Abigail Flowers

JP Lilliston, Tom Eizonas, Jerry Hager, Joe Nolan, Chuck Beard, and Joel Lain

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 115th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 114, I repeat … 114, 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’ 115. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a Houston, Texas native who now is a Nashvillian inside and out. He is a devout student of short long form, reads and writes and works in various times and spaces aggregating around Nashville. He has several cats, most of which have dirty, unrepeatable names, but he is not a crazy cat person. That said, he said that the cats often talk to him in his sleep and often read old recipes from various Franco-American cookbooks published in the 70’s. His parole officer’s name is Jeff. That said, this man gave one of the most inspiring readings I’ve ever witnessed inside and out of East Side Story. Inside and out, put your hands together and give a big round of applause for the one, the only, Joel Lain.

Joel was fairly and appropriately amped up just right after bringing a few cold brews and some really hot takes with him to The Post on such a special occasion. We spoke before the show about his recent changes in writing goals in terms of style, time, and taking a stab at his first full-length novel adventure. Hot off the first draft press, Joel had the first two chapters in tow. And wouldn’t you know, Joel also had his fancy character accents and passionate expressions on hand too (as seen in the photos below).

Whether it was a spot on Cajun accent or an older man or something I couldn’t even catch the reference because I was laughing so hard WITH him and the others fully enjoying this story and trip he was taking us on, Joel knows how to captivate a crowd and connect with anyone he is around. He has so many gifts with words and stories, and I always love listening to whatever he shares with us.

The first chapter was set in a hospital with a multitude of characters who were searching answers, truth, trust, and the lighter side of life in the middle of chaos and a major rush of urgency. Sound exciting? Well, yes it was. The words were read at a pace that kept you running closely behind every syllable that Joel dropped for us to follow. Then, taking a hard right turn into chapter 2, Joel jumped head and voice and accent first into an interview in the country with the likes of one of the most original characters I’ve ever heard. This is one of those times in the recap where I will defer to the pictures of the facial expressions and the audio from the recording below for you to truly grasp the magic Joel is creating. That said, I can’t wait to hear and read more as soon as he shares more with us. I’m fairly certain you will love it all too.

Our featured music of the night is a Motown native who moved to East Nashville and recorded the first of four CDs on the “right side of the Cumberland River” 13 years before Rolling Stone named the neighborhood the “Best Music Scene” in the country. Born in Detroit, this guy has brought an element of soul and art appreciation to everything he has written or recorded since moving here in 1992. His music has been featured on Late Night with David Letterman, he has gigged all over the US and Europe, and he still gives off the impression that he’s just getting started. We’ll talk more about everything he brings to the Nashville creative scene, but let’s first sit back and take in some of his original songs. Alongside his friends, JP Lilliston and Jerry Hager, it was awesome to finally give a warm welcome to the East Side Storytellin’ family to the talented Mighty Joe Nolan.

Joe Nolan is one of the handful of people in town that has seen the many changes of Nashville first hand, but he is also one of the few that you can find various impressions of his creativity at every single color change of the timeline (if you were a rock expert examining the open cliff facade of the artistic history of Nashville for the past 25 years). He is not just a musician, he is an excellent storyteller, poet, photographer, journalist, and person who supports other artists via his writing and attendance as much as anyone else I know. So it wasn’t surprising to me when he kicked off his set with an epic spoken word original called SERENADE alongside the musical accompaniment of his talented band of brothers by his side. It was a perfect transition between Joel’s characters and the layered stories within stories found in every single one of Joe’s songs.

Joe, like Joel, uses different tones and emotions expressed physically with his entire body and through his sounds when he performs his original tunes (again, as you can see in the following pictures above and below). Point being, there was never a dull moment and it all totally hit us just right. I think I decided to put several of these pictures in black and white because you really can’t fully grasp how amazing his gold jacket was if you weren’t there in person. It was shining as bright as the motifs in every track.

But keeping with the visual takes of this veteran trio, you can see in these pictures, color or black/white, that they are perfectly symmetric in style, energy flow, and giving each other enough space to each do their thing superbly while all the while being close enough to give subtle looks or gestures to change a beat on a dime. It felt like they were a poetic troupe straight out of the beatnik scene. But instead of just words, Joe brought poetic stories to life while JP sounded like a sober Keith Richards and Jerry reminded me of the local stand-up bass legend in Hags. Look. Enough about me ranting about these guys. You can take a listen for yourself below and let me know what you think after you share it a few times over.

After Joe ended the set with a song with the actual word story involved with it, his partners took a seat and we brought up Joel to the microphone to start a conversation that I’m sure could’ve easily had lasted 4 hours without us trying. It was filled with laughs, more accents, big hand gestures, easy transitions between the guests to relate on so many creative levels, and it was another beginning of what is sure to be the next story of two artists becoming good friends after being on this show. Joel and Joe are two writers I admire more than most, and it is fairly obvious to me that they should know each other because they spend so much of their time and energy helping other artists become greater at their craft, promotion, and life in general. I’m honored to call both friends, but I’m even more excited to know I’ll get these two together sooner than later on another idea that I haven’t even asked them about yet. So before I get that crazy cat out of the bag, I’ll leave you with one more group photo of the three of us and then some bold words and thanks to follow.

Here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 115: the night when Joe and Joel shared original stories and energy with a very happy room at The Post East on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Please feel free to listen to it on repeat and share it with all of your family and friends.

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Joel and Joe (and JP & Jerry) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Aaron’s writing here –

www.aprilgloaming.com/staff.html, mysteriummagnum.com, waxingandwaning.org, @aaron.jl on Instagram, and @aaron_lain on Twitter.

You can listen to more of Joe’s music here –

 www.joenolan.com, mightyjoenolan.bandcamp.com, souncloud.com/joenolan, @pikesproject or @mightyjoenolan on Instagram, and @mightyjoenolan on Twitter.

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.

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’ 116

Tuesday, October 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- James Collins

singing- Abigail Flowers

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 115 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,

mE

One more belly laugh for the road with Joel because … why not? To be continued.

 

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Joshua Dent, Kira Hooks, Christina Stoddard, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas, and Ally Brown (Abby Flowers pictured in spirit … again)

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 112th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 111, I repeat … 111, 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 East Side Storytellin’ 112. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is the author of HIVE … a work which won the 2015 Brittingham Prize in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin Press and was a finalist for the 2016 Washington State Book Award. More importantly, it had one of the coolest book covers we ever showcased at East Side Story. This artist grew up in Washington and has worked in both the Czech Republic and Japan teaching English as a foreign language and has said that they all speak better English than anyone down on Broadway any day that ends in day … I’m kidding about the last part, but the rest is true. Another truth, she earned her MFA from UNC at Greensboro, where she was the Fred Chappell Fellow. I’m not sure what that is but I know it’s important. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, storySouth, Tupelo Quarterly, and Spoon River Poetry Review, to name a few. She is super smart, an excellent writer, a supporter for everyone and everything literary everywhere she goes, and we were darn lucky to have her to save the day. You already know who I’m talking about, but I’m talking about the legend herself, Christina Stoddard!

Christina took a stand beside the tilted podium and jarred our minds right off the bat with some historical facts about serial killers from her hometown. A few names that inspired a few of her poems in HIVE, I won’t give them more credit than what they already have received but I will say that the combination of Christina’s background stories mixed with her prolific skills as a wordsmith pretty much slay anything most of the people present had heard in a hot minute. Christina’s poetry is pure fire.

Christina introduced us all to a yearbook signing of one said serial killer before he was known as a serial killer, the suicide of a veteran sibling post Gulf War drama, her immense hatred for wearing rings in general, and specific haircuts to get her going in the right place. And speaking of getting things and people going, there were two poems that were more declarative and poignant, again, than anything I’ve heard in awhile. First, she did a brilliant original remix of the Lord’s Prayer that was slanted in honor of a true feminist pledge. Then she gave an opus of seizing the day and charging action in her homage of Ides during the month of July. You really have to listen to the reading below and buy a copy of HIVE as soon as you can to understand the truth I’m talking about (some of those poems will be on her next book as well). But, before I end my love fest for Christina’s poetry, I must single out the poem about her thinking about salmon. It was the major connection between the featured guests of the night and a theme of making a family, and Christina nails it. The imagery of fishing salmon as a child and learning one of her catches was pregnant after the fact and then the linear relationship of her life years later is both heartbreaking and beautiful all in the same light. Point being, Christina tells it how it is, tells it so eloquently, and doesn’t hold any punches. You feel her words in your gut, heart, face, and tears. She’s powerful … and wonderful.

Our featured music of the night is a Nashville based musician who was born in Houston, shout out Texas, but raised overseas in The Netherlands, Nigeria, Scotland, and China. This young artist is always in search of what brings us together and what feels like honest work. A gentle, but powerful, woman and a scholar, she graduated from the Los Angeles College of Music in 2013 and has since gone on to release one album, 3 EP’s, and four singles. She’s an active member of Concerts In Your Home and spends a lot of days performing on the road. Maybe most importantly, she is very close friends with several of our East Side Storytellin’ favorites. This girl is close friends with Joshua Dent, Abby Flowers, and Ally Brown. Alongside these talented local musicians, it was an honor to set up the stage and share the spotlight on the tremendous star on the rise in Kira Hooks!

Kira took a seat on a stool, hooked up her guitar, crossed her legs, acknowledged her side harmony in Ally Brown, and started her set like a needle to a vinyl on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Her voice was like a vintage jazz star from another day and time, her melodies instantly put everyone at ease, and then she set sail for awesome in the middle of her ocean of dreamlike material. In a town that refers itself to music in its nickname namesake and has a million and one singers living inside the city limits, I’ve never heard a voice as unique and fitting her her material as Kira. It’s almost as if Sade and Diana Krall mixed together with the absolute best of every R&B soul singer of the 90’s and churned out this majestic muse and conductor of awesome on a stool for all of us to enjoy for years to come.

Kira gave mad props to every person she brought up to the stage and constantly referenced new respect and love for the art that Christina had shared with the same crowd. Kira was equally as open and honest via her backstories and dreams of someday moving to New York (she will conquer it when she is ready and leaves … hopefully years from now for Nashville’s sake though) and her song about creating a family in Labor of Love. She admitted to being a bit sappy and lovey-dovey while trying to Waltz with an Angel and When I Ran Into You, but I was not alone in thinking that we all could use a lot more lovey-dovey if that’s the case. The classical sounds that Joshua Dent adds to any songs, mixed with the modern take of doo-wop and Motown-ish licks from Ally and Abby having a blast alongside an alternative folk Beyonce, was simply perfect for the occasion and week in general. It all made me think of that phrase, “If the Love doesn’t feel like a 90’s R&B song, then I don’t want it.”

This was actually one of the only shows where I was sad to be the host for a second. When Kira asked us how much more time she had left, and I could see in her eyes that she would have played a few more and was thinking about choosing the next one, I succumbed to the moment and told her we only needed one more. Truth be told, the crowd and I would’ve stayed there in our seats for another week for sure. I guess it’s better to keep the staff at The Post on our side too. It all works out for the best.

Speaking about working out for the best, this pairing was simply phenomenal. Nobody would have known that we had to change a thing or two a mere 24 hours before showtime, and my buddy Steve would call me out for saying serendipity again if I said it another 50 times during the show in the making. It honestly blows my mind how well everything comes together just as it is supposed to when you are doing something that needs to be done.

After Kira’s final track titled If You Got A Dream, a song that to me resembled Christina’s charge the moment poem, I was yet again fortunate to have both of the artists back on stage to talk about their lives beyond their art. I’m always amazed by the honesty and forthright of the guests who take my questions and answer them in ways that if you already call them friends you learn something new and if you didn’t know these people then you feel like you’ve known them forever. Both Christina and Kira were/are so gracious with their personal responses and so professional in everything they delivered from the stage all night long. It was an honor to host the show that paired so much talent and love for words and positive personal growth. I was humbled to be in the crowd.

Again, because I could ramble on about how great these people are and how much fun the show was in person, I’ll just cut to the part where I share with you the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 112. You know, the show we recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, that featured Christina Stoddard and Kira Hooks (alongside Ally Brown, Abigail Flowers, and Joshua Dent). Here it is, enjoy and share it over and over again. Thank you!

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

You can read more of Christina’s writing here – www.christinastoddard.com

You can listen to more of Kira’s music here – www.kirahooks.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.

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’ 113

Tuesday, August 15th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Susan McBride

singing- Mary Bragg

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 112 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. I repeat, please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

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Tom Eizonas, Robyn Leigh Lear, Kateri Farrell, Ally Brown, 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 105th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 104, I repeat … 104, 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’ 105. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone I like to refer to as the resident dreamer. She is also the Creative Director behind the majestic, the awesome, and the infinitely coolest publishing company in the world that goes by the name of April Gloaming Publishing. This lady was born to the world but claims no country. Lucky for us, she claims Nashville as her current home base. Also lucky for us, is the creative dreamer behind Authors and Artists: The Regenerates, a writing and art collective that is majestic, awesome, and infinitely cooler than anything I have dreamed up so far. Point being, this lady is a creative force to be reckoned with and to fully embrace in a hug if she grants you permission. She doesn’t just dream or publish other authors’ and poets’ work though. She was featured tonight because she is a writer as well, a brilliant writer and reader. I’m talking about the wild dreamer in the heart to Lance Umenhofer’s world, the one and the only Robyn Leigh Lear.

Robyn sashayed her fabulous wardrobe and positive attitude to the microphone to battle the dreary rain outside and the slight fear of reading her work in public. She told me and the crowd that she tends to cuss to make herself feel better, and it didn’t take long for her to start feeling better. Some of us who know her better knew that her moments of silence between stanzas were due to nerves, but the overall dramatic pauses that they lent themselves to for everyone else simply heightened the amazing original poetry that she was sharing with us. Without trying to do so, she was effortlessly giving a brilliant performance of her work, mixing laughs with stormy motifs that were deeply personal and instantly connecting with everyone in the room.

Throughout the reading, Robyn tackled emotional themes such as pain and trauma and being unafraid in the midst of soft milk in a violent storm (listen to the recording to catch the drift), but one of my favorite moments was when everyone’s cell phones blurted out an emergency alert for the impending weather surrounding our city. Robyn, caught in the middle of the alerts and two of her poems, used and spun that alert into a perfect transition for everyone to pay attention to the storm of words she was about to throw out and make us weather. We were safe at The Post and safe in Robyn’s majestic leadership. I also want to make a special note that Robyn shared some new material that was so fresh she had recently written it and never shared with anyone. That’s the kind of fearlessness I love and respect from her and other guests who do the same. You can hear the recording, but I advise you to listen to the final poem at least two times, a poem about seeing a dead body and pulling it apart to find the heart and understanding of life and your own purpose. And, like Keyser Soze, before we knew it, Robyn was finished and gone from the stage. She practically dropped the mic on the stand with an eruption of applause and inspiration in her wake. It was quite epic.

Our featured music of the night is someone, like our featured writer, who creates and performs art that will hook you, lift you, and as she would quote/unquote “make you think and probably feel stuff.” She is our first featured musician who labels herself as Indie/Folk/Uke-rock, with a hint of jazz and a dash of soul. Her vocals give life to vivid imagery, catchy melodies, and profound themes of creative dynamic shows that are light-hearted, fun, sincere, and thought provoking. Born in Hollywood, she was destined to be a star. So, from Florida to her now Nashville home, alongside her good friends Abigail Flowers and Kateri Farrell, it was an honor for me to formally introduce the very talented Ally Brown.

Ally immediately thanked Robyn for sharing her work that inspired Ally and the gang right off the bat. Ally then jumped right into setting the mood for her set, asking us to be prepared for her to take us into outer space and then bring us back into another world again later. She said it with a smile, but I knew she meant it. Packed with two of her best friends, she took us on quite the musical and lyrical trip.

Ally’s music was in line with the themes that Robyn left us with. She sang about the haziness of life’s uncertainty, dealing with not knowing where you are and what you’re doing, but then coming back around to assure us that everything is okay. One of my favorite songs and stories behind the music came from Ally watching an episode of “Cosmos” where Neil Degrasse Tyson taught her the concept of moving faster than the speed of light and the result being that all of time around that person or thing would stand still. Ally took that concept a step further and wrote a song about being in a relationship where you were moving faster than the speed of light and how then you could sing and dance and be with that person forever. The song, like the idea, was beyond beautiful. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that have the most profound effects.

Ally went on to make us laugh and feel great while she sang about a fictional (maybe) wolf while her crew howled at the moon, and then she told stories that resembled fairy tale characters where she lost things in her hair. Overall, the comedic banter between the songs matched the brilliance of the wonderful harmonies that rained down over all of us inside The Post as Mother Nature cleansed the rest of the city outside. I had the thought, not that I was sad or depressed before the show, that nobody could NOT be in a better mood after listening to both Robyn and Ally’s creativity in person. These girls were all about that shine.

Then, when I was able to get them both on stage after the music ended, it was fairly obvious that the synchronicity of East Side Storytellin’ 105 would be that Robyn and Ally were meant to be new besties. They will most certainly do some creative collaborating and events together in the upcoming year and our city and world will be better for it. I’m kinda throwing out the manifestation that Robyn writes a cool story to read before or during a Spookulele show in October, my favorite time of the year. Again, just listen to the recording of the masterful experience we all shared together because of these great people and great artists on the rise on a random Tuesday night when everything in my world made sense, even for just a moment and a flash.

So, with all that said about another very special show that was/is near and dear to my heart, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 105 that featured Robyn Leigh Lear & Ally Brown (with Abigail Flowers & Kateri Farrell) at The Post on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Feel free to enjoy and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. It is well worth your time and energy. You’re welcome.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-105-1 

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

You can read more of Robyn’s writing here –  www.aprilgloaming.com and www.theregenerates.org

You can listen to more of Ally’s music here – www.allybrownmusic.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 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’ 106

Tuesday, May 2nd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Tim Shaw

singing- Joshua Black Wilkins

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 105 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,

mE

photo credit – Steve Simpson (aka The Ice Cream Gypsy)

 

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