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





Zach Broocke, Chris Chamberlain, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Zach Broocke, Chris Chamberlain, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’.  Similar to the 36 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’re all here, right here smack dab on your laptop or mobile electronic device (welcome to the future, eh?) to provide you with some very inspirational moments of clarity in your busy lives in the form of a local 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.  This is a recap of East Side Storytellin’ 37.  Let us begin.

The first featured guest of East Side Storytellin’ 37 was probably the biggest guest that I was most envious of that I’v ever had on the show as of yet, and that’s saying a lot.  This man gets paid to go out and eat and drink some of the best food and drinks that this city, state, and country has to offer.  Seriously, this guy has a lot of self discipline because I would surely need gastric bypass surgery if I did what he does on the daily … and then he still has enough energy and vocabulary to write about his experiences too!  A University School of Nashville and Stanford graduate, he is currently  a food and drink writer for the Nashville Scene, a southern correspondent for, and a food, drink and travel writer for hire on the side (among other things spectacular).  Author of the East Side Story’s bestselling book The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat in the South Before You Die (and the Recipes That Made Them Famous), I was so excited to introduce and finally bring to the stage the one and only Chris Chamberlain.

Chris, with kindle notes in tow, was as cool as a cucumber (I guess a cucumber in the fridge, temperature-speaking) up on the microphone.  He had scribbled down some notes for a future talk in front of a bunch of ladies in Green Hills later this month, so to say he was prepared to entertain the more easy-going, laid-back, casual crowd filled with people living in various parts of East Nashville might have been quite the understatement.  Chris talked about his personal past, upbringing, school, and family business around the area, and worked in the talk about the various steps that got him to where he is today with his appreciation for good food and good writing.  Speaking in hindsight, all of the dots connected to point Chris in just the right direction to do what he enjoys most in life.  Hearing Chris speak in hindsight, it was reassuring to hear someone tell their personal tale of what they have dared to do from the bottom of their heart, not fully knowing what was next around the corner at the time they decided to leap with blind faith.  I’m just saying, the entire talk that Chris revealed to the crowd was very comforting and entertaining.  Before he made room for the musical act of the evening Chris took time to draw out some highlights of food and cooking in Nashville during the past handful of years and describe why what we are so fortunate to have in our city at the moment is something truly remarkable and not to be taken for granted one bit.  We are lucky to have so much great food and people who appreciate great food in our city right now, and we are lucky to have people like Chris Chamberlain documenting it all as we eat it too!

Next up, the featured musician of the evening originally hailed from Milwaukee WI (pronounced “Mill-e-wah-que”, meaning “the good land”, as Alice Cooper once told Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World, the movie).  Growing up with a love of music by Jim Croce, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson to name a few, it’s no surprise to me that after leaving his hometown and visiting and living in places for a sec like Boston and LA, that he returned to Nashville after a bit to make more of his own amazing music here in all of our current hometown of Music City.  You’ve probably heard several of his songs on major motion pictures without knowing it before right now (as in 2007’s underrated flick of “Feast of Love,” starring Morgan Freeman), or you might have recently heard the album “Enjoy The Ride: Solo Writes 2001-12” that was a retrospective album of this guy’s solo writing skills released by Lakeshore Records in 2012.  It’s written on his website that “his music is about all of the things we never say and wish we could have; all the times you let slip through your fingers; and being thankful for the moments where you then realize that maybe, just maybe, that’s just the way it’s supposed to go.”  Having never met in person until this night, and introduced together by mutual friend, talented local musician, and East Side Storytellin’ 13 alum in that of Don Gallardo, I was honored and beyond pumped to introduce and enjoy the sounds of Zach Broocke.

Zach was as cool as a cat (in or out of the fridge) in front of everyone.  I had listened to many of his songs prior to the show to get a good feel of what to expect, and loved everything I heard, but it is truly amazing how hearing quality music played live and from the heart can immediately make the moment, the songs themselves, and life in general radiate more than usual.  Zach’s calm, collected, and poignant playing style and voice delivery were a match that perfectly fit and helped blend the crowd, the weather on the patio with the cool breeze overhead, and everything about this particular evening just right.  He stormed through the songs, mostly because he didn’t have to wait for any other musicians to play and tell stories like his usual rounds with other singer songwriters, and he owned the night, quite honestly.  Words, notes, and stories inspired by personal experiences and some written specifically for shows on the big and small screens, respectively,  I don’t think I was alone thinking I could have sat and listened to Zach play his songs all night long.  We all sat in wonder, sharing a laugh or two at some of the funny insights in some of the songs revealed, and had ourselves a solid good time.  I don’t think we could have asked for more than that and been more happy than we all were together.

After Zach finished his songs, I had him and Chris back up front and center to talk about a few things on my mind.  I asked them about some of the stories behind deciding to pursue and do the wonderful things they do, and they obliged with clever, fun answers that both enlightened and entertained the attentive crowd.  On a personal note, it was so nice a feeling to look out into the packed crowd again to see so many fellow local writers, artists, and friends that continue to come out and experience this awesome idea called East Side Storytellin’ in person.  Back on track here, Zach and Chris seemed to enjoy themselves to the max as well.  Chris even got into the act of asking questions for Zach to learn more about the man behind the music.  All in all, yet again, I felt so great after the show because it just felt like these two featured artists were meant to share this stage, this night, and this crowd together to make something extraordinary come out of an ordinary Tuesday night.

Here is the link for the edited recording of the live event we called East Side Storytellin’ 37.  Feel free to enjoy it many times, again and again, while sharing it with one and all of your family and friends, again and again.

Before we say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Chris Chamberlain and Zach Broocke for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

**You can continue to read more from Chris Chamberlain here (aside from buying his books at East Side Story, of course) –

**You can stay updated with Zach Broocke here –

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, for the recording and sound of the night, Clay Brunton for the art print, for Kevin at 5 Points Digital Imaging ( for printing those art prints,and to my lovely wife 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.

art by Clay Brunton, printed by 5 Points Digital Imaging

art by Clay Brunton, printed by 5 Points Digital Imaging

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

But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

With author Jenny Hickman ( and music by the great Grant Terry (

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 37 show.  Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word.  Remember to be nice to one another out there.  Thanks and good night.  Much love.

one more for the road, from Zach Broocke

one more for the road, Sweet Ambrosia, from Zach Broocke




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ricko shining with his rock rant 🙂

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

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

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

You can read more about Ricko Donovan here –

You can read more about Kiernan McMullan here –

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

Art print by Clay Brunton

Art print by Clay Brunton

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

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

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

Who will be featured- author Honest Lewis (author of Parasitesand music by Adam Hill & special guests (




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!



Griffin House, Lydia Peelle, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Griffin House, Lydia Peelle, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Hello, good evening (or morning or afternoon depending on when you are reading this for the first or 100th time), and welcome to another excellent round of East Side Storytellin’.  RIGHT NOW, like the 26 great episodes before, YOU are in store to read about and listen to the magic that was made on December 3rd, 2013 at East Side Storytellin’ 27!  It was another inspiring show that included a prolific Nashville writer reading from original prose, an amazing local musician talking about and playing some original music, and then all of the featured guests and myself got to enjoy an original, candid conversation about their creative processes, journeys, and personal ties to Nashville.  Thank you for taking the time to listen.

Without skipping a beat or wasting any time here, I’d love to introduce the show by saying a few things about the featured author for this show as an appetizer for the recording.  Born in Boston, this most excellent lady hit the ground running from the first typed word at a very young age and hasn’t looked back since.  Her first published short story, “Mule Killers,”  won an O. Henry Award in 2006.  For anyone that might not know this fact, the O. Henry Award is given annually to the short stories of exceptional merit … basically the best of the best.  Not only has this writer won the O. Henry Award in 2006, she also has been awarded 2 Pushcart Prizes, been featured twice in Best New American Voices, was a finalist for the Orion Book Award, a recipient of the Whiting Award in 2010, honorable mention for the 2010 PEN/Hemingway Award, a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Virginia with her debut story collection “Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing” being a New York Times Editors’ Choice book, most importantly … she is an amazing mother of one of the cutest toddlers ever to visit East Side Story- fact.  I could go on and on and on about awards and well-deserved accolades about this amazing writer for days, but I’ll stop here and let you Google more about her writing beyond what she shared this particular evening.  Heck, you can drop by East Side Story and buy her book TODAY- that would make her and me very happy.  Oh, before I talk about this lady for days, and you by chance forgot to read the title and/or know who I am talking about before your started reading this, please know that I was extremely honored and excited to introduce the one and only Lydia Peelle.

Lydia took to the stage with a soft voice and beaming confidence.  It was a perfect reflection of her writing jumping off the page just right.  Reading from the aforementioned, award-winning book titled “Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing,” she chose to read an edited version of the fabulous short story called “Phantom Pain.”  As she read, through the mundane, everyday, picture perfectly described setting of modern day hunting and original characters, I couldn’t help myself in joining the others in the crowd of laughing at the funny parts and relating some of the folly found in the main characters in some of my own family members who choose to hunt every now and then.  I later read the entire story after that night’s reading, but you’ll be able to hear the authentic brilliance in the tone and tempo of Lydia’s story as you listen to her voice in the link below.  It was a treasure, and I’m so happy we are able to now listen to it again and again if you so choose.

And speaking of treasures, let me now allow Lydia (as she did that night) to exit stage right and introduce the featured music of the evening.   An Ohio Buckeye by birth, and a very talented golfer growing up, he put down the clubs and picked up a guitar at a pivotal moment in his young adulthood.  He wrote his first song for his high school sweetheart, played it for her, made her cry in a good way, and HE hasn’t looked back or stopped connecting with people emotionally via his music since.  After graduating college at Miami of Ohio, he moved to Nashville with friends and steadily made his mark and grew his skills and fan base at a rapid rate.  In just about no time, he signed a record deal, banged out his first cd, hit the road touring with the likes of John Mellencamp and the Cranberries.  Still on a steady rise worldwide, he has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning Show, and most relevant to this show today … his “The Guy Who Says Goodbye to You Is Out of His Mind” was the theme song behind my dream come true of having Emily Harper Beard saying yes to being my girlfriend and then later wife back in 2008.  An East Side Storytellin’ dream come true, after a ”you never know unless you ask” moment, it was yet another honor and exhilarating moment for me to introduce the likes of the talented Griffin House.

Griffin immediately jumped into his heartfelt songs, one after the other.  And one after the other, everyone was in awe.  It was aWesome!  Of course, I didn’t have the intentions of making him play my dating/wedded theme song originally.  But, as I mentioned later in the interview portion, I was glad I made a note of it in the introductions to see if he would play it for the crowd and for me to Emily in a weird Beard way because I’m not sure my wife would have let me come back in the house that night if it didn’t get played.  YES, that song, like the others, are THAT good.  They are great!

One amazing thing, on top of so many others I could list for days, about East Side Storytellin’ so far is the fact that so many creative geniuses call our Nashville home at the moment.  Not only that they live here, but also that they would even be open to taking a break from their break-neck careers and schedules to be a part of such a fun show that East Side Storytellin’ has become.  It was perfect that Griffin was in town and not busy for a night or two when this was originally scheduled, and it was beyond words thankful from me to him for him to agree to be a part of it.  That said, just go ahead and listen to the following link with the edited version of this East Side Storytellin’ so you can listen (again and again- I say this over and over because I know you will) to what you missed OR what you witnessed if you were in the packed crowd that night of December 3rd, 2013.

Here is the link that has the entire, edited East Side Storytellin’ 27 show (enjoy, LIKE, share, and listen over and over again to next year, infinity, and beyond):

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

Before I let you go and let you know about East Side Storytellin’ 28, I’d love to take a second to thank some great people that helped make this East Side Storytellin’ 27 possible.

-Please give another round of attention for the talented Lydia Peelle and Griffin House!  Google more about Lydia’s writing or click here-  You can listen to, buy merch, and plan on going to a show near you sooner than later of Griffin House by clicking here-

I’d like to thank Tom Eizonas for recording the show and making us all sound very professional, also Clay Brunton for the awesome art work for the print for this event again. Also, I want to give thanks to the staff of Mad Donna’s for allowing us to utilize their wonderful space for the show and being so nice and courteous to everyone who attends the shows.

Last but not least, all my love and thanks goes to my wife Emily for saying yes back in 2008 and every day since.

Please don’t forget to visit the origin of this show in that of East Side Story, Nashville’s only all-local bookstore located next to Art & Invention Gallery.  We have Lydia’s book and plenty of other holiday gifts all year round.

You’ll be able to listen to this show alongside the others before on our website at on the “in our own words” tab (or click HERE), and we’re not finished yet.

Our next show will be here, at Mad Donna’s at 7pm, on Tuesday, December 17th, with the words of Mark Sloniker and the music of the newly reunited after 3 years of exile … none other than the fabulous band called The Mary Nails.  It is FREE to attend, and will be the most happening holiday party this year in the entire world- FACT!

That is all for East Side Storytellin’ 27 on this post for now.  Thanks for coming, and remember to be nice to one another.  Thank YOU!

Here is some more information about East Side Storytellin’ 28 to view and share with others too:

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, December 17th, 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- words by author Mark and music for the besets holiday party this side of the universe by The Mary

One more for the road - all smiles in an creative conversation ;)

One more for the road – all smiles in an creative conversation 😉