Berklee College of Music

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Chuck Beard, Christine Hall, and Tom Eizonas

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Chuck Beard, Christine Hall, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to the recap and recording of another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 68th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 67 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’ 68. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was a performance poet that lives, writes, and gardens in Nashville, TN. A child from Queensbury, New York and a child of American mythology – tool girl calendars, Bible stories, and science fiction to name a few – she ventures into intimate subjects with ease in her own prose. She has been a featured artist in Out & About Nashville, The Brophisticate’s “In the Corner Back by the Woodpile” podcast, in Calliope Magazine’s inaugural issue, and a portion of her book “Waking God” (of which you can purchase at East Side Story) appeared on Nashville MTA buses in 2013 as part of Metro Arts and Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion. She can be found at a plethora of art events around town, taking notes for her first novel or simply staring at cracks in the sidewalk. The person who currently carries the brightest torch for the monthly series Poetry in the Brew, it was an honor to introduce the one and only Christine Hall, y’all!

Christine prefaced her reading to the audience by saying that she had politely asked her children to give her peace and quiet this particular afternoon in order for her to properly get in a good spot before the show and they did the exact opposite for her and that ended up being okay because they brought up a lot of “feelings” for her to use instead of peace and quiet. Christine cleared her throat and then wasted no time at all clearing her soul for all to listen and feel. I don’t know if you have ever heard Christine perform her poetry, but you will never forget it if you do.

Christine stared directly into the depths of her words and let it all out with raw emotion and volume that would be uncontested by most authors I’ve ever seen read. She cried out something about Emmanuel to kick things off and by the time she got into the middle of her second poem that brought to light several instances of missing people and so-called monsters (Nelly excluded), she was visibly shaking as she was throwing down her prose for all to witness. It was very intense and very powerful for all to sit on the edge of their seats and take in.

Christine split her time between sharing poems from her book and from other social reactionary topics she has been busy pining over as of late and it was all a beautiful blend of heavy materials and concepts we all need to chew on more often than most do. She finished with one of my favorite poems of hers of the night about her take on feminism and it perfectly reflected why it is that Christine writes poetry = because there are some ideas and thoughts and other stuff that she can’t keep inside nor does she want to keep it to herself. Point being, as I said before, Christine let it all out and figuratively dropped the mike by the end to a full room of applause and appreciation.

And then the music of the night totally flipped the room on its head and heart.

The featured music of the night was a charmingly self-deprecating underdog of an East Nashville songwriter and everyone I’m friends with absolutely love a charmingly self-deprecating underdog of any sorts. Connected and brought to my attention by our mutual friend Gary Branigan, the co-founder of the awesome East Nashville indie label Palaver Records, this young man was celebrating the grand release of his first full length album called “In the Blazes” this day, there and then on the spot! This guy was born in O-H-I-O, playing the guitar at age 11 in his first band, learning by ear mainly to sing Oasis songs and get middle-school chicks (which isn’t as creepy as it sounds when you know he was of middle school age at the time). He went on to cut his teeth in teenage garage bands and joining the high school jazz ensemble (because you saw that one coming, right?). The jazz led him to receiving a jazz-guitar scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He quickly ditched the academia route by jumping back into the rock & roll scene in a band called Semi-Precious Weapons who found some solid success. He moved on from that group and another one called Madison Square Gardeners to become one of the most sought after hired gun guitarists around. In 2014, after playing a bunch of solo acoustic gigs on the side, this guy put out his first EP called “Crooked River Burning” and reached #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart. On this special night he was with us to rock his big release “In the Blazes” and blaze his way to the top of the charts and into our music-loving hearts. Ladies and gentlemen, it was truly an honor to share the name and amazing talents of the likes of Aaron Lee Tasjan!

Aaron stepped up to the microphone with a guitar that read “This was a huge deal” (of which you can listen to the backstory during the interview portion and link below) and it was quite evident after just a few chords that this performance before us was indeed going to be a huge F’n deal. Before I get started here, let me just say that Aaron’s set and the set by Kat Milk Blu in the most recent show before this were hands down better than any musical performances I’ve seen in Nashville at The Ryman or most other big and small venues around in a long time. Seriously, it was and he is that good.

That said, Aaron started his set instantly making everyone laugh and listen because he said the first song was about getting someone not to walk away and listen to him and it was called “Don’t walk away, I’m talking to you.” And then he blew our minds. Before every song, he was the most delightful and natural storyteller I’ve ever heard perform. He said that he is friends with Todd Snider and fans of John Prine, but I would say he is already on that caliber of performers and just gonna get even better. To preface his second song, one titled “Get Gone” (one from his new album), he told us about a recent show in New York where the X-Men and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart introduced himself and sat in the front row because his wife is a singer in Europe and was cutting that particular track for her first album. Bad news is that Patrick Stewart fell asleep during the show (too much whiskey), but the good news is that his wife’s cut of Aaron’s song is on the top of the charts as of last week. You Google her at Sunny Ozell. But back to Aaron. He then told of a killer revenge song story about a bad crowd experience with one particular dick at a Cat Power show in Nashville when playing the new “Bitch Can’t Sing.” And then he went old school, being that I’m from KY and he is from OH, and talked about his song inspired by one of his friends saying that Ohio is home of the most US Presidents and astronauts because it is filled with the most liars and people who want to get as far away from Ohio as humanly possible. I’m serious … I could go on and on all day and night about how brilliant this guy is with storytelling and his songs. I mentioned at one point that I’m looking forward to seeing Aaron read his original prose at Poetry in the Brew and other storytelling events around town.

And as great as the first part and middle of the set was, I was totally trying to find out in my head how we can start the Aaron Lee Tasjan fan club (if there isn’t one yet) by the end of his time playing this night because he had a 1-2-3 punch to finish the set like few I’ve heard before. He played “Living Proof” while giving nods to Tom Petty and correctly spelling Lynyrd Skynyrd every time despite never remembering how many L’s are in Van Halen, then mentioned taking drugs on the West Coast with Ohio and East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Tim Easton while writing a song called $66 blues inspired by a piano melody of Jerry Lee Lewis proportions, and finished it all with a song about the streets of Galilee that perfectly came full circle with Christine’s beginning of Emmanuel but then had an excerpt that was similar to David Alan Coe’s perfect Country & Western song but was even better and more personal and relatable. Can you tell that I’m a fan of Aaron’s music and artistry yet?

Before I give you the link of the edited recording of the show, I’d like to mention that one of the most poignant lines I’ve heard in my interviews for the show came during this show’s interview session. First, Christine spoke again about why she writes and writes poetry specifically because she can’t hold it in, and then Aaron, when prompted to say what he learned about his first taste of music business money and fame and how that helps him define what he does now and what success means to him … he went on about a solid 5-10 answer that came directly from the heart about what he defines as creativity and the point of art in general and it was remarkable. I’m thinking of transcribing it later and seeing if we should make prints with it. I’ll let you know if I and we do.

But, lucky for you, you don’t have to wait for that print or feel bad if you missed this show in person because here it is … East Side Storytellin’ 68, edited but not too much after featuring Christine Hall and Aaron Lee Tasjan on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015, at The Post with a room full of love and life. Enjoy and share it over and over again until we break the internet in a great way. 

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Christine Hall and Aaron Lee Tasjan for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Christine Hall’s writing here-

You can listen to more from Aaron Lee Tasjan here-

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here –

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

art by Clay Brunton

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.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 69

Tuesday, October 20th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- W.S. Lyon 

singing- Andrew Leahey (

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 68 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,


one more for the road

one more for the road






Allie Farris, "GG" Betty Jo Beard, Carson Morton, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Hello, good evening, morning, lunch, or siesta, and WELCOME to the 29th edition of East Side Storytellin’ – the recap, recording, and aftermath.  Right now, comfortable in your chair & computer of choice, sit back, relax, and relish in the talents of two amazing artists in their own rights here again to showcase one of many things they are great at and known for around town.  First, you will hear a reading from a Nashville author, followed by a Nashville musician on the rise, and then a creative conversation between them both about their creative processes and journeys to Nashville.  Before I start rambling about how excited I am for the New Year and all of the things about East Side Story and East Side Storytellin’ we have lined up and not even planned yet, I’ll just let YOU begin the show.

Our first featured guest of this particular show hailed from England originally as a wee child.  In between the time that he was born then and now living in and calling Nashville home, he has worked extremely hard to become a published screenwriter, playwright, songwriter, musician, and author.  A slacker he is not, this author was more than ready to read from and talk about his first published novel called “Stealing Mona Lisa.”  The book itself, since first being published in 2011, has been chosen for Kirkus Reviews’ Best of Fiction 2011 List and The Library Journal’s Best Mysteries of 201 List, and it is a an ongoing work of art that grows in popularity by the day.  Recently, this past year, a featured guest on John Seigenthaler’s famed program “A Word On Words.” He was one of two authors in the entire span of that famed program to ever sing an original song on the show as well (the other being Marshall Chapman).  It was an honor and joy to introduce the modern-day Nashville Renaissance man and artist in that of Carson Morton.

Carson took to the stage and crowd, a superb crowd who weathered the cold weather and made it a point to fill the upstairs of Mad Donna’s with a happiness and warmth that was quite contagious and made everyone feel great, and Carson was the consummate professional.  Carson dove right into telling the crowd about how this epic story came about and into writing.  Then he immediately started reading a passage or few to entice the people to want to know more.  After that, he picked up a ukulele, plugged it into the sound system, and played an original song that planted the seeds for the writing of the novel at hand years before he wrote it.  It was the first time on East Side Storytellin’ where the featured author sang an original song.  It was quite a pleasure to witness.

And talk about a pleased crowd, I then was super excited (even more so after I heard the short pre-show sound check) to introduce our featured musician of the evening.  She, simply put, is a breath of fresh air for Music City.  Spending her formative years in the state of Texas, she, much like the slacker of our featured author- facetiously speaking , wasted no time at all once she knew she wanted to become a musician at a young age.  She formed her first band at 15, recorded several albums while performing venues around the Dallas area around that time.  She then went on to college at University of North Texas’s College of Music, where she won several awards at highly competitive songwriting contest.  She later expanded her audience in the world of songwriting and solo performing and flew to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music.  Realizing that her dream of becoming a full-time songwriter and performer was better suited in Nashville, she flew here in 2011 and has been busy ever since (not like she wasn’t busy before).  She’s made her music and presence stand out in a city of standouts, made an album in 2012 called “You Make Me Smile,” made countless friends with fellow musicians you already know by heart in town, and is working on several projects RIGHT NOW that we’ll talk about later tonight.  All that said, I first got to know her and her music because my Grandmother and aunt met her on a plane ride and she made them smile.  They made each other smile.  So please put all distractions to your side and give your full attention to the recording and songs in the edited link below for the talented songbird on the rise in that of Allie Farris.

Allie, as seen in the pictures above and below, on top of the recording, gives off a positivity that is completely stripped down to honesty and pure talent.  It’s not hard, after just a measure or two of listening, to see and agree that she has made a perfectly wise decision to become a unique singer-songwriter.  To me, and I wasn’t/am not alone, she is a great mix of everything great about Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Carol King, and Diana Krall … but something even more fresh and current for today’s world.  Like I said, take some time to click the show link below, and then make plans to see her live whenever you get the chance.  This girl is definitely going places AND calls Nashville home!

After the music concluded, I managed to get Carson and Allie back up on stage for a short round of candid questions.  They were a great duo of positive energy that, as I said before, made the wonderful crowd of the night enjoy their own decision to come out and celebrate another round of East Side Storytellin’ much much more than had they not.  Take a listen for yourself below.

Here is the link for the edited show of East Side Storyellin’ 29 (for you to “like,” enjoy, and share with all of your friends and your little dogs too):

Before I give you the details of the next show, East Side Storytellin’ 30, I want to take a second to properly thank Allie Farris and Carson Morton.  They took time out of their busy schedules and creative sessions in general to donate their talents and treasures with that of a crowd that night and with YOU here now (over and over again).

You can read more about Allie Farris‘ work here-

You can keep up to date on book 2 & 3 and more from Carson Morton here-

I’d also like to thank a few others one more time for making this show a reality. I’d love to thank Tom Eizonas for doing the recording and edits for this show, like all the others you can hear on our and  A big shout out to artist Clay Brunton, who made the wonderful art poster for this evening, to my lovely bride for always having my side, and for everyone who came out to make tonight extra special- especially Grandmother for showing up after introducing Allie to our East Side Story world.

That is the end of this show, and our only show for January.  We will be back on track for East Side Storytellin’ 30 … I repeat, East Side Storytellin’ 30 on Tuesday, February 4th, at Mad Donna’s, at 7pm, with the poet Stephanie Pruitt Gaines and music by our friends Jimmy and Nate of Colour of London.  I hope to see you all and more here then.  But until we do this again, be nice to one another and thank you for being a part of our journey.  Thank you and good night, morning, brunch, or post-siesta/pre-nap time.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)-

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

Who will be featured- words by author Stephanie Pruitt Gaines ( and music by the talented band of brothers called Colour of London (

Oh, before we go, we might as well, because we have them, leave you this round of East Side Storytellin’ with 2 for the road … 2 pictures of Allie Farris smiling, of course!



Tom Eizonas, Nicole Branigan, Kim Logan, Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Nicole Branigan, Kim Logan, Chuck Beard

Hello, good evening (or morning if that’s the case whenever you’re reading this), and welcome to East Side Storytellin’ once again.  Right now, we have the honor of celebrating our 26th show, and I’m so excited for you to do so here with me.  In this round, you are primed to have a one of a kind local poet do some readings from her original work that will allow you to see the world like never before, and then you’ll be graced with a red-headed rocker that will allow you to see music city like never before.  After you are amazed by these amazing women, I’ll share a brief moment or two talking about their creative processes and ties with Nashville in general.  I hope you’ll enjoy this show half as much as I know I did and continue to do.

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

Starting off the evening, it was appropriate in more ways than one to feature 1 of 3 people (besides my wife and myself) to ever work at East Side Story.  The few … the proud, this lady is awesome.  A poet by passion and trade, she does most of her writing via her website and Facebook page titled “Blackbird Can Write.”  Flying south to Nashville a bit ago, she decided to hang her hat here and make a home.  She loves writing web content and creating engaging reading material for a large spectrum of businesses, and has the track record to show and prove that she is excellent at everything she puts her heart towards.  She was included a featured author in the book “Welcome to the Real World: advice for new graduates, job seekers, and all other human beings” (of which she discusses later in the conversation portion of the show), and she wrote everything in her beautiful book that you can find at East Side Story in that of “Stained Glass Mirror, A Collection of Poetry.”

I was thrilled to finally give a big spotlight and and much deserved shout-out introduction and stage to that of the poet, the one and only, Nicole Branigan.  Nicole was a tad bit nervous when she first hit the stage, but she quickly adapted to her comfort zone … her prose.  She read a handful of short ones, all but one being brand-spanking new, and the crowd instantly felt at home with her take on things.  So much so in fact that just when Nicole thought she was going to leave the stage early and sit down for the music, Tom shouted to her that we needed another handful of poems and really wanted to hear more.   Tom was not alone in those sentiments, as I can attest, although he was the only one who vocalized such feelings, but we were all glad that Nicole listened and then gave us more before flying off the stage in the end.  I’ll let Nicole do all of the reading and not spoil anything here in my words if you decide to take a gander on the recording below, but know ahead of time that it is some pretty fantastic stuff you are about to listen to down below.  I’m just saying … she is great!  I did mention before that she is awesome, right?  This Blackbird can definitely write!

Then, as effortless as Nicole took to the stage, she was off again.  It was time for me to introduce the featured music of the evening.  She has a cool personal connection with the featured author in that Nicole is married to a founding member of Palaver Records and this musician is signed with them. This young lady is a fourth generation in an old-world entertainment industry family, so you know that entertaining an East Side Storytellin’ crowd was already in her bones.  After leaving the swamps and beaches of Florida, spending some time at the Berklee College of Music & then Boston and Brooklyn, she flew South to Nashville and Belmont to call our lovely city home.  Not wasting any time, in the brief span she has spent here, she has kept busy by penning a guest editorial for Lockeland Springsteen, consulting on a collection for fashion designer Rachel Hesse, collaborating with filmmaker Trillbee the Hooligan on her music video for “Black Magic Boy,” and created a most spectacular self-titled debut album that was written over the course of her first 2 years living in Nashville.  Recorded at Ocean Way Studios on Music Row & at Electric Kite Studios in East Nashville, this red-headed rocker (I say that again because of the obvious- she is red-headed and rocks- but also because it sounds cool and appropriate too) was also ready to belt some powerful words to a crowd awaiting.

Miss Kim Logan jumped on stage with guitar in hand and a set of vocals that was ready with or without speakers on site.  Like Nicole, she was ready with some new material, mixed with a little old, but wanted to give a brief expose of talent for the evening.  In the time of four short songs, Kim hit notes and places that few have gone to so far in our brief collaborations with Mad Donna’s.  All in all, it was fascinating.  And just when you thought you were getting to know your next favorite musician in town, she left us wanting more.  We asked, but she was content on leaving us with the quality that she gave us and that was just enough until the next time.  Kim, knowing this after the fact, had to stay up all night and drive to Florida to support some family doing some very cool things the next day.  Bottom line, this will not be the last time we (everyone in the crowd that is) will go see Kim Logan perform live.  Her talent was/is so obvious and I for one felt honored that she took the time to share her gifts and passion with us before she hits the big time sooner than later.

After Kim finished playing music, I gathered Nicole back to the stage for some fun talk about each of their personal journeys to Nashville and  some insight into their creative processes in general.  Before I started with questions, I managed to spit out a line that I scribbled down during their performances that I thought captured the evening just right.  I said, “Both of you ladies gave us precise & powerful snapshots of life elaborated into prose & poignant songs.”  The giggled a sec in their own way and Nicole said my words were kind, but it was the only way I could give notice and thanks to them both for their small gifts to the East Side Storytellin’ tradition that is building.

Again, I won’t spoil the interview here by revealing more than words so you can click on the following link for the edited version of the entire East Side Storytellin’ 26 show for your enjoyment and share with others.  I’ve already listened to it several times and it never gets old.

Well, I’d love to take another second or two to thank everyone that has come together to help make East Side Storytellin’ 26 what it has become.  To Tom Eizonas for recording and doing the sound.  To Clay Brunton for creating the cool art print for the occasion.  To everyone here and listening after the fact to help promote local literature and storytellers in every medium.  To Mad Donna’s for allowing us to do this here at all.  And thank you so much to Nicole Branigan and Kim Logan for taking time out of their extremely busy creative and extra-ordinary lives to share their artistic gifts with us tonight.  Please give them another round of much deserved appreciation for donating their time by visiting and sharing their respected websites.  You can visit them both at the following:

Nicole Branigan-

Kim Logan-

Just a reminder, you’ll be able to listen to and read more about this event and all others at our website on the “in our own words” tab at  Please don’t forget to drop by our book store at East Side Story just up the street at 1108 Woodland for all of your local literature needs and gifts this holiday season.  And speaking of holiday season, we have an amazing line-up for the December East Side Storytellin’ shows upcoming …

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)-

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

Who will be featured- music by the inspirational and awesome Griffin House ( and a reading by award-winning Lydia Peelle (author of Reasons for and Advanatages of Breathing –

giving WAMB a proper send-off

Tom and mE giving the WAMB headquarters a proper send-off