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 92nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 91, I repeat … 91, 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’ 92. Let us begin, again.
Our first featured artist of the evening is a man born with what I believe is the coolest name ever in Bluford. He grew up in West Texas on the border in El Paso, got his business degree from the University of Texas (hook’em horns), and has been successfully making a living as a musician for the past 15 years in Austin, New York City, and Nashville. In 2010, he left Nashville for El Paso to become the caretaker for his father who was battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. His first book, The Forty One, which you can purchase tonight or later at East Side Story, is a tale about the 18-months of that time period between a father and his son, a terminal disease, and a dusty old car- racing to restore it and take his father for one final ride before he dies. Ready to roll with his first-ever official public reading for The Forty One, it was an honor to introduce the ultimate musician/author in Blu Sanders.
Blu took the stage and immediately said he was going to say all of the things that I said before I said them so now he didn’t have to and instead he was read to read from the selected excerpts he had prepared. He said he was going to read the intro and the final page of his book and fill in the gaps in between, without spoiling a good read. The Forty One title is significant because his father’s car was a 1941 Chevrolet beauty that had spent years collecting dust and untapped memories. Blu kicked things off by telling us what the car really was: a relic that represented finishing what you start, family, and love, among other priceless things. As for the reading, Blu was comfortable in the driver’s seat, taking us along for quite the ride down memory lane.
One of the most fascinating things I thought about while Blu was reading was the beautiful, yet completely tragic, symbolism between a father and his son bringing the family car back to life at the same time the father is slipping away. I’m pretty sure everyone and their mother in the crowd was thinking about and appreciating their own fathers, alive and gone, throughout the evening. Everyone was deeply connected to every word and following wherever Blu took us. Blu not only told us specifics about car parts and incidents that helped shape the time period written about in the book, but he also broke down the layered elements of communication, or lack thereof at times, between he and his dad and how they were built before and during this stage of their lives … only to see many of those walls break down in the process of learning more about themselves and the relationship they were to have with one another. Point being, the creative examination of the Sanders’ father/son dynamic was on full display, open and honest, raw and exposed, and something wonderful for everybody to relate with while reflecting on their own personal fatherly journey. In the end, Blu parked the car and the reading fresh, new and improved for the next ride with a future crowd to be named later. With the car, the book, and the reading, Blu found something he could be extremely proud of moving forward. We all hope to do the same.
Our featured musician of the night is a singer/songwriter who has written and recorded songs that have been acclaimed by critics from Paste Magazine, American Songwriter, No Depression Magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and many others. His music has been featured on ABC, DirecTV, MTV, USA Network, and many others as well. A former member of the Dualtone recording group called Mellow Down Easy and Werewolf Heart Records’ Lions for Real. Fresh off his latest album, Glass Castles, he is always ready to play a little bit of Americana, Blues, and Country with a few shades of Folk-Rock. Again, I was honored and super excited to introduce someone I’ve been creatively following for some time in Andrew R. Adkins.
I know I say it off and on during or after most, if not every, East Side Storytellin’ show, but the serendipity of the theme of this particular show was brought together by something greater than myself. Yes, I book the pairings. But, Andrew and Blu, two guys who didn’t meet one another until an hour before the show, didn’t plan ahead on sharing projects that were both from the heart and themed about the history and lessons learned from their fathers. Wouldn’t you know, Andrew’s Glass Castles was just that, more or less a concept album with the concept being the story of his dad. I just love it when life happens the way it’s supposed to be without trying to fake or force things.
Andrew sang about coal mines in Eastern Kentucky, hard life in West Virginia, and just about everything in between. It was also refreshing to hear a musician actually fit in the word facetious properly into an original song. The writer in me jumped for joy with that one for sure. But my feelings aside, the facts are that Andrew also laid everything out on the line with his lyrics, melodies, and rhythmic guitar rifts that perfectly allowed his messages to come across unhindered and in excellent shape for all those listening in the crowd to take it all in and also reflect on each song as they were delivered. And after setting us all up with family-inspired tracks of conquering adversity, embracing love, and doing your best to leave an inspired legacy, Andrew kicked the rest of the walls down with a full-blown inspiration anthem (one that once brought together fans of 50 Shades of Grey and The Jonas Brothers of all things – true story, listen to the recording below for more details). He finished with a call for us all to be the people we are meant to be … indestructible.
After the music ended, I was again fortunate to have both of the featured artists share the stage to share some deeper insight into the passion and drive for doing what they have done and continue to do artistically. Blu shared more about how the living and making of the book helped shape him into the person and artist he is today. Andrew explained how his family background has helped him articulate what he’s trying to do creatively via music. Both Blu and Andrew were so easy to talk with and connect to on this respect for our fathers level. This, like most shows we put together, was another case that it was exactly what I yearned to hear from the universe at just the right time. You can hear more of why and how I felt this way by listening to the edited recording of the show below for yourself. Do yourself a favor and listen to it now.
But, before you click the show link below, I would be remiss if I didn’t make a personal note and mention the fact that Nashville lost one of its greatest assets this past week. You probably never saw her name on any billboards over Broadway or caught any of her artwork on CMT or the show Nashville, but this person meant more to Nashville than most I’ve met. I’m talking about the one and only Kaaren Engel. A friend, mother, daughter, artist, author, sculptor, restorative yogi, and person with the least amount of ego and the biggest heart in the 615 = fact. East Side Story is blessed to carry her book Herman’s Journey, and we were very fortunate to showcase it and her and friends at Cheekwood this past spring with a very special East Side Storytellin’ show for kids of all ages. You can see her website and the Cheekwood show link here- www.kaarenengel.com AND http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-cheekwood-in-bloom-edition/
We all hope to honor your legacy, your friendship, your creativity, and your love until we meet again, Kaaren.
So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 92 that featured Blu Sanders and Andrew R. Adkins at The Post on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Please listen to it and share with everyone you know, over and over again.
Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Blu and Andrew for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.
You can read more about Blu’s writing here- www.blusanders.com
You can listen to more of Andrew’s music here – www.AndrewAdkins.net
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.
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 …
That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 92 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.