Carson Morton

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest), Chuck Beard, Oni Woods, and Tom Eizonas

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest), Chuck Beard, Oni Woods, and Tom Eizonas

Hello, hello, hello. First of all, before writing anything about the big show, I want to just write a sincere THANKS to everyone who showed up in person to help us celebrate a most deserving and all-around amazing night together with family, friends new and old, and … yeah, THANK YOU!

I’ll also begin by saying thank you to Dave Eastman and Tom Eizonas for the wonderful words and introduction to such a monumental occasion we celebrated together. They got together and recorded a brand new, soulful funk, introduction before Dave took the stage and rang in the new year of shows like only his majestic voice and personality could. I was grateful to meet them via WAMB back in the day, and I’m still a better person today because of working side by side with them through the past 2 years and counting (side note- Beth Lane, the heart of WAMB while it was going, was in the crowd showing continued love and support for this project).

Dave Eastman, the man and legend ... the voice.

Dave Eastman, the man and legend … the voice.

Now, welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 47 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’ve all arrived at this spot, here and now, to get y’all cultured up just right 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. Without further ado, this is East Side Storytellin’ 48, the 2nd anniversary show.  Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night described herself as a multi-potentialite. An artist without just one single passion, she has many. She has studied and worked in disciplines ranging from finance to theatre, psychology to biology, education to philosophy and everything in between. She is the founder of Living Art, NFP an arts and education organization that has started the journey to opening its first art-infused wholistic education un-school. But her first voice and love was and is still her wordsmithing … her poetry. An outdoor enthusiast that loves camping, kayaking, canoeing, rappelling, and hiking, her poetry always seems to follow her wherever she is and whatever she is doing. Recently returning to Nashville from a 16 year long residency in Chicago, she was ready to read from her first book of free-verse poetry called Speed Limit 55 (which you can purchase at East Side Story) and some other fresh stuff too. I was very excited to give a very warm welcome to the stage for the homecoming of Oni Woods.

I had arrived to Mad Donna’s super early, to meet with Tom and be ready for any changes of the weather and location of the show on the premises, so I was able to see Oni practice some of her performance before the crowds arrived. It made my heart smile, not only to see someone so talented practicing as if it was her first public speaking engagement, but also because it was just nice to see someone want to get everything just right. Anyways, I have to ramble on for a second to set the scene beyond just the artists of the night. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the show at the beginning of November. It was honestly about 15 degrees warmer than the previous show in October and one of the most comfortable set ups we’ve had outdoors in quite some time.

Oni Woods

Oni Woods

Back to Oni, she totally rocked it. Every single one of the seats was jam-packed in the patio, and everyone one, sitting and standing and crammed together because they wanted to be present, was ever-so present and mesmerized to every powerful word that Oni delivered. She was better than awesome. Each poem had its own backstory and left everyone amazed and thinking about life below the surface. She was introspective of her own personal journey, but yet she took us to another place altogether. As usual, I can’t give her quite the justice that her or the musician’s work deserves (see the recording below to listen for yourself).

Oni did a few long poems and a few short poems but all of them were spot on.

Before I knew it, more than 50 plus people were surrounding us and cheering for Oni’s performance and the musician’s performance to come.

The featured music of the night was from a man that helms a band that I first saw at the Lockeland Springsteen’s Holiday Party last December at The 5 Spot. Marissa and Emily invited me to sell local books that had musical ties to them, and I was able to sit back and take all of the festivities in with new friends galore. All of the bands were great, but this guy’s was transcendent. Missing each other with schedules other events ongoing for close to a year now, this particular night I was both excited and honored to finally have him join the East Side Storytellin’ family. He was recently featured as local artist of the week by Lightning 100, on top of being part of the epic Blocktober Fest 2014 at Marathon Music Works line-up. Originally hailing from Wisconsin, this young man takes everything that he’s found to be mostly true about himself and how he’s been raised and transforms that into something beautiful that rings softly for others to catch onto and discover more truth about themselves. Like Oni, he is an artist without boundaries, always searching for truth and beauty and sharing every aspect of his journey creatively along the way. It has been said that Boom Forest is the spiritual wailings of John Paul Roney from the automated woods of Tomorrow. Again, 50 plus people joined me in giving a big round of applause for the one and only John Paul Roney of Boom Forest!

John Paul grabbed his guitar and the microphone and was immediately in his zone. He made everyone laugh with his storytellings in between songs and he swept us all away down the river of his melodies and vocals time after time. I had the same sense of wonder from his music as I had at The 5 Spot the year before, but I was even happier this round to have some family and friends in the crowd to witness and experience the music that makes up Boom Forest at the same time (mostly for them to experience first hand instead of hearing me rant about it over and over again later).

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest)

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest)

John Paul put his heart and soul and foot stomping into the performance and everyone appreciated all that he gave. I was able to share the stage with him and Oni after the music stopped so that I could ask them some questions about their creative worlds. They were just as awesome talking as they were performing. I loved how the themes from their art, whether it was Oni talking about the “gentrification” poem or how segregation affected her art and life in general in Chicago and the kids she worked with in Louder than a Bomb OR if it was John Paul talking about going into a self-imposed reclusion from technology back to the life of what the world was like in 1968 (a golden age for his musical hero Paul McCartney) and seeing how that affected his current year and art-making world around him (side note, LOVED the new hashtag of #Wisconsin:GettingWeirdInTheBasement). These two, like the fact that we were celebrating 2 years of shows, were simply fascinating.

After I mentioned that I’d like to see what John Paul would come up with if he went back to 1980 for his next concept creative retreat (the year I was born and Sir Paul was rockin’ the mullet with Wings), and after I asked about his creative process behind the “Baby Teeth” music video (one of my favorites) and he said he would have played it if he had known that it was one of my favorites, I managed to get the crowd to clap loud enough to help request that John Paul play the aforementioned “Baby Teeth”= a memorable change from the normal script/template of the show. He agreed to the special encore of sorts on the spot. This was no normal show.

words on words on smiles

words on words on smiles

When the music finally stopped for the night, everyone stuck around to show thanks for the artists and let the show sink into their souls. I don’t think I saw anyone leave without a smile. For me, that more than made my night. This show was yet another sign that what we are doing with this idea is very important and more than just about East Side Story’s mission to help others tell their best story here and now.

I promise not to ramble too long here. I’ll just let you experience the show in its edited form here. So, listen to this link, over and over and as many times as your heart and soul can take it, and then listen to it again. Share it with others and they will thank you for it. You will be better for it. Without further ado, here is East Side Storytellin’ 48 with Oni Woods and Boom Forest’s John Paul Roney.

art by Alex Smith and Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging

art by Alex Smith and Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Oni Woods and Boom Forest’s John Paul Roney for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more from Oni Woods here –

You can listen to more from Boom Forest here –

I’d also like to show much love to Alex Smith and Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork for the prints made by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging ( to celebrate tonight’s show.

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, Otis James for my wicked cool hat, 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.

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’ 49 event will be …



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 Alecia Whitaker ( and music by Alissa Moreno (

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 48 show, two years of epic shows in the bag.  Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word.  Remember to be nice to one another out there.  Thanks and good day your way.

Much love,


PS- Tom Eizonas & Dave Eastman, as another surprise gift to mE (Chuck Beard), put together this very special compilation of one song from each show from the 2nd year of East Side Storytellin’. Now I give it to you to enjoy and share and spread the word about every show in the past and future.


Mom, Dad, Alan, Emily, mE, and the one and only Judge Matthew J. Baker, Esquire

Mom, Dad, Alan Minyard, Emily, mE, and the one and only Judge Matthew J. Baker, Esquire



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!