Christmas

Anna Harris, Joe B. Ingle, India Ramey, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 121st epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 120, I repeat … 120, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 121. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a United Church of Christ minister, reverend actually, respected author and public speaker. He is a leading voice in faith-based opposition to the death penalty. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary, has been the chaplain to dozens of people on death row over the past 40 years across the South (which is quite impressive since he is only 41 years old). It’s almost like he was born to do this. I first met him at East Side Story, where he allowed me the opportunity to promote and sell one of his books titled “Slouching Toward Tyranny: Mass Incarcerations, Death Sentences, and Racism.” As you can imagine, it is not a very light read, but I believe it is something everyone should check out. It was always an honor to talk book shop and life in general with this guy, and I knew this special night wasn’t going to be any different for everyone present. I’m talking about the man, the legend, Reverend Joe B. Ingle!

Joe took to the stage with his calm confidence, and prefaced his reading by telling everyone in the crowd about the various published books he had written on the table laid out in front of the podium so others could get a good idea about his work if they didn’t know about it already. Joe is very humble about his work and activism, but don’t think for one second that that makes him shy about sharing his mission and purpose within the cause. Instead of dabbling in each of his poignant non-fictional books about the prison system and examples of the wrongfulness of the death sentence in general, Joe took this opportunity and his time to share with us a new project that is autobiographical throughout. As mentioned in the title line to this blog, this work has been titled “Beauty & Madness: Growing Up Southern.” I, and others in the crowd, was instantly hooked from the start.

With a Shakespearian aspect of material and delivery, Joe jumped right into his intro and the first chapter of his youth. Set in the winter of 1954, about 30 miles outside of the Research Triangle of North Carolina, Joe threw us in the middle of a very personal basketball game and halftime show that involved his sister and his father predominantly. We didn’t find out the final score of the game or how his sister Kaye running on the court during play in the first half affected Joe’s play in the second. Instead, we were privy to a gut-wrenching account of a childhood and family trauma that few have experienced and that I can only imagine. I’m talking about the race to save a father who was in pain and in need of emergency help. I’m talking about the death of a patriarch in one night but also told and experienced in a childhood haze of slow motion trauma.

One, meaning I, had to wonder if this experience with death, up close and very personal, had an astounding affect on Joe to later pursue a passion of helping relieve others facing man-made death sentences in horrid prison conditions. I can only think that it didn’t hurt that inclination. That said, Joe was the utmost professional as he read from something so honest and personal that a lesser person would have been sobbing and ripping the pages out during the reading. Let’s just say, I’m not sure that I could’ve had the strength to share that with anyone had it been me at this moment, no matter how long ago it took place. I value Joe’s friendship and courage to live the story and mission that has been delivered on his plate. We are all better for having listened to Joe, that’s for sure.

Our featured music of the night is fresh off of firing on all cylinders with her magical third album and national debut, “Snake Handler.” She is the perfect combination of Americana noire and southern-gothic songwriting, with a twist of something awesome that hasn’t been labeled yet. Fitting for the post-reading tonight, her album is filled with stories of Pentecostal churches, broken households, crooked family trees, forgotten pockets of the Deep South, and domestic violence. But don’t you worry, nobody is going to get hurt by listening to her music, even if it self-proclaimed metal music that comes out country (t-shirt idea in the making). Before coming to Nashville, this lady worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Montgomery, Alabama. Recently acknowledged for her latest record by Rolling Stone as someone to know, and being accompanied by her talented friends Anna Harris and Javi Jones (East Side Storytellin’ alumni in their own right), I was more than honored and excited to welcome the always amazing India Ramey to the show family.

India is another one of those dynamite storytellers and entertainers who will sneak up on stage without trying to grab your attention and then explode your world with awesome once she starts singing and sharing her talents on a live mic (she could probably still explode your world singing unplugged too). She opened her set with the her recent title track of “Snake Handler”, prefacing the song by stating it is a literal and figurative tale of everyone dealing with the snakes in their head too. It was about facing arrogance and ignorance  while not showing any weaknesses on your journey. Playing a solid 6 chords with fierce strokes that could break any of the guitar strings at any moment and gifting us all with a voice and words that derive from somewhere inside her soul that is deeper than most will go and when it does reach you, it echoes into your own face like it’s been shot out of a cavern or cannon and crashes into your reality over and over again like waves when the tide rolls in on the shore (had to get one Roll Tide! comment for the Alabama shout out, but it’s all true).

Starting with the story about handling snakes, she then followed suit with our mutual ESS’ alumnus friend and magical storyteller Rayvon Pettis by sharing a song written about the TVA outside of Alabama and Georgia combined territory. An absolute beautifully haunting tale about the living and the dead drifting away and the relationship and respect the living have for those used and/or forgotten and misplaced in transition with a song titled “Drown Town”. You’ll hear it in the recording below, but the sheer amount of layers and personal histories packed into every one of India’s songs is both breathtaking and inspiring to anyone trying to convey meaningful material in any medium these days. You know when you can package surface with substance that is both equally wonderful and moving, that is a sure fire recipe for quality art. I know I’m starting to sound like India’s publicist, but I’m honestly just a fan and friend. She is that good. Besides, she doesn’t need a publicist, when she’s that good. Instead of tooting her own horn in between songs, she actually surprised me and everyone in the crowd and in the band when she asked Anna to step out of the backing light to lead the set with a song of her own called “Rapture City” … a song that had never seen the light of day or had been performed in public to that point in time. Like India’s songs, Anna didn’t hesitate to blow us all away with the tone and importance of every single word, melody, and message she wanted to convey in her short time there. Again, you can listen to it below, and see how shocked and surprised she was before she threw that to the side and rocked us all in this picture.

Before and after Anna did her thing, India claimed her thrown of a shining star that Nashville needs here and now by sharing two songs. One was her antithesis to Bro-Country and how those big phonies really don’t know what it’s like to find joy in small towns because they’ve never really lived in small towns and were poor (like most of their listeners who chug beer from solo cups to escape realities). It gave me the feeling of say a rapper trying to sound harder than they really know because of just trying to sell records (think comparing Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line to that of Rick Ross and you’ll see what I’m saying). Anyways, it was terrific. India and the gang finished the set with a song about a family redemption story about saying goodbye to her not so great father before his death. Again, not planning or curating any of the material from India or Joe, this is as serendipitous as life can get without misusing that term. And, again with India, she knocked it out of the park while taking one last walk off victory lap around the bases for the night. Take a listen to it all below, and let me know what you think for yourself. Prepare to be amazed.

And like every show I put together, I was able to get both Joe and India back on stage together to share some more personal stories, answers, and what ended up being shared praise for their own newfound friendship and respect for each other’s personal journey. India spoke about how important her husband letting the family uplift everything they had been working on for a decade and moving to Nashville to start a new path and friendships changed everything. Then Joe told his wife and India’s husband to stand up to be recognized for the solid teamwork for making every dream work to date for the featured artists.

Neither of these artists displaying an ego to write home about, these two artists join the ranks of people who are doing very important things for others to find their own purpose and happiness in this life, all the while doing everything they can to not waste any time or energy they can share with others while also making the most of their lives as well. It was a natural back and forth of meaningful and very relatable answers that everyone in the crowd could follow along and learn from with ease. I was merely tossing the ball on the court and letting these two professionals enjoy hitting it back and forth like a fun tennis match where nobody was counting score and there was nothing more than love. Like the majority of these show pairings, I should add that I totally could see these two doing more together in the near future, be it helping to add volume and unity with protests against a corrupt prison system and laws, or just helping others find their way back on their right paths. Point being, it was an honor to share the stage and a very special evening with these too kindred and fearless and altruistic souls. It’s very easy to smile and feel hope for humanity when around this crew.

So here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 121 the night when Joe Ingle and India Ramey (alongside Anna Harris and Javi Jones) allowed us to explore the wonder and awe and redemption of every Southern tragedy. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, December 19, 2017. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

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

You can listen to more of India’s music here – http://indiaramey.com

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words



I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large.

Our next show will be
East Side Storytellin’ 122
Tuesday, January 2nd
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Christopher Pilny
singing- Abbey Moss

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 121 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,
mE

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Jamina Jackson, Kaaren Engel, Chuck Beard, Mark Sloniker, Supe Granda, and Tom Eizonas

Jamina Jackson, Kaaren Engel, Chuck Beard, Mark Sloniker, Supe Granda, and Tom Eizonas

Whether this is your first visit to our website or you are familiar with everything that East Side Story, Nashville’s only all-local bookstore, has to offer, we want to take a second to welcome you to East Side Storytellin’ for a very special occasion. We were beyond honored and thrilled to be asked by the fine people over at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum and Art to put together a Children-themed show that would be featured within their Cheekwood in Bloom series. So like previous East Side Storytellin’ shows we at East Side Story have curated thus far (82 and counting), 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. Unlike the previous East Side Storytellin’ shows, we doubled the amount of local authors for this special occasion and added one of the coolest musicians around town all for the entertainment of young minds. So, without further ado, this is the recap and recording of a very special Cheekwood edition of East Side Storytellin’. Let us begin, again.

On Saturday, April 16th, 2016, I convened with my usual sound and recording guru in Tom Eizonas to help set up what would become one of the most fun run of shows we’ve done together to date. Actually, it was the first time we had focused on a show for children and it was the first time we had ever planned on doing two shows in one day. Cheekwood reserved the perfect location for everything we wanted to make happen come together. The weather was perfect, we had blankets and seats and water and shade and sunshine. The featured guests arrived early to set up their props, and the Frist Learning Center & Contemporary Art Galleries setting and staff couldn’t have been better for all involved. It was a smashing success from the start, even before the kids of all ages arrived on the scene.

The theme of the show was Cheekwood in Bloom: Drop Everything and Read! So we did just that. I’ll go ahead and introduce the featured guests before I reveal how the shows transpired and gift you the recording below of one of the two shows.

Now, following our manners and introducing the ladies first, the first of the featured artists was actually two Nashville artists. I’m talking about Jamina Jackson and Kaaren Engel. Jamina not only writes cool stories, she also loves yoga, music, singing, dancing, and drumming. She’s worked with massage therapy, bodywork, labor and birth support, photography, cooking, and floral design, but what she loves most is connecting people. Kaaren is an artist who knows no limit with her art too. She makes paintings and sculptures with a variety of media and found objects, and she often puts words into her paintings too. Like Jamina, Kaaren is a student of yoga. Together, Jamina and Kaaren wrote and painted the story and book called Herman’s Journey.

The second featured artist of the day is not only an amazing author, he is also one of the most talented Nashville visual artists and nicest humans you’ll ever meet. He often spends a majority of his work week building sophisticated puppets and managing fantastical projects for major theme parks and ideas around the world at a company in town called Animax Designs. When he’s not working on those creations, he’s constantly creating stories and images and worlds of his own. He has self-published two beautiful books: At Home in Your Heart and Search for the Sugar Puff Hollow. I’m talking about the tremendously talented Mark Sloniker. Note to this show, Mark had been the featured author for East Side Storytellin’ 28. You can read the review and listen to that show here – http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-28-where-mark-sloniker-and-the-mary-nails-made-magic-and-christmas-miracles-happen.

Last but certainly not least, the featured music of the day was provided by one of the wildest and coolest guys you’ll meet in Nashville. He plays a lot of different instruments and has been living in Nashville for over 25 years. For the past 45 years, he’s been a founding member of one of the biggest rock bands your parents and grandparents love called the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Since that first big band, he’s done other side solo projects like Supe & the Sandwiches, Supe & the Sheetrockers, and The Garbonzos. For the past 11 years, he’s been a grandpa to his five grandchildren. He came prepared to Cheekwood with music to rock the kids’ socks and sandals off with his new band name of Silly Grandpa. Another special note to the show, Supe had been a featured author for his book It Shined: the Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, on East Side Storytellin’ 56. You can read the review and listen to that show here – http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-56-the-night-joseph-lemay-left-his-barn-for-the-city-and-served-up-a-perfect-show-with-a-side-of-nashvilles-own-supe-du-jour.

So now that I’ve introduced you to the Nashville players involved, the only thing left to talk about is how the shows went down and who all came out to enjoy them. The generous staff at Cheekwood allowed us to perform two shows with everyone involved, one at 11am and another at 1pm. Our shows typically run an hour so this was helpful for parents to plan accordingly to their kids’ nap and food schedules. The only job we had to do once everything was set up and good-to-go was to make sure everyone had fun while we brought together books and music through storytelling.

To preface the shows, each featured artist came prepared with their own bells and whistles for the day. Jamina and Kaaren had a wonderful spread of blankets for the crowd to sit closer to the action, a decorative box filled with shaker instruments that served as toys as well as instruments for the kids to join in the overall excitement of the story, and also enlarged prints of their book to display for everyone to see the wonderful artwork and follow along in time as the story was being read. Mark brought a briefcase containing a plethora of the fantastical characters that he had made and photographed for the final version of his book, Search for the Sugar Puff Hollow. Supe arrived in full Silly Grandpa attire and played a handful of instruments to bring his songs and the overall excitement of the crowd to life. To say that all of these artists were excited and prepared to put on a great series of shows would be an understatement.

We began the first show promptly because that’s what we always do and because there was a packed crowd of toddlers and babies ready for story time. I planned the set to start off with Jamina and Kaaren and then follow up with Mark before finishing with the music of Silly Grandpa. The sun was shining brightly on the stage and the crowd, but that didn’t deter them from smiling and laughing alongside the story of Herman’s Journey. Kids were asking questions in between the reading and everyone appeared captivated by the colors and artwork behind both Jamina and Kaaren and Mark’s books. It was an extra special occasion because it was one of the first times Mark had ever read his book in front of a large group of kids. After we took a short break to transition between the readings and the music, Supe took us home with a handful of songs that combined interactive questions with the crowd in the lyrics as well as fun animal chants that featured noises you may hear on a farm. Before we knew it, it was time for a lunch break and brainstorm for the afternoon matinee.

For the second show, I decided to change things up a bit. Because each artist found their own particular comfort zone and groove with their presentations, I opted for asking Supe to deliver a few songs sporadically throughout the show instead of being isolated at the end. I would have him play two songs to kick things off and grab the attention of the kids, then have Mark tell his story at full effect. Supe would play another two songs while Mark broke down his set-up and Kaaren and Jamina arranged everything they had into their beautiful display, and then Supe would take us all home with a final song and dance after Herman had gone on his journey.

All of the artists were game for the new arrangement on the fly and it worked like a charm. Something that also made the second show feel more natural for the overall setting was that it was a crowd filled with older kids who were more interactive and offered more positive energy as they ang and danced along with the music throughout. For a brief moment in time outside of Cheekwood’s Frist Learning Center & Contemporary Art Galleries the smiles and positivity surrounding the courtyard overflowed from the cobblestones into the gardens.

Here is the edited recording of our very special Cheekwood in Bloom edition of East Side Storytellin’ that took place on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 and featured Jamina Jackson, Kaaren Engel, Mark Sloniker, and Supe Granda as Silly Grandpa.

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Jamina and Kaaren and Mark and Supe Granda (Silly Grandpa) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Mark’s art here- www.markslonikerimaginarium.com

You can read about Jamina and Kaaren’s Herman’s Journey here- www.hermansjourney.com

You can listen to more of Supe Granda and Silly Grandpa music here – www.supeline.com and www.facebook.com/sillygrandpa

You can check out everything else you need to know about Cheekwood here- www.cheekwood.org

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas and all of the kids, young and old, who came out here to support the show in person and online.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to everyone here at Cheekwood Botannical Garden for their hospitality and everything the do for this community all year round.

That said- that’s all for the Cheekwood in Bloom edition of East Side Storytellin’ . Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Don’t forget to drop by East Side Story, located in the heart of 5 Points in East Nashville, and also the other various events and programs that we put together all year round. Also, please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

Chuck Beard

www.eastsidestorytn.com

**Here are a few pictures of my number one assistant:

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Tom Eizonas, Austin Manuel, Chuck Beard, and Kathleen Cosgrove

Tom Eizonas, Austin Manuel, Chuck Beard, and Kathleen Cosgrove

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration and the 2015 grand finale between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 73rd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 72 previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy holiday 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 recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 73. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night is a writer currently living on the outskirts of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. She has said that rubbing shoulders with some of the most creative and talented people on Earth while in Music City has nourished and helped her growth as a writer more than she could’ve ever imagined. Her style is filled with wit and humor along with snappy dialogue and offbeat characters. She can be found on-stage in venues in and around Nashville reading her always funny and sometimes touching memoirs, as evident in her recent featured spots in the Nashville Scene’s Vodka Yonic, That Time of the Month’s second anthology compiled by East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Melanie Vare, and also in the last show of That Time of the Month this past month at their new Zanie’s quarterly location. I’m bias speaking about this ESS’ occasion but this lady was my favorite storyteller of that 1st TTOTM event at Zanie’s. She’s also collaborated with the good folks at Blackstone Brewing Company with her involvement with the Nashville Noir crowd and the Nashville Adult Literacy Council and the new storytelling series Life Out Loud, but tonight we are lucky to have her here sharing her fun stories to close out the holiday season in style. Ladies and Gentlemen, author of the two books Engulfed and Entangled (both of which you can purchase at East Side Story and, I’ll add, both have some of the best cover art images around), it was an honor for me to introduce and give a spotlight to the woman of the hour in Kathleen Cosgrove.

photo & positive energy by Chance Chambers

photo & positive energy by Chance Chambers

Kathleen was dressed very nicely for the night and was ready to take the stage by storm. She had skipped out on reading from either of her published books or the TTOTM anthology and decided to read something new for the captivated audience on hand. Not only did Kathleen bring something fresh to read, but she was ready to use all of her voice skills as well while bringing her characters to life. It has been 72 shows in the making for me on this note because no other featured author on East Side Storytellin’ had provided such a plethora of different voices to punctuate and articulate distinctive and unforgettable characters like Kathleen did since the very first East Side Storytellin’ with author Ann Shayne reading from Bowling Avenue.

To say that Kathleen was a treat would be the understatement of the year. Kathleen’s story, Sam Heart and The Case of the Pinned Up Kickers, was a most interesting period piece set in the 1940’s and in Nashville and the Grand Ol’ Opry. There was a main detective trying to solve a crime that was no typical crime. He was surrounded by ghosts who were coming forth to help solve the mysteries that took them down in the first place. It was a lot to take in but it was a lot of good characters, great lines, and even better vocabulary and voice inflections brought to the table by Kathleen. It was totally original but it had fun hints, at least for me, of Dragnet, Dick Tracy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Beetlejuice. You’ll just have to take my word for it again on the above and listen to Kathleen read her story on the recording link below to get the full picture of what I’m trying to relay. All in all, it was an absolute hoot of a story and time on a Tuesday night in December. Thank you, as always, Kathleen!

Kathleen was so excited that Austin showed up so she could stick to the reading instead of singing

The featured musician of the night is a Tennessee native, born and raised between Nashville and Greenbrier, TN. His birth location has influenced him tremendously while he has spent much of his life exploring the duality of country and city, and the two run deep in him and are scrupulously reflected in the music he creates. Hypnotic and ethereal but still fixed in its earnest engagement of traditional country themes, this man’s upcoming record Up the Ridge is a sincere exploration of family and place in the style that he aptly terms dream country– having nothing to do with bro- or pop- country so don’t you worry or think you are in the wrong place to enjoy this show and this man’s music to the fullest. Another near and dear friend of East Side Storytellin’ alumnus and favorite Erin Rae, it was so good to let in another friend of a friend into the East Side Storytellin’ fold who is so talented at what they do as much as our special musician guest of the night … Austin Manuel.

photo & positive energy by Chance Chambers

photo & positive energy by Chance Chambers

Austin was fresh off of playing a grand holiday show around a handful of friends new and old the night before this particular show but he was still feeling the Christmas love from his sweater to another room filled with compassion and good vibes. He grabbed a water and a beer from a friend in the crowd and put them aside to grab his acoustic guitar and sound box and set sail in a new territory of sound for him to try and experiment. I was kinda bummed that he didn’t play the Casiotone MT-40 that he pulled out of his backpack and sat on the couch during sound check, but we can’t have it all, right? He was ready to rock the intimate coffee shop like he never thought possible before (Side note, for personal reasons that I told to Austin, the Casio keyboard hit close to my creative home for a project I’m currently working on in which I added such an instrument into the mix just this past week = yet another serendipitous sign for our East Side Storytellin’ pairing of the night, but that is another story altogether. I digress.).

73 casio

Austin’s lyrics and sounds were very personal and ethereal and included such instant classic lines as “life like a kite” and “I just want you to love me” and “I can see me needing her” that hit right to my head and my heart. The way he combined and repeated lines and certain chords not only matched the mood he was trying to create but it also made everything more heartfelt than I’d experienced in quite some time. Sure, it didn’t hurt when he mentioned that several of his songs were inspired by his grandparents’ relationship with each other and dementia and life and death and then he came out swinging with a song that was inspired by his grandmother’s pumpkin pie and her changing up the ingredients on accident close to her passing. Not only was that the only song I’ve ever heard about pumpkin pie, but it was immediately my all-time favorite song inspired by a family dessert and that says a lot from this music-loving sweet teeth amigo typing this down. I’m serious, you have no idea how much I love sweets and this particular song until you listen to it below. Like everything Austin played, it was so so good and you’ll want more servings just when you think your plate is full.

Austin finished his set with two more songs that he said would appear on his upcoming album to be released in the spring of 2016. Both were close to home for him and hit close to home for all of us in the room. Just as the reverb went out on his sound box hooked up to his guitar, the sound was stripped down and allowed Austin to emphasize his songs about family love. He ended with “Love will last forever” but not before he laid down the lines about “between two heart love will find a way.” If you need any help getting into the perfect mood of appreciating your family, young and old, at this time before the holidays are upon us, look no further than Austin’s music and stories to get you just right. You can get a taste of the recordings below, but I encourage you to look on his website and/or contact him to buy the two CD’s that he had on site at the show and has more to sell you when you ask. For reference, the titles of each are Through the Night and then Love That’ll Last Forever. You welcome.

I was so thankful to have each of the guests stick around and talk about their creativity and journeys to Nashville, as I do for every show. There’s not much more I can say that we didn’t talk about in the recording below so I’ll just share that with you so you can get it all from the artists’ who shared it with me in the first place. Before I post that very link, I want to say thank you to both Kathleen and Austin and the family and friends they brought to the show because it was one for the ages. There was an overwhelming sense of honesty, openness, family, personal creativity, and love that I felt covered The Post and all who were there to witness this evening to close out this very special year even if nobody originally was trying to make that happen before we got started. Point being, I felt very thankful and engulfed (play on words?) by the holiday spirit despite the fact that the recent weather outside tries to make me feel otherwise. Thank you, Austin and Kathleen (and all who came out to support the show in person and online = I cannot say this enough)!

photo & positive energy by Tony Wetherington

photo & positive energy by Tony Wetherington

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 73 with the talented Kathleen Cosgrove and Austin Manuel leading us into the light at The Post on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015. Enjoy and feel free to share this link and overall blog recap with all of your family and friends. It may not be the biggest wrapped present under the tree this season for them, but it is quite the gift nonetheless.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-73
Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give one more big round of thanks for Kathleen Cosgrove and Austin Manuel for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Kathleen’s writing here- www.katcoz.com
You can listen to more of Austin’s music here- www.austinmanuel.com

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

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

artwork by Clay Brunton

artwork by Clay Brunton

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 74

Tuesday, January 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street)

at 7pm

reading- RashadThaPoet (www.rashadthapoet.com)

singing- Eric Dozier (www.ericdozier.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 73 and the best year ever of 2015 until the next and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas.

Please remember to be nice to one another out there.
much love,

mE

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Chuck Beard, Fecto Johnson, Brandon Alexander Holt, Aspene Taylor, Nancy Vienneau, Chloe Katerndahl, Nate Foley, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Fecto Johnson, Brandon Alexander Holt, Aspene Taylor, Nancy Vienneau, Chloe Katerndahl, Nate Foley, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Before we get started on one of the wildest, loudest, and most amazing shows to date, I first want to let you know what happened pre-show this round.

Two shows ago, when we featured the very talented Nadia Bruce Rawlings, I was introduced to the talented poet and Kentucky Colonel Jonathan Finn Formica (better known everywhere as simply Finn). He mentioned after that show that he was going to be filmed alongside the world-renowned food writer, TV personality, chef, and teacher Andrew Zimmern as he films his next great television show. Talk about a wonderful, BIZZARE way to spend a lovely September Tuesday night in Nashville, right? And talk about perfect timing too since I had already scheduled one of the best food journalists in area to be the featured author for this particular date before knowing about Andrew coming to town. Sometimes everything works out like Baby Bear soup. Oh, to preface the TV deal, the premise of the show that we were told would be that Finn would take Andrew all around Nashville in his cab and show him the real people, entertainment, and food beyond the typical stereotypes of Lower Broadway and other places every other television show and their mom always films. I agreed to let Finn crash our previously planned East Side Storytellin’ show below so he could get some film of him reading his original poetry in front of a great crowd. That is where we left it.

Finn reading to a packed house with Andrew Zimmern in the middle of it all

Finn reading to a packed house with Andrew Zimmern in the middle of it all

Not really planning as much as usual because I was only in charge of one production team (ours), besides giving the featured guests and the owners of The Post a heads up that this TV spot was a good possibility, we went with the flow of the day. The flow of Tuesday, September 15th ended up meaning that an entire productive, excited, and extremely nice film crew crashed our site at 7pm, just in time for the regular audience attending the show to gladly sign waivers and sit with Andrew to witness Finn do his thing for us. We didn’t record the reading, but it was something fierce, stylish, and special (basically everything Finn is all of the time). It was an all-around perfect addition to a crazy night, and the schedule worked out perfectly because some of the band was caught in traffic so sound check was serendipitously delayed for us to get everything in just right. All that said, you can see from the picture below that Andrew enjoyed the readings, the music, The Post, and East Side Storytellin’ to the fullest. I’m already looking forward to seeing how the TV show turns out later this year (we’ll keep you posted when we know it will air … it will be the premiere episode!) and also what Andrew thinks about the Based On: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville that I was lucky enough to give him a copy of  before he left.

The East Side Storytellin' 67 entourage

The East Side Storytellin’ 67 entourage

Now, back to the normal programming that you expected before I dropped that delightful bomb above…

Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap of the 67th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 66 previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 67. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was a self-trained chef and retired and recovering caterer with 25 years experience. With a background in the fine arts, she ran her own full-service catering company called A Matter of Taste for over 16years, working for and alongside individuals, corporations, universities, non-profits, and the entertainment industry. She cooks and teaches others at Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Arts Center and at Magdalene House through Green Fork Academy. She also serves on the board of Walk Bike Nashville (not to be confused with another favorite Walk Eat Nashville – who happened to be in the crowd for the show = thanks for coming out Karen!). A member of the Community Food Advocates and Les Dames D’Escoffier International (say that 3 times fast), she is here tonight because she is an excellent food writer. She has contributed articles for several magazines, consistently reviewed Nashville restaurants in a weekly column for The Tennessean, and also has dabbled in poetry and prose to Alimentum (the Literature of Food). This particular night, she was ready to share with everyone excerpts from her first cookbook titled Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, which you can purchase at East Side Story. It was truly an honor to showcase the Third Tuesday community celebratory leader in that of Nancy Vienneau (pronounced V-N-O just so you know)!

Nancy took to the stage with a beautiful outfit and a plate full of home-made cookies for all to take in during her reading. She began with a very cool excerpt related to a special tomato inspired dish since we were still in East Nashville and that is our patron vegetable/fruit. She then went on to talk about figs and another dish that reminded me totally of Christmas (soon approaching and will be here before we know it as usual). Actually, speaking of Christmas, Nancy personally reminded me (not sure if it was her voice or appearance or manners or all of the above) of the mom in the movie The Christmas Story. Everything about Nancy’s reading made me and others present extremely hungry and happy about the great food and sense of community she was talking about that she practices daily with her family and friends. I honestly can’t wait to try the community potluck and the recipes in her book as soon as I have some free time to do so. You should plan on the same.

(*random special note = I want to give a particularly huge shout out to Nancy for being so flexible with all of the unexpected scheduling of the night. Not every artist would have been so patient and smiling through the entire night. The same can be said for Kat Milk Blu too, by the way)

The featured music of the night came from a band of talented folks that have joined forces and are making a big name for themselves (as evident from Andrew’s tweet and the way the entire TV production crew when gaga about them – we all went gaga over them). When LA woman Chloe Kat came to town a few years back, she never imagined playing a fateful show at The End where she shared the bill with Bam Bam, Isaiah, Aspene and Nate Foley and their band called Studio Blu and then being moved to tears by their performance of Funkadelic’s trance-inducing song called Maggot Brain. Wiping away the tears, Kat and the boys vibed so well backstage, sharing similar musical tastes, dedication, dreams, and opinions of humanity that they decided to jam together and have been blending sounds every since. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not sure if you’re ever really ready for your mind, body, and soul to be blown away, but all of that will most certainly happen when you are introduced to the musical stylings of Kat Milk Blu!

Without any words or thoughts about introducing themselves after I introduced them, Kat Milk Blu dove right into their music and literally changed everyone’s worlds forever in an instant. Downtown could have the Americana Music Festival and a million other shows going down around Nashville all week long. I’ll go ahead and say that I instantly knew from the first measure of the first song that I was witnessing the absolute finest live music show in the land and that I’ve experienced in a very long time and I wasn’t alone in thinking that way either.
67 kat milk close

Chloe Kat is a bonafide star and director of grandiose poems that fit the accompanying music like rain exploding from a stormy cloud onto land that has been in a drought for some time (possibly a reference to Nashville’s overblown pop country scene and how the actual residents here deserve more attention that just that for the masses). The rest of the band, man, I really can’t say enough about them. They reminded me of The Funk Brothers, the band who made all of the hits for Motown and more … but they were even more fresh and relevant. I mentioned it after the show to them, but they sounded so tight, moving in and out and over and under grooves seamlessly and perfectly without even looking at one another as if they have been playing together for 20 plus years. These guys mix rock, gospel, soul, funk, and pretty much every other genre of music together into a beautiful blend of something magical to hear. You can tell from my words above that I am now one of their biggest fans, but, again, I’m not alone.

Then, because Kat Milk Blu had another gig across town after our show (because they are that in demand and deservingly so), I had the band and Nancy up on stage to share one microphone and discuss a little bit of how they each arrived in Nashville, how we all arrived together, and also how we all continue to do what we love to do. It was a comfortable, extraordinary thing to be a part of with such amazingly talented artists and good-hearted people all in one. I can’t say thank you enough to these people.

Aspene sported the all-blue lit shoes on the song Tru Blu!

Aspene sported the all-blue lit shoes on the song Tru Blu!

So with that said, I’ll just let you listen to a show that will most likely change your life for the better (not that it was bad before reading and listening to this though). Here is the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 67 that featured Nancy Vienneau and Kat Milk Blu (with a side of Finn and Andrew Zimmern too). Enjoy and share with your friends and family and yourself, over and over until we break the internet.

I want these for Christmas!

I want these for Christmas!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Nancy Vienneau and Kat Milk Blu for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Nancy’s writing here-  nancyvienneau.com

You can listen to more of Kat Milk Blu’s music here-  facebook.com/katmilkblu

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, my lovely wife and most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

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

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a big thanks to Finn and Andrew Zimmern and all of his wonderful production team who took time out of their busy taping and travels around town to drop by and witness something we do on the regular that we know everyone who participates and attends appreciates more than words. Continued success to you both!

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’ 68

Tuesday, October 6th

At The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Christine Hall (facebook.com/ChristineHallisapoet)

singing- Aaron Lee Tasjan (aaronleetasjan.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 67 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

mE

One for the road, a bit blurry but with my better half by my side

One for the road, a bit blurry but with my better half by my side

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Sara Harvey, Bill Davis, Melanie Davis, Johnny Lee Park, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Sara Harvey, Bill Davis, Melanie Davis, Johnny Lee Park, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’. Similar to the 46 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’ve all arrived at this spot, here and now, to get 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. Similar to our 2nd show in October of last year with Betsy Phillips and Old Hazelwood, this is another East Side Storytellin’ Halloweenish edition show. Keep all knives at bay and don’t look right you just yet, we’re moving forward with a spooky awesome recap and recording of an otherworldly evening of music and stories like none other in town or around this month. Without further ado, this is East Side Storytellin’ 47.  Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of this fantastical evening is an accomplished, award-winning costume designer, a super mom, and one half of a wonderful married couple that pretty much runs things at the successful and local J & J Printers, among many other things most would be satisfied with calling a worthy resume … but she didn’t stop there. The main reason she was asked to be here tonight is because she is most notably known beyond Nashville as an author of multiple works of fiction and nonfiction. You can read her trilogy titled “The Blood of Angels” (a novella series), “A Year and a Day” (only on e-book), and “Seven Times a Woman” (a novel you can purchase at East Side Story. Mixing fantasy with Nashville fiction, she is here tonight to share bits of her most recent hit, appropriately titled “Music City” (also found at East Side Story). “Music City” is an enchanting story where the muses inspire and faerie magic underscores every note sung in this town. A Nashville author like few others, I was honored to introduce a lady, dressing the part for the Halloweenish show more than anyone in the crowd by the name Sara M. Harvey.

Sara, with her little fancy hat, set up the stage with artwork from her good friend and designer of the art print for the evening (seen below) as well as Sara’s book “Music City.” Sara described the details behind the research and creative process of writing her latest work, sharing her excitement about the journey she took and those who buy the book will take along with her. As I looked around the comfy patio, I saw everyone smiling back to Sarah’s excited expressions and tales of preparing to write said book. I’m pretty sure that her description before reading alone got people amped to go back out on the town to see if they might catch a glimpse of her fictional characters.

Sara gave a reading of several excerpts from her most recent novel, each describing more action and character development of the main characters involved. The story was more than an adventure because Sara took the time to describe the details behind what a banshee can and cannot do. She left nothing unturned, but it was time to wrap up the segment just as she was getting to the heart of “the song” mentioned in the book. Sara did a wonderful job of building up her story and leaving it open for those interested to dive right in where she left off. You can listen to her reading below.

The second featured guest of the evening always approaches all of his endeavors with a sense of excitement, humor, and showmanship, also like few others in this town. Particularly relevant to the current holidayseason, he has been known to assemble a musical gang of zombies and has spent a lot of time dressing in disguise … all for good reasons. He’s always up to something creative, and he’s got a brilliant talent of making old sounds new. A songwriter, performer, concept artist, and founder of Very Entertaining Records, a native of Wisconsin, a film school graduate in Chicago, the mastermind behind the Hard Rock Zombies, and a musician that has written surf, polka, country, jazz, big band, hip hop, electro, and even a Halloween song. I believe I first met him at The Family Wash and he’s felt like family ever since = I married him and his wife, actually. Not what it sounded like, as an officiant, I chosen by our guest to technically married he and his talented wife. I’ve said it once or twice before when introducing other artists on the show, but this was the first time where it might have been trademarked on the bill (shout out to wordplay). People were moving in their seats to keep warm, but they gave screams, whistles, applause, and all of their attention to The One and Only, Bill Davis!

Bill felt at home on stage. He brought his cold beverage, along with his trusty guitar, took a sip, and then put it in his handy cup holder that he wrapped around his microphone. Bill was prepared.

After warming up with a  few fresh tunes from his past, he got his guitar levels and fingers to keep up and match his soulful voice and lyrics in time. With humor and wit like none other in this town, Bill’s music had me smiling during the sweet and cracking up hysterically in the comic bits (#causethat’swhatyoudo). As I looked around during Bill’s song about hair, I was not the only one laughing out loud in my seat. In fact, I don’t think a single person could help themselves from having the best of times throughout Bill’s entire set. On one song, his Halloween song (“Boogie, Man), he even had the crowd making harmonic sounds and singing along at parts. In fact, near the end of his set, Bill invited his talented wife, Melanie, up to play and sing with him. She enticed the crowd to clap along with the final song, and everyone was better off than before the show because of the fun and skills that Bill shared with all of us. It was an honor, to say the least.

Because we weren’t rushed too much to leave, due to the weather or wicked witches circling above us, Sara and Bill stuck around for a bit to talk about their adventures to and inside of Nashville. Both were very sweet, had endearing things to say about Wisconsin (click recording), and shared an affinity for the Halloween season and costumes in general. I can’t write their words better than how they said it, so take my word for it and click the link below to listen to the recording that you missed in person.

So, without skipping a beat, here is the recording for East Side Storytellin’ 47 with Sara M. Harvey and The One and Only Bill Davis! Enjoy, over and over, and share with all your friends, over and over. Happy Halloween!

Art by Johnny Lee Park and Ethan Black, printed by J & J Printers

Art by Johnny Lee Park and Ethan Black, printed by J & J Printers

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Sara Harvey and The One and Only Bill Davis for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

I’d also like to show much love to Jonny Lee Park, Ethan Black, and J & J Printers for the holiday artwork and prints to celebrate tonight’s show.

You can read more from Sara Harvey here – http://saramharvey.com

You can listen to more from The One and Only Bill Davis here – http://www.theoneandonlybilldavis.com/about.html

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

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here –http://eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words/

But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ 48 event will be …

Date- Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)- http://maddonnas.com

With words by poet Oni Woods (http://www.ounstoppablepoetry.com) and music by Boom Forest (http://boomforest.com), we will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary of East Side Storytellin’. Bring your mom, your friends, and those candles that never seem to blow out no matter how hard you try. Come celebrate with us, and many, many, more to come.

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 47 show.  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,

mE

One more laugh and joke from Bill Davis for the road. Happy Halloween!

One more laugh and joke from Bill Davis for the road. Happy Halloween!

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East Side Storytellin’ 31: When The Wind Merchant met The Golden Sounds and the neighbors came a-callin’

March 1, 2014

Hello again!  Good evening, morning, noon, and night after night to you, my dear friend and supporter of East Side Storytellin’!  Welcome to East Side Storytellin’ 31! Thank you for taking time out of your busy Winter Olympic watching schedule in order to celebrate the much anticipated 31st edition of East Side Storytellin’.  Right now, […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 28: Where Mark Sloniker and The Mary Nails made magic and Christmas miracles happen!

December 24, 2013

Hello, good morning, afternoon, and/or evening, and WELCOME to the 28th edition of East Side Storytellin’ – or what I’d like to refer to as my first ever REAL Christmas miracle experience that I knew I would be blessed to witness before it actually happened before my eyes.  Right NOW, like 27 before, you will […]

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