voice to carry the entire package to another level.  On this evening, Mike cut right to the essence of his original songs, some of them new and played for the first time, and amazed everyone there to see and hear it.


Before Mike finished, he managed to get Todd back up there with him to perform the collaboration they recently worked on.  I’ll let you listen to it below in the recording, but you can gain more insight from Todd and his writing in the Chapter 16 posting before the show on this link-



So yeah, after Todd and Mike completely wow’d the crowd, we had a casual conversation about creativity, Georgia Bulldawg football for 2013, and basically sharing your stories and making things happen that need to happen.  Overall, the night was so refreshing to the soul.  These two artist know who they are, are true to themselves, help countless others achieve their creative goals, and are great guys to know.  I felt honored to be able to be a small part of this wonderful event on this occasion.


art by Alex Smith

art by Alex Smith


Before I share with you the edited recording below, I’d love to take a second to thank some special people that helped make East Side Storytellin’ 14 happen the way it did.


-My wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard.  Without you in my life and your support, none of this happens.  I loves you.

Alex Smith, YOU sir are an ARTIST in every sense of the word!

Tom Eizonas, you make us all sound better than we are and allow others who weren’t as fortunate to be at the show in person able to experience a hint of the greatness over and over again at their convenience.

Chris Haston and the Fat Bottom Brewing Co. family, you provide such a pleasant home for heartwarming performances to happen in your backyard.  I am very grateful we have crossed paths and look forward to the shows to come.

Todd Dills (www.the2ndhand.com) – Thank you for introducing me to Mike Willis and his music.  Also, thanks for being the amazing editor, writer, 12 Supper award-winning beverage maker, and all around great friend on and off Facebook that continues to inspire more creative people here, near, and far than you know.  I look forward to reading everything you write!

Mike Willis (www.thecumberlandcollective.com) – Thank you for listening to Todd Dills and making a blind faith leap into East Side Storytellin’.  I feel like you two compliment each other so well and really made this event something special for everyone involved.  I’m glad that you overcame the initial silent, listening crowd that we brought together and blew them away with every note and word that you could hear all around.  You make excellent songs.

WAMB Radio, thank you for saving us a spot on air and for allowing us to be a small part of your treasured history.

NOW, without further ado, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 14 that we recorded on May 21st, 2013 and aired on WAMB Radio (1200 am/99.3 fm) at 2pm on Saturday, May 25, 2013.  Listen, post, and share as many times as you wish!


But wait, I’m not finished with this idea and storytellin’ show by any means.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Fat Bottom Brewing Co. (900 Main Street)- www.fatbottombrewing.com

Need information or details about Fat Bottom Brewing Co., call 615-678-5895.  Otherwise it is first come, first available seats.

Who will be featured- Susannah Felts (author of This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record – www.susannahfelts.net) and music by the one and only Joshua Payne (www.joshuapayne.com).

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