East Side Storytellin’ 32: Where Ricko and Kiernan brought the luck, songs, and words of the Irish to rock us all

Kiernan McMullan, Ricko Donovan, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Hello, good evening, morning, and whenever you are read this the first or 40th time. THANK YOU for coming here to the page to support another round of East Side Storytellin’!  With a very special reading from Nashville’s newest published author, to a very cool storytelling set of songs from a relatively new Nashville resident from abroad, and a very interesting, creative conversation between the featured guests afterwards to talk about their creative journeys, creative processes, and personal ties and experiences in Nashville, welcome to East Side Storytellin’ 32.  

The first featured guest of the show was not your ordinary Nashville author – assuming that many or any of them are ordinary.  This guy seems to not only have had nine lives, but about nine different successful careers as well.  From humble beginnings in punk-oriented bands in New Jersey, drifting down to Baltimore to play with an alternative rock band, he moved to Nashville, retiring his drum kit for guitar, songwriting, and the hammered dulcimer.  After a few years of success in Music City, he broadened his talents and world by making the big leap across the big pond over to Europe.  Ironically for tonight, he regularly spent summers in Ireland in the County Clare area during those transformative years.  After a bit, while touring and promoting the release of one particular album, he returned to the States and back around the Nashville area.  Spending more and more time in Music City, he picked up a side gig of being a registered tax man accountant and picked up the figurative pen and paper to create more stories on pages instead of singing on stages.  For this particular event, we were lucky to have him do a little of both.  The author of the recently released and debut novel, Sunnyville, it was my extreme honor and delight to welcome to the stage one of the hardest working artists and tax men that I know, Ricko Donovan.

Ricko took to the stage and did exactly the opposite of what he said he was going to do right out of the gate.  You can listen below, but Ricko broke the crowd’s applause and silence by saying that he couldn’t decide what portion to read from the book so he was going to just read the entire thing, with breakfast and mimosas being served at 4:30am.  Ricko did in fact read a specific portion of the novel that is based on a bunch of charismatic elderly people at a retirement home.  Ricko read with great enthusiasm and articulation.  He was a natural on the microphone, not hard to believe after so many years as a professional musician on the road.  Aside from the reading performance, it was quite refreshing to hear the written dialogue from the elderly characters.  I personally love listening banter between older people without their social filters in place any longer.  There’s something beautiful, in most sane cases of course, about age being the ultimate truth serum for us all.

Truth be told, Ricko was AWEsome!  He wanted to not only showcase his book for the evening so we gave him the chance to sing a song or two from his other passion of storytelling … with his music.  He was joined on stage by a friend and her violin, and they struck an Irish-accented folk song or two to close out that portion of the show and introduce the featured musician.  It was off the cuff and fun for all to experience.

The musical guest for the evening was an Irish-Australian turned Nashvillian.  Born in Hong Kong and growing up between Ireland and Boston to an Irish father and Australian mother, it wasn’t hard for everyone present to understand why he rarely stays in one place for too long.  I personally consider Nashville and everyone present for East Side Storytellin’ 32 extremely blessed to have him call this town home, even if only for a minute.  As a touring veteran who AVERAGES about 250 shows per year, it’s no surprise that many of his songs are written for and about the road while on the go.   Although young, he has spent the past decade making an international impression as a soulful, acoustic songwriter, performing sold-out shows, festivals, and various tour dates with other well-established talent such as Sheryl Crow, Colbie Callait, walked just over 500 miles with the likes of The Proclaimers, and sang alongside one of my favorites in Lisa Hannigan to name just a few.  Usually touring with nothing more than a hiking bag and a guitar, hitching and bussing it most of the time the length of his tour and literally playing it all by ear day by day, I was far from the only person in the room providing huge applause for a current homecoming like none other for the one and only Kiernan McMullan.

Kiernan, similar to Ricko, was a man of the road that is a natural on stage with a captivated audience in front of him.  He spent little time before jumping into an original song that lasted twice as long as your ordinary song on the radio but told tenfold the amount of story and lyrical rhyme.  In between each song, Kiernan took his time to spit out his thoughts about the songs and the stories behind creating them.  His monologues were poignant, honest, and refreshing.  I felt like I gained a deeper understanding for his processes and passion for music, songwriting, and touring in general.  I particularly loved the talks about the sad state of mind of the majority of people in public in general.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  Not a spoiler alert, I’ll let you dive into the recording below and get to know what I’m rambling about above.  All you need to know before clicking the recorded link is that you are about to heard some truly amazing songs and writing.

After the music ended, also containing a very cool moment or two of Kiernan singing through his guitar and several other points of him looping sounds into each song – which I am a HUGE fan of and wish more solo artists learned and used that form of the craft, I grabbed both of the featured guests to have an interesting talk about creativity that quickly lent it’s way towards talk about Baltimore, The Wire, drugs, life on the road, how the road led both to Nashville, and the art of writing stories.  Needless to say, it was a talk filled with several laughs, smiles, and pauses because some people got really real about their lack of appreciation for grunge music.

Ricko shining with his rock rant 🙂

But yeah, in the end, it was all another magical evening of entertainment and local culture.  It’s really hard not to enjoy yourself and your time when you are surrounded by cultured, talented, and good-hearted people doing everything that they love and doing it all with everything that they are.  It was a special night for all.

So here, here you have it to enjoy and share with others over and over again … this is the edited recording of East Sides Storytellin’ 32:


I’d love to get another big shout of appreciation for both Ricko Donovan and Kiernan McMullan for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us here and join the East Side Storytellin’ family.

You can read more about Ricko Donovan here – http://rickodonovan.com

You can read more about Kiernan McMullan here – www.kiernanmcmullan.com

I’d also like to give another round of mad props to Tom Eizonas for recording the show and doing sound for the night.  Then, another round for the always delightful staff of Mad Donna’s for making us feel at home and giving us a home for the show.  Also, I’d like to recognize artist Clay Brunton for creating the art print for tonight, my wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard, for being my awesome wife, and for everyone who took time to come out for the live show and the others to continue supporting this idea and cause.  As the drag bingo crew that always follow us sing, We ARE Family!

Art print by Clay Brunton

Art print by Clay Brunton

You can listen to all the others, on our website- eastsidestorytn.com on the In Our Own Words tab here – http://eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words/.  That said, we aren’t finished. Please come back and bring all your friends and little mom too for East Side Storytellin’ 33.  It will be one for the record books for sure.  That is all for the show tonight.  Remember to be nice to one another outside, in the heat and cold, and THANK YOU for being here for us.  Thank you so so much!

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)- http://maddonnas.com

Need information or details about Mad donna’s, call 615-226-1617.  Otherwise it is first come, first available seats.

Who will be featured- author Honest Lewis (author of Parasitesand music by Adam Hill & special guests (http://adamhill.bandcamp.com).


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment