Amanda Shires

Kristin Weber, Carter F. Smith, Tom Eizonas, Ali Sperry, 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 117th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 116, I repeat … 116, 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’ 117. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone who teaches criminal justice at MTSU (Go Blue Raiders!). He was in the US Army CID for over 22 years, serving 15 of those at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he and a loosely-organized group of investigators identified the growing gang problem in the early 1990’s. After the Army, he got a law degree and PhD. so you know we’re dealing with another slacker artist again, to be clear. He is a founding and still serving board member of the TN Gang Investigators Association and is a 3-time recipient of an award named for sociologists Frederic Milton Thrasher awarded by the National Gang Crime Research Center. You may recognize him from his appearances in the History Channel’s Gangland series, and you may be seeing him for the first time. Either way, it will be a pleasure. I’m talking about the extremely smart, kind, and talented Dr. Carter F. Smith.

Carter came prepared. He had a special event where he did a talk about his book a few days before East Side Storytellin’ and another one the day after. He had his notes, book, and photos to share with everyone present. Like I said, Carter was ready.

b/w photo of Monk Eastman

Carter jumped into his talk by giving the audience facts and proper context behind his research of gangs in the US military. He couldn’t have gone straight into the excerpts from his book, but he wanted us to get a clear picture of what is going on and how serious the matter is to our civilization as a whole going forward. That said, the historical context and figures he decided to talk more in depth about were truly fascinating to hear about. I knew a few of the figures, but the more unknown the characters were for me, the more impact they had had with the history of our country. I know there is at least two more book projects, whether Carter knows now or not, that he could squeeze out of these lemons.

After Carter set the scene of his book, he dove right in. He shared a few highlighted interviews he did while putting the book concept together and also while going down the wormhole of our criminal justice system and dangerous gangs located throughout our country. I instantly heard the back and forth dialogue as an old time radio show, and told this idea to Carter later for further tread on this book’s tire. Point being, I feel like Carter is only on the tip of the iceberg of this story and, although he’s done a fantastic job with absolutely everything he’s produced and shared so far, I’m hooked to hear more. You can take a listen to Carter on the recording below to hear just how on point he is with his research, writing, and delivery on this important topic.

Then, it was time for our featured music of the night. Our headlining musical guest is a Nashville-based indie artist whose songs are undeniably rooted in folk music, simple and true. Originally from Iowa and two musician parents who encouraged her to sing and create music from the time she could speak, her musical education was taught by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon, among others. She moved through Syracuse University and around Chicago before being pulled to Nashville via an all-girl band called Sweetwater Rose. I know we’ll speak more about that and everything else musical and life related later, but let’s not waste any more time than we have and get this girl to sing these amazing original songs while we have her here to ourselves. Fresh off of her 2017 release of “Crooked Feelings,” her third record so far, and joined on stage by her tremendously talented friend on the fiddle, Kristin Weber, I was super excited to finally introduce the one, the only, Ali Sperry.

Ali jumped right into her song “Crooked Feelings” off the newest album. I was instantly pulled in by the lyrics “treason if you won’t fight the war” and “I quit for love!” and “I’m gonna be alright.” I thought it was the perfect transition from the dark side of life and current events explained by Carter’s work into a much more comforting and hopeful future prompted by Ali’s words, melodies, and style. I said it a few times to Tom during the performance, but Ali reminded me of a folkish version of Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins. She was serving up the spoonfuls of sugar and it was helping us digest the real life medicine that already went down with Carter. I was feeling alive and okay.

Ali and Kristin were side by side on every note and harmony they dished to us. From the way they told the crowd to “Look at Me” with the lyric of “nobody loves you half as much as me” and “Pay attention.”, they had the entire room spellbound and in the palms of their hands. We even had two toddlers in the crowd who were recording the performance for future notes. It was very inspiring, to say the least.

Ali and Kristin ran through a solid handful of originals, from the inspiring song on hills about journeys going forward, to fictional tales and characters who Ali hopes is really real and happening somewhere in the world today, and finally wrapping up with some sad tunes and tributes to fallen friends and muses. One of the coolest moments of then night, for me, was when Ali and Kristin finished the set by covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ song Breakdown. You can hear it in the recording below, along with the rest of the set, but I will say that I thought it was perfect, timing and performance.

After the Tom Petty tribute ended, I was gifted with the chance to talk more about creative journeys and life passions with Ali and Carter. Both were as energetic and honest and positive as I’ve seen any duo of guests in all my time, and that says a lot since pretty much everyone I’ve had the chance to speak with is energetic, honest, and positive. You’ll hear it all in the recoding below, so I’ll save you from reading too much of my rambling post-show.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 117, the night we featured the likes of Carter F. Smith, Ali Sperry, and Kristin Weber at The Post East on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 at 1701 Fatherland. I’m no Yoko Ono, but I was not disappointed with a magical experience with all of these people and numbers aligning with the stars. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with all of your friends 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 Carter & Ali (and Kristin) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Carter’s writing here – www.gangsandthemilitary.com

You can listen to more of Ali’s music here – alisperry.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.

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’ 118, the 5th anniversary show

Tuesday, November 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Dana Malone

singing- Solar Twin

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 117 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

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Chuck Beard, Kate Parrish, Sarah Carter, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Kate Parrish, Sarah Carter, and Tom Eizonas

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 76th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 75, I repeat … 75, 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’ 76. Let us begin, again.

Welcome to the 2nd ever, not so annual, Down from the Mountain show involving personal ties to Sewanee, the University of the South. People who attended the 1st in February of 2013 may remember us sharing a lovely night of literature by Kevin Wilson and music by the talented Amanda Shires (sharing the stage with then fiancé Jason Isbell. You can check out that show recap and recording to refresh your memory right here – http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-8-when-sewanee-left-the-mountain-for-the-city/). Coming back to February 2016, we’ve decided to celebrate the Sewanee School of Letters in a most appropriate blue valentine inspired show with current students, and the talent and heart of the show was just as inspiring. The pending tornado warning and constant rain outside of the show set the mood of the show just as much as the packed crowd filling every seat in the house.

The first featured guest of the night is a dear friend and MFA candidate at the Sewanee School of Letters. This scribe is specializing in nonfiction while also keeping herself busy as a freelancer for publications such as Teen Vogue and Nashville Lifestyles, to name a few. As if that wasn’t enough, she blogs at the very inspiring www.aimingforokay.com. A native Nashvillian, born and raised, you will see her promoting writing and local authors as much as anyone I know. She is a regular at The Porch Writers’ Collective and also helps right the ship that is the Rivendell Writers’ Colony as well. It was an honor to introduce the person was first thought of this special blue valentine idea, the wonderful Miss Kate Parrish.

photo credit - Katie McDougall

photo credit – Katie McDougall

Kate grabbed the microphone and the attention of the crowd by thanking all who braved the storms to attend the show. She thanked everyone from Sewanee and The Porch. Then she thanked all of her ex-boyfriends who have continued to give her material and fuel her fire to write nonfiction stories that help her creativity and story grow. When she started in on her first story, I immediately crowned her the Taylor Swift of creative memoirs.

Kate had a command of the language and a delightful poetic way of twisting memories and moments into relatable and yet transcendent scenes for any who has ever experienced love and heartache to relate with. Her first story, Lean Cuisine, was set in the middle of sad times for all involved amidst the backdrop of a grocery store check-out line. As the reading progressed, I could feel the deteriorating light above the cashier dim and flicker with the solid line and fact that in the end we eat our meals alone.

In her second essay, Gone Like That, she had me at the first line of Do you know how to a kill a man with your bare hands? She captivated a room full of people with talk about baby birds, canoes, combat training, and deaths that are slow and quick. You know, just like any relationship you’ve had in the past but written and read in a way you’ve never heard before. Kate has a gift for taking her experiences and relaying them to people in a way that they feel déjà vu at the same time they are learning something new about themselves and those around them. I was not the only one moved by her performance.

The featured musician of the night is someone who is a very close friend of our featured author and is also fellow student at the prestigious Sewanee School of Letters program striving for an MFA degree, specializing in non-fiction. Keeping it real here, this lady is a high school English teacher who currently lives in Lebanon, TN. She is an autoharpist and aspiring folklorist. A self-described audiophile and lover of Appalachian ballads, she applies her Virginia roots to her performances of tradition song and her creative writing. She spends most of her free time writing inspirational phrases for found hair on her Instagram project called @braidisms of which we discussed during the interview portion of the show, but, again, it was an absolute privilege for me to welcome another SOL’er into the East Side Storytellin’ fold with the lovely Sarah Carter.

photo credit to Bonnie Bishop

photo credit – Bonnie Bishop

Sarah, if you’ve never met her before, is no stranger to anyone. She has the ability to break the ice and make you feel like you’ve been close friends with her since grade school. She has an immense love for research and everything Appalachian and the prepared set list she unraveled to the attentive crowd was one for the ages. Not only did she explain the stories and names and people behind every single track, but this was honestly the first time anyone had ever played traditional songs and mentioned what modern hip hop song that each track resembled. Like I said, Sarah broke the ice and made everyone feel right at home for the night.

There were tracks where she strummed her harp and others where she went full acapella on us, original Opry style. Both deliveries were breathtaking and took me beyond The Post and threw me in some sort of Appalachian back porch setting surrounded by family and friends on a sunny summer day, which was very fitting since I was spending the evening around dearly beloved summertime friends from Sewanee (not that we aren’t friends all the year round, but we have spent summers in classrooms together getting all educated and what not).

Now, before I forget, I must remind everyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to attend this event in person that all of these songs (save one where she admitted beforehand with a smile that nobody died in that one) Sarah performed were classics and absolute heartbreakers. She probably could have gotten a pretty good sponsorship from Kleenex if she wanted to try before hand. The songs were sad, but the singing and performing was anything but. Sarah, like Kate, has a real gift for conveying meanings behind stories, whether they are hers or her translation.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have the feature guests back on stage to share more stories behind their art and their creativity. Both Kate and Sarah were such a delight. I thought it was appropriate to throw some curveballs their way in terms of asking personal preferences and insights into their passion for hip hop artistry and how that matched with their dreams and craft. They aced with flying colors and if one person smiled and laughed and enjoyed themselves while listening to Kate and Sarah then over a 100 did as well.

Oh, and one more thing, Sarah surprised us all with an extra track at the end of the show that was totally all her, an original like few I’ve ever heard while combining the style of her favorites and then childhood terms like punk and Zelda and other things. It is called Bravery and it is, like Sarah, AWEsome! You can hear it in the link below.

Again, as always, I’m just going to let the recording of the show speak for itself because I tend to ramble and gush over these wonderful human beings once I get going on here.  Don’t be a judge. Just listen and enjoy.

So here is the edited recording of East Side Stoytellin’ 76 that featured the words of Kate Parrish and the music from Sarah Carter and the wit and humor and heart of both at The Post on Tuesday, February 2nd in the middle of a tornado watch while celebrating a Sewanee reunion and a blue Valentine all in one. Now if this doesn’t get your heart beating than I don’t know what will. Enjoy and feel free to like and share and listen over and over again!

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

You can read more about Kate’s writing here- aimingforokay.com

You can listen to more of Sarah’s musings here – www.instagram.com/braidisms

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.

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show.

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

One addition on the fly, I’d love to give a very special shout out to all of the Sewanee family mates who came out to the show to support our fellow Tigers, and also Carmen and Michael Thompson at the Rivendell Writers Colony, AND April Alvarez and John Grammer for accepting all of us and helping make us better writers and people in general.

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.

The next round of East Side Storytellin’ will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 77 

Tuesday, February 16th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading-  Bill Brown (www.stilljournal.net/bill-brown-poetry.php)

singing- Darrin Bradbury (www.darrinbradbury.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 76 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

A great shot by Jessica Bates

A great shot by Jessica Bates

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Tom Eizonas, Kevin Wilson, Chuck Beard, Amanda Shires, April Alvarez, Sam Fox

On February 19th, 2013, a very special gathering that had been in the making for a few months, possibly since last Summer before East Side Story was a reality, occurred at Rumours East and it was an absolute blast.  With the help of April Alvarez, Coordinator for the Sewanee School of Letters program, she managed to help book Kevin Wilson and Amanda Shires and bring several supportive members of the Sewanee family along with her for a most amazing evening.

Oh yes, February 19th had been long in the making indeed.  This past fall, after I first started thinking about East Side Storytellin’, I decided to contact April directly with the thought of having a show featuring two very talented Sewanee folks in literature and music.  She loved the idea and instantly started throwing out several names of students and teachers currently found within the School of Letters program.  I must admit here and now to her and you that I wasn’t really paying attention to her names at first because, being completely honest, I already had the specific notion that the best show possible for this time being and what would totally capture what East Side Storytellin’ embodies would be the writing/reading of Mr. Wilson and the music originality of Ms. Shires.  I sent my ultimate request to April, and she went off on a hot trail of emails and phone calls to make it happen without question or doubt.  Wouldn’t you know that within a month of asking around on and off the mountain, it was with great pleasure on both sides of the email when she wrote to me saying that the show I had in my head and heart was a go.

This is what getting good news from April looks like on the outside.
photo credit- April Alvarez

So all that said, fast-forwarding to the evening of February 19th, it didn’t surprise me on that afternoon and pre-show timing that immediately after several members of my own family arrived at East Side Story excited about the upcoming show, just behind them was a group of smiling Sewanee friends also very much excited about the upcoming show and seeing the bookstore for the very first time.  It’s one thing to see pictures online or read good press clips on paper, and it’s an entirely different experience to walk inside the door of an original idea turned reality.  I can say that it truly made my heart smile to see April, Michael Thompson, and a couple of others who made the trek to the store smiling and standing around two of the most important people in my own life … my parents.

But I progress.  It was already time to get the sound check and artists meet-up going on down the street.  We all walked over to Rumours East and smack dab into author Kevin Wilson and members of his family in town.  Then, we walked inside the restaurant together and immediately saw Amanda Shires (her boots said so first) and her family too.  It was already quickly becoming a delightful family affair, all things said.

After an hour of completely rearranging the set design, checking all microphones/speakers, and moving seats around wherever we could fit them, we were ready to begin.  But to quickly preface the action that took place, I should explain more than the Sewanee factors involved why this was a very important show for two specific reasons:

1- We had to set up the stage in the front room facing out into the lobby and the back room instead of the normal back right room facing inwards because we had already booked way over our regular capacity of RSVP’s capable of filling Rumours East nearly a week before the show took place.  With the names/art of the featured guests, and said support traveling for Sewanee’s sake, we had people willing to sit on the floors to get in on this action.

 

Room 1 of 3 overflowing from the lounge area.
photo credit- April Alvarez

2- It was the last East Side Storytellin’ show at Rumours East.  As you can recall and recap on our website links of past shows since November 6th, we have had quite the beginning and run at this venue.  The location was a perfect fit for the start of this thing, and this particular line-up was a perfect ending to the run we’ve had.

Kevin Wilson
photo credit- April Alvarez

With those factors known, I managed to walk through and around the crowd up to the front stage to introduce the show and Kevin Wilson properly.  I first heard Kevin read during this past year while attending the Sewanee School of Letters, and I remember being blown away by his creative prose, his outlandish written realities, and authentic emotions found within every crazy character and situation he created and shared with us during his brief reading.  Having recently finished reading Kevin’s award-winning novel of The Family Fang, I was very excited to find out that he was going to read from something he had written about the characters in said book after he already published the original work.  Basically, we were all going to have the wonderful opportunity to hear something for the first time that many have never had the chance to read.  Talk about AWEsome!

Needless to say, Kevin (although he was physically sick and battling the latest bug sweeping the nation) blew everyone away yet again.  That’s pretty much what Kevin Wilson does with his words to anyone willing and fortunate to come face to face with them.  He blows you away.  You can listen to the reading at Rumours East below for yourself, but know that there’s nothing better as a book lover than to witness someone as talented and dynamic as Kevin Wilson in person if you are able to have that chance.

Amanda and Jason
photo credit- April Alvarez

After Kevin finished and made his way back to his family’s side, I was humbled with the task introducing one of the most talented songstresses and stars on the rise in Nashville and the nation for that matter.  This special evening was the first time I had met Amanda Shires in person because we both commuted during our school sessions at Sewanee this past Summer.  At that time, I was busy plotting and formulating what would become East Side Story when not writing fiction and she spent her time away from poetry on the mountain by making music and taking the entire music scene by storm like it was her job (side note, it is her job).  On this night, Amanda brought her boots, guitar, fiance (now officially her husband, the talented Jason Isbell), and stories that she intertwined into the most beautiful songs.  Oh yeah, her voice wasn’t anything short of awe-inspiring either.  My favorite part of the music was the song, as you’ll listen below, about the girl being bulletproof.  It totally reminded me of a main character, Annie Fang, from Kevin’s book, and once again how perfect the pairing of both these incredible artists together really was for the experience of it all.

Before we called it an evening, I managed to get Amanda, Kevin, and April back up to the front of the room to talk about their creative processes, ties to Nashville, and individual lives at Sewanee.  Each of them were tremendously insightful while articulating what makes them tick and enjoy their creativity to the max.  It was evident to me, and probably everyone else under the same roof, that we are all better for having the chance to see a glimpse of how these two artists see the ordinary AND crazy worlds we all live in through the lenses of their art.

After we spent the majority of time speaking about their songs and books, we dove head first into a discussion about what makes Sewanee so special to every single person who travels through and/or lives there for an extended period of time.  Each artist made the case of why it was a perfect fit for their pace/outlook on life respectively, and this sort of questioning was great timing to give the spotlight to April in order to talk more about the University of the South in general.  April briefly shared what the School of Letters program is about, why it is so unique and established, and also how its positive effects reach far beyond the bottom of the mountain that it sits on- quite evident as seen in the one-of-a-kind East Side Storytellin’ event that it helped produce, obviously.

All in all, it was a pleasure and honor to be associated with such class all around.  I don’t think we could have asked for a better send off from Rumours East than the crowd we brought together, the talent that was shared, and the prestige that Sewanee contributed to our creative cause.  Many thanks need to be shared to everyone that helped make it happen.

You can see a short list of thanks below:

*To my wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard.  Nothing would happen without your support and love.

*To Tom Eizonas and the WAMB Radio family.  Nothing would be shared to the public if not for your recording skills and time that you put into this project to make each minute better than the one before.

*To April Alvarez, John Grammar, Sam Fox, Michael Thompson, and everyone else from the Sewanee family who attended or helped spread the word about the event.  You make every Summer better and better, but you also help all of us reach and surpass our potential with prose and more … more than words.

*To Kevin Wilson.  A man who fought off a sick bug, rush hour traffic, AND a grizzly bear while finding time to change a spare tire for a complete stranger with a glass eye and wooden leg so he could help an old lady cross the road in the snow uphill both ways in order to make an appearance at East Side Storytellin’ on time (I believe everything he told me or made notes about).  Seriously, I’m glad you enjoyed the event and I look forward to reading more of your work now that you have the real Child A and Child B in your life.  Write onward and upward.

*To Amanda Shires.  Thank you and Jason for graciously taking time out of your last minute pre-wedding planning/rehearsing/enjoying days to spend an evening with fans, new and old, of your prose and music.  I am very jealous of the way you effortlessly weave in and out of your storytelling and songs while blending them together so wonderfully with your personality, but know that I am even more jealous of your boots with your name on them.  Congrats on getting’ hitched! Here’s to many years of wedded bliss and musical wonder ahead.

*To the family and friends of Rumours East.  Thank you for allowing us time and space to build East Side Storytellin’ from scratch.  We hope that we treated your house with the love and respect that it deserves.  We look forward to many more occasions in the best back patio in the city when the weather permits, and we hope to keep our creative bridge intact for several events here and there in the future of East Side Story and where this crazy ride takes us next.  Thank YOU!

 

Now, without further ado, here is the link of the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 8: Kevin Wilson and Amanda Shires.

 

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-8-2-19

 

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

Get your RSVP on for your own table- call 615-678-5895 and tell them how many friends are coming with you.  Otherwise it is first come, first available seats.

Who will be featured-  Victoria Schwab (http://veschwab.wordpress.com)and the musical stylings of Grace Adele (www.graceadelemusic.com).

 

Side note, here is the image for the limited edition print that was not available the night of the show (our good friend and artist, Alex Smith, was sick for the 2nd week in a row but is currently on the mend).  It will be available upon request to buy for $20 per if you email me at chuck@eastsidestorytn.com ahead of time.  Pretty awesome work again if I do type so myself.

art by Alex Smith

PS–  Love this extra picture too, group shot take two!

Another group shot with a “crazy” theme. Pictures are even more crazy when only one person goes wild 🙂

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Chuck Beard, Alice Randall, Jonathan Sexton, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Alice Randall, Jonathan Sexton, and Tom Eizonas

WOW!  That’s about the only word I could come up with after leaving Rumours East on the night of Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, and experiencing the first-time meeting between Alice Randall and Jonathan Sexton.  If you weren’t lucky enough to be in the crowd sharing that wonderful evening with me, you are lucky to be here reading this post  with pictures and edited audio of the event below.

I knew long before the strike of 7pm, the time when we always begin our East Side Storytellin’ shows, that it was going to be another amazing meeting between unique Nashville creatives.  As soon as the very morning of February 5th, after I posted a reminder for people to RSVP for the show with limited seating still remaining, I was immediately bombarded with many friends on and off Facebook continually asking me how I got the tremendously accomplished Alice Randall to be a part of my fun idea.  My reply, as usual, was that I simply asked her directly and she liked the idea enough to be a part of it.  With that said, I was buzzed all afternoon to get the show going.

Unfortunately, right before the show began, I discovered that there would not be a special art print to commemorate this lovely evening as I have had for all the other East Side Storytellin’ shows up to this point and plan to in the future.  My always dependable and very talented friend and artist Alex Smith, had been very sick since East Side Storytellin’ 6 and just couldn’t find time and energy to pull it together.  Everyone was more hopeful that Alex would get better sooner than anything else or thoughts about the prints in the end.  We wished him the best and let the show go on.

Alice and Jonathan met each other cordially for a minor sound check with Tom and then relaxed as other friends and excited fans took their seats.  Everything lined up just right and we began another special evening.

 

I introduced Alice and it was a huge honor.  Alice was one of the very first well known published authors to answer the initial East Side Story call for authors back when we first opened that dream in August of last year.  That, along with the East Side Storytellin’ call, was something she did not have to do at all if she didn’t feel like it would be a treat for her and her fans.  Think about it.  Alice is a New York Times Bestselling author, an award winning Nashville songwriter, and multi-talented tv/radio/movie talent.  Basically, she is very well known and very talented with everything she is a part of along her extraordinary journey.  She has many titles under her belt to choose from for such a reading, and she chose an excerpt from her novel “Rebel Yell” because of the timing significance of the 50th anniversary of some of the actions in the book and what inspired her to write it.  You can listen more to what she said about it in the below link, but I just want to write again that it was an honor to have her with us at East Side Storytellin’.

After Alice’s second round of applause, I was again honored to attempt to match her talent and energy with that of someone I was/am very confident in everything he is about.  Jonathan Sexton has been a friend for a few years now, and his musical talents and genuine care for everyone he meets continues to amaze me on a daily basis.  As recent as the last 2 years, he has stepped aside from a promising musical career to launch a business called Artist Growth with several friends in order to help the musicians find their way easier and better.  Lucky for all of us, he is ready to jump back into the musical side of his passions and we are all better for it.  I appreciated the fact that he accepted the opportunity to share the stage with us and Alice, and I also appreciated the fact that the setting of our show seemed to fit his return to music just right.  As you will listen below, Jonathan’s new words, notes, and messages reveal the latest version of Jonathan’s growth as an artist and a person.

Without further ado, here is the link of the edited version of the East Side Stortytellin’ show as it was aired on WAMB Radio (1200am/99.3fm) on Saturday, February 9th at 2pm Central.

 

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-7-2-05 

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Now I’d like to take a second to give thanks to everyone that helped make this show happen.

*To my wife, Emily Harper Beard.  She is the best visual artist I know and she is the most caring, giving, humble, and the main reason behind anything wonderful in my life.  I love her and obviously I don’t care who knows it.

*To Tom Eizonas and the WAMB Family.  Without your help, nobody outside of the people that came to the show would ever get to appreciate the magic that is East Side Storytellin’.  With your help, everyone that came to the show and those who couldn’t are now able to listen and appreciate what we’ve put together over and over again.  I want to say thank y’all over and over again.

*To Alice Randall.  Your talent is obvious.  Your words go beyond the page and straight to the core of who we all are.  Your energy is contagious, courageous, and boundless.  Thank you for being a part of East Side Storytellin’, East Side Story, and Nashville in general.  Nashville is a better place because you are here doing everything you do and calling it home.  Thank you for all you do!

*To Jonathan Sexton.  Big Love Choir or solo, you are superb.  I am proud to call you friend, honored that you call me friend, and always amazed by everything you put your heart and mind towards.  You always do what you are going to say and you always make good things better.  I am very excited to follow along your next step of your journey to see how many people are touched by your music, words, message, and life.  You are awesome.

*To Ali and the Rumours East family.  Thank you yet again for opening your doors and time to help our idea meet reality.  The setting, the employees, and the refreshments helped make another great night happen.  Thanks for everything y’all do for us and the East Nashville community.

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The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Rumours East (1112 Woodland Street)

Get your RSVP on- call 615-262-5346 and tell them how many friends are coming with you.

Who will be featured-  Kevin Wilson (www.wilsonkevin.com)and the musical stylings of Amanda Shires (www.amandashires.squarespace.com).  This show will be sponsored by The University of the South: Sewanee’s School of Letters (www.sewanee.edu/SL/SLHome.htm).

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