Clay Brunton

Tom Eizonas, Nick Rossi, Zach Ryan, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 111th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 110, I repeat … 110, 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’ 111. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is not just an amazing writer and human being, he is also a publisher of beautiful weirdos. It’s true, this guy, alongside Eric Benick, started the oober-awesome Ursus Americanus Press. With several hit projects in the bag and more on the horizon, this guy barely has time to do anything else … but alas, he persisted. When this guy isn’t eating too much sugar, spending too much time on his phone, or staying up too late for no reason, he endlessly churns out original stories on the page, over the interwebs, on countless white t-shirts, and more. His diligent work ethic is only matched by his positive attitude and energy for everyone around him. To say that he has a lot of friends and literary peers would be the understatement of the year. He has a busy year ahead with a move and work appearing in MESMER, Souvenir Lit, MAYDAY magazine, Chicago Literati, Vanilla Sex Magazine, and a few bathrooms around Nashville. He also writes and plays in a band called Choovanski. Point being, this guy rocks. It was truly an honor to introduce the man, the legend, Nick Rossi!

Nick took to the microphone like a caged animal who had been drinking caffeine all day while trying to decide if he needed to make brand new prose and poetry ready for a reading or if he should just rely on his old and trusted friends. I believe he ended up drinking a few pony high life’s and doing a little bit of both. All in all, Nick was in his zone. He apologized for his Chicago voice, gave a multitude of personal shout outs throughout the reading and night, and set the mood of the event perfectly with his tales of life on the road and not so light material that felt right at home for this day and age.

photo by Chance Chambers

I though Nick did a beautiful job of tying together the three stages of his Nashville experience. He shared a poem that explained why he decided to first come to Nashville (he apologized for the lack of edits for parts he claimed that sucked but everyone else in the room agreed that his words and reading did everything but suck). He spoke about the places he had come from and where he is going soon. Somewhere in the middle, he shed light and a deep perspective of privilege that he and so many of us other white males live with on the daily in this country, all the while sharing vivid examples and imagery of references with the abuse towards African Americans in this world. Like Nick’s shirts, his words and thoughts are extremely powerful. The sooner you get in the groove of how to digest the manner in which he races through his words, thoughts, and pages, the better you are to understand the pure heart and passion for literature and life and connecting with other people that Nick exudes on the daily. It’s all right there in his work. You can hear it as plain as day right there in the recording below.

Our featured music of the night is someone who has been playing music regularly since the age of 11. He’s chased his dream under a multitude of names and across several genres, but he’s still truckin’ and searching for his truth. After spending years doing the solo artist thing, his current project is The Wanderers (not to be confused the That Thing You Do’s The Oneders). Drawing inspiration from sounds and folks like Tom Waits, David Lynch, Chet Baker, and Dick Dale, The Wanderers just finished a record due to be released in late September. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait until September to here this guy play his great music. Via a wonderful connection and introduction with our mutual friend Shane Tutmarc, I was thrilled to finally be able to shed a spotlight on the one and only Zach Ryan!

I recently watched a segment of CBS Sunday Morning that featured John Mellencamp. They were talking about how Mellencamp had originally moved to New York City on a visual art scholarship but then got a record deal as soon as he got there. When he first played an original song for the suits at the label, he didn’t believe they heard any of his words and could just tell from the first five seconds of his playing that he had that special something. Mellencamp later mentioned in the interview that he really believes you can tell when a person has that special something of talent in any creative medium in the first few moments. Fast forward to hearing and seeing Zach Ryan play the guitar at The Post and I was not alone to be completely blown away by his virtuoso skill and sounds and musicianship that struck us all like lightning in the first few chords he played and sang. Again, you can hear what I’m talking about it the recording below.

Zach’s music is guitar driven and guitar led, and surrounded with the air of cinema. Some of the people in the crowd mentioned that he looked like the great actor Robert Mitchum, and I said I’d love to hear Zach play his melodies to old Robert Mitchum movies that are filmed out West and have the uncertainty of death and dark subject matter … almost like a not-so-funny but still as brilliant version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’m sure there are a million great references that came out of this specific show from the music and story themes, but nobody could deny that Zach was on the top of his game, even without the extra players in his band. Zach, like Nick, came correct to the show with some stories and melodies that took our breath away and blew our minds at the same time.

During the conversation portion of the show, we learned that both Nick and Zach had roommates by the name of Carl (with a C, not a K, because that’s much cooler) … shout out to Carl Carbonell. What was not planned before the show and with the pairing but was acknowledged by Zach very early into his set was that the darker subject matter shared by each unprompted or pre-curated artist reflected like a perfectly symmetric swampy sunset that made you appreciate the glow of the sun descending but at the same time scared you to death about what was hiding in the dark to come. Not to make you jittery while reading this, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. There was plenty to smile about, during the talking and the reading and singing. In fact, one of Zach’s happy songs was about a man finding joy in moving away and getting away with murder. You really need to take a listen to it below to get where I’m coming from about loving these guys so much.

photo by Chance Chambers

It was my pleasure and an honor to share the stage and shed the spotlight on this unique pair of troubadours. I do want to add a little note here for the sake of big transitions and moves for Nick Rossi. He told me when I booked him for the show that this would be fitting  for him since East Side Storytellin’ was one of the first literary events he attended when he moved to town and it would be one of his final public readings (outside of a fun Life is Boring reading event the Friday before he moved later that week). In between those two shows, Nick has become a beacon for the literary community at large and we were lucky enough to promote and share his books and journals while we ran the retail portion of the first chapter of East Side Story. We are gonna miss him, but we are thankful he will continue being awesome in Chicago and connecting our Nashville family with people and ideas beyond the city limits for years to come. Plus he is going to come back and visit often. Plus plus he is going to hire me when he gets his white t-shirt company off the ground and going. This will happen.

That said, before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Nick and Zach for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us. These are two of the good ones doing great things and both are just getting started. The best is yet to come.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 111, a show when we were lucky to feature the likes of Nick Rossi and Zach Ryan at The Post on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Feel free to listen to this one and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’ll thank me afterwards.

You can read more of Nick’s writing here – www.ursusamericanuslit.com

You can listen to more of Zack’s music here – zachryansongs.bandcamp.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’ 112

Tuesday, August 1st

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Eric Benick

singing- Kira Hooks

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 111 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

{ 0 comments }

Tom Eizonas, Alicia Michilli, Jenna Dorian, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 109th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 108, I repeat … 108, 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’ 109. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a powerhouse female artist who originally hails from the mountains of North Carolina where she was raised in an unstructured classroom from home by her mother, an author and nutritionist. Spending tons of time outdoors during her childhood, her early education and upbringing plays a heavy influence on her style and voice. She’s the featured author tonight because her first novella, You Holy Screaming Symphony, has been a treasure at East Side Story for some time now. She has also published works of short fiction and poetry in various magazines such as Perjus and others, and she is an active member of our friends at The Porch Writers’ Collective. Let me just say it. It was an honor to finally spotlight and introduce the very talented Jenna Dorian.

Jenna brought an unrelated trilogy of readings to the stage, and she was ready to roll as soon as I got out of the way. She appeared to be as equally honored to be involved with the show as I was to introduce her. She is an amazingly talented writer, with a work ethic like few around, and she’s just getting started. So, when she stared her set, she let the audience know pretty much everything she was thinking, about the moment and the material.

With a smile on her face and her heart on her sleeve, she went through the levels of her artist insecurities while revealing her true mission of discovering her comedic writing voice someday but settling knee deep into her sad characters and situations for the time being. After she read an excerpt from her novella, she addressed the crowd directly when she called out the comedic genius of Patrick Shaffner. She had recognized him from visiting the Third Coast Comedy Improv night (you should check them out as much as you can). They had some witty banter before Jenna jumped heart first into an original, sad tale about the first time a mother left her … a flash creative non-fiction piece (because that is a thing, as she recently discovered and relayed). Then, when she had the crowd right where she wanted them at full attention, she went into a slightly emotional, very deep story about the grieving of love and life loss between a marriage and the dream of a baby never to be. Like I told you, this girl is great. You can hear the stories in the recording below, but know that the way she casually and candidly throws her joy and secondary thoughts of an outside personal narrator in between the sad notes of her prose really makes for such a delightful and instant classic way to digest Jenna’s art in person. It kinda makes me want her to do an audio book version of her writing in the same style.

Our featured music of the night is someone I first saw sing alongside my wife a few years ago at The Fontanel. Let me clarify, she was not actually singing beside my wife. My wife was beside me in the crowd but equally blown away. This special lady was on stage singing alongside her long time hero, Keb’ Mo’ for his monthly Blues Jam at The Fontanel. It was also the night when we first were introduced to the musician like none other named Mike Hicks. You should check him out pronto. Anyways, back to the musician at hand. This young star on the rise moved to Music City from Motown. With Detroit roots, it may not surprise you to hear a beautiful blend of R&B and Soul from this lady once she gets going. She has a voice as powerful as Etta, Aretha, Ella, and Billie, to name a few of her singular named heroes. She released her first EP in 2015 and did a spell on the national television show America’s Got Talent too. I’m not sure if everyone in the house was as ready as I was for the second powerhouse female with the voice way beyond any of Wonder Woman’s skills, but there was no turning back after saying all of this good stuff and finally aligning up the stars to book this lady. I’m talking about the unforgettable soulstress, Alicia Michilli!

With the same natural nervousness and self-degrading personality as Jenna, Alicia approached the crowd with her guitar strapped over the shoulder and her heart on her sleeve as well. If you had never seen her perform, you might think she was a nervous, fresh out of college, intern at her first day on the job inside a cubicle who stepped out with the new team to do karaoke for the first time. And, as if it had been proclaimed and written in the good book, then Alicia started to sing. Everything changed after that first note.

Alicia mentioned before the show that she has the look of an angel but the mouth of a sailor. You may notice more than one edit in the dialogue of the recording. All that said, I’ll go ahead and say it that Alicia has the look of an angel but a voice of a soul goddess. It is not only a gift from the heavens that she trains and takes care of like a baby, it is a gift for anyone who gets a chance to hear her share it aloud. I could ramble and compliment this artist for a week straight, as you can tell from the first paragraph or two here, but I’ll let the angel do the singing in the recording below.


Like Jenna, Alicia is her toughest critic. I get it. We all need to be our own toughest critis, but in the end we know there are a ton of haters and critics out in the world. So for tonight, in this shared moment, there was nothing but love and appreciation for every personal note and lyric we witnessed. I can’t speak for everyone else in the room, but I know I was just as close to happy tears as Alicia said she was after she sang the song written for and about her recently passed grandfather. If you can’t relate with and instantly fall in love with that song and the way she sang it from the heart, I’d tell you that you need to make an appointment with the closest doctor to examine if you still have one beating. I’m serious. Take a listen to her final happy song and tell me that isn’t the most soulful and, pun intended, heartfelt heartbeat lyrics you’ve ever heard. I was humming it for hours after the show.

But as soon as Alicia was getting revved up and totally in her wheelhouse with the crowd, everyone in the palm of her hands really, she was finished and ready to talk alongside her new best friend in Jenna. Let me know after you listen to the show if you don’t think they are long lost sisters. Yet again, the non-formula of pairing artists has worked its magic and formally introduced two artists who were born to work together and appreciate the talents they both share. It was obvious to me, as the self-declared translator of their personal answers to my general questions, that these two will do something else going forward. They both had smiles and laughs for days, and they are both as ego-free, talented, humbled, and giving of their positivity as anyone I’ve met in quite some time. This evening, this combo, this event was something special to behold. I feel extremely blessed to have been a small part in this sweet picture.

So here it is, the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 109, featuring the Wonder Women dynamic duo of Jenna Dorian and Alicia Michilli at The Post East on June 20, 2017. It was a night to remember, one nobody will soon forget. Please share this link and enjoy it for yourself, 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 Jenna and Alicia for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Jenna’s writing here – jcdorian.com

You can listen to more of Alicia’s music here – aliciamichilli.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’ 110

WEDNESDAY, July 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Lance Umenhofer

singing- Dylan Lancaster

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 109 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

 

 

{ 0 comments }

John Condit, Chuck Beard, Nikki Barber, Jamie Timm, Casey Renee LeVasseur, and Tom Eizonas (not pictured, missed but not forgotten with The Minks, Jordan Solly Levine).

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 108th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 107, I repeat … 107, 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 the East Side Storytellin’ 108. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is someone who was born in LA and began her love affair with words studying and memorizing lyrics from her favorite bands. She also grew up watching her father perform his music in nightclubs and bars so this whole combining literature with music for a night is not her first rodeo here tonight. In fact, she often goes a step further and adds film into the mix. Her passion for writing and film led her to a degree in Cinema Arts from California State University. She is featured tonight because her debut novel, Silence & Noise: one girl’s journey into insanity, is a coming of age story about a girl’s struggle with mental illness that has been an important part of East Side Story since our beginnings. please join me in giving a big round of applause for my friend, the multi-talented muse, put your hands together for the one and only Casey Renee Le’Vasseur.

Before I really start this thing, I need to give some noteworthy behind the scene short stories from before the show, in no particular rank or order. First, Tom had accidentally erased the recorded intro in the sound system (if you aren’t there in person, odds are you don’t really know that Dave Eastman isn’t actually there in person most of the time as the main intro MC). So, I did what any respected host would do, I grabbed the iPhone of my near and dear friend James Martin (a man who can and does just about everything cool that you’d ever imagine = you can see one of his latest creations here- www.facebook.com/edonthebus) and he pulled up the SounCloud link of our intro from another show and blasted it as well as I could over the microphone. The crowd appreciated it mucho. And secondly, Casey asked a few of us in the circle of trust which order we would suggest her reading her three short stories that were described as 1) Love Story, 2) Story of Loss, and 3) somewhere in the middle with intrigue. We told her to go with her gut and that we’d be happy with whatever she decides to do because that’s how the show rolls.

photo by Colin Lewis

So, Casey jumped on the microphone like the pro she is and started off the show with LOVE. It was a take on romance and new beginnings that moved everyone to the edge of their seats. I’ll let you listen to the reading below instead of trying to recap details or put words into the story. Once LOVE was established, she dove head and heart first tint the LOSS. Set in the snow, the audience had a chance to sit back in their seats and feel the coldness of memories and people lost in our worlds. Then, the bring everything together and set up the perfect moment of letting everyone leave with the impression that its up to us to grab the wheel and drive wherever our impulses call, Casey told a tremendous tale called Mississippi River. With a tone of pleasure and pain meshed together as perfectly as Wednesday Addams would do on a Tuesday, Casey reminded us that she is brilliant with words and unafraid at sharing every bit of vulnerability of every character she creates to reach the truest potential of each story she shares. It was something special.

And then, speaking of something very special, we decided to invite what was sure to quickly become the loudest band we would feature to date. And we were so ready for it. Our featured music of the night is led by someone I was first introduced by way of two East Side Storytellin’ trusted connections in Erin Rae McKaskle and Kristen Reilly – both who continue to amaze us. The band itself is a bluesy psychedelic explosion, made from a revolving cast of talented members from the local scene. It originally formed just 2 years ago right here in Music City. Inspired by the old days of Warhol’s factory, Townsend’s windmills, and Dylan’s poetry, this band tries to blend into the silver lining of our remarkable history into our unbelievable current world. They’ve been called the southern Velvet Underground, but this night I was honored to introduce them and call them by the name I know them best. Individually, you may call them Jordan, John, Jamie, and Nikki, but together, like The Wyld Stallyns, they are called The Minks!

Look. There are a lot of bands around town and outside of town that write bio’s about themselves and try to hype their music beyond who and what they are. The Minks are not that kind of band. They are the real deal. They are everything they say they are and more. I had to say that right off the bat because from the very first notes and moments they amped up the show, we all were blown away with their awesomeness. The combine elements of your favorite Southern Rock n’ Roll greats such as The Allman Brothers and Creedance Clearwater Revival (not even sure if Creedance were true Southerners , but I had to give a quick shout out to our recently passed Nashvillian gone too soon in Gregg Allman) and then sprinkle all of that with what I like to call some 70’s Southern punk too. Point being, they bring the real.

Again, I’d rather you listen to the actual recording of the show to hear what I’m talking about instead of having me ramble for a few minutes over the line. I’ve gotta add another behind the scenes story that was not the band’s fault – it might have been something in the air in general – but our recording devices ended up crashing mid-way through the set and Tom lost a song and a half (“Sweet Talk” and half of “Moving On” if you’re counting) before getting everything back in line for the rest of the set and show. Some people in the audience may have heard a few hiccups, but Tom was a master at keeping the train on the tracks. Point being, I’m not certain it wasn’t the band’s sound that didn’t knock it the system out of sorts because their sound was so big and epic that I am certain they could have filled LP Stadium with that set. I’m just saying, this group is amazing and big time. It won’t be long before they do start playing those arenas. Take a listen below and get to know them better than you do now.

photo by Chance Chambers

I didn’t want to single out the band like No Doubt and Gwen back in the day, but I only had Nikki join the post music conversation alongside Casey because I already know I’ll have John and Jamie and Jordan on again with their other bands eventually (if they say yes and Jordan doesn’t have another dinner date or secondary evening gig to attend). But that said, I was able to further ask both Casey and Nikki about their creative passions, in and out of music and writing and everything else cool that they are making happen. These two are anything but slackers, giving everything they have to so many worthy causes and collaborating with some of the best quality people in any business right now. Seriously, take a listen to the following recording, go online to buy everything they are selling, and make it a point to go see these two golden individuals do what they do in person the next chance you can. You’ll thank me later.

So, here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 108 that featured Casey Renee LeVasseur and The Minks at The Post East on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Feel free to listen to it and share with everyone you know over and over. This recording will never get old. It’s an instant classic. Enjoy, and thank you for your time.

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

You can read more of Casey’s writing here – crlwrites.com

You can listen to more of The Minks’ music here – www.facebook.com/theminksss

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.

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’ 109

Tuesday, June 20th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Jenna Dorian (jcdorian.com)

singing- Alicia Michilli (aliciamichilli.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 108 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

{ 0 comments }

Sam Torode, Tom Eizonas, Russell Thompson, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 107th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 106, I repeat … 106, 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’ 107. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone who is actually related on his father’s side of the tree to Henry David Thoreau. On his mother’s side, the ancestors include Texas farmers, preachers, outlaws, banjo players, and Cherokee Native Americans. Like many of our featured artists, he doesn’t limit himself to one medium. You can Google him later and find his album of jazz standards titled Someone to Watch Over Me. Some of his favorite storytellers are Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, and Ray Bradbury. Some of his favorite thinkers are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joseph Campbell, and Marcus Aurelius. Combining everything from the storytellers, thinkers, and jazz greats, this artist is the featured author tonight because of the release of his novel The Dirty Parts of the Bible. He’ll cover more about his work other than it being one of the catchiest and most intriguing titles at East Side Story later in the show, but it was an honor to welcome our featured reader to the stage. I’m talking about the one, the only, Sam Torode!

Sam had admittedly taken some time to build up confidence while battling insecurities every artist fights before he decided to bring some of his books into East Side Story recently. And before this show, he told me he had rarely taken time to schedule any planned readings to share his work, because he was unsure of the reception. There wasn’t any worry on my behalf for the show’s reception for Sam and his work because there were plenty of family and friends in the mix to listen. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that Sam had any butterflies either from the outside. Sam always gives off the impression that he is calm, cool, and collected. I knew the time was right and that his amazing book would speak for itself.

Sam had broken down his reading into several excerpts that not only laid out the perfect setting for characters and theme and title of his book, but it also was the perfect teaser for people to get pulled into his work and want to know more. Within the sections he shared, Sam told us about different stages of development about the main character named Tobias. This young man was raised by a strict preacher in the town of Remus, North Michigan. Sam started the story from Tobias’ birth. Then, he shared the direct piece of the story that influenced the title of the book where Tobias found out about the racier sections of The Bible that talked about a woman’s chest area of flesh. It’s true, it’s all there for the reading. Sam said it a lot better than I just did, but like everything else Sam shared, it just made perfect sense. I felt like we were all being entertained and educated at the same time.

Sam finished his performance by sharing two final sections that were cool and striking, to say the least. First, he described quite the adventure on a train with Tobias and his older friend Craw. Craw taught him some enlightening, non-traditional remedies that may or may not work (I’d love to ask Sam if he researched some of those or totally made them up = you’ll hear them in the recording or read them for yourself. It’s worth your time, either way). There was also a wonderful scene of Craw teaching Tobias how to properly jump from a moving train (don’t try this at home, kids). And then Sam closed his set with a trip to another character’s house by the name of Sarah (the character, not the house’s name). Like I said before, Sam did a wonderful job of setting up the book with a pinpoint layout of interesting scenes and characters that made everyone in the room want to read and hear more. And for someone who doesn’t do this very often, I’d say Sam is well on his way to making this more of a frequent happening. At least I hope so. He is a brilliant reader and an even better writer. But like Lamar, don’t take my word for it. Listen to the recording below and get the book when you have a chance soon.

Our featured music of the night is someone who I met the very first time I met our featured author. I kid you not, both of these scholars came into the store the very same day and we spent about an hour talking about literature, pop culture, religion (thanks to Sam’s book title and this guy’s past in the church), and everything in between. Back to our featured musician, he is mutual friend and frequent stage-sharer with fellow East Side Storytellin’ alumni greats in Megan Palmer and Sergio Webb. Born to a Navy man, he crossed the country 3 times over by the age of 10. He’s lived in and played towns and cities and farms and deserts and mountains, forests, canyons, and rivers all over. He is 64 years young and has lived in 62 different places. We are very lucky to have this guy here tonight. He’s been a mechanic, a painter, a carpenter, a salesman, a cook, a husband, a father, a minister, and combined all of that into being a stellar songwriter and musician for the past decade. Releasing his full-length recording soon, entitled Sometimes I Dream, I couldn’t have been more excited to introduce the likes of Russell Thompson.

If you’ve ever met Russell then you already know that he has never met a stranger. He took a seat beside the microphone, in front of a room of people he just met the hour before sitting down, and jumped right into talking about his move to Nashville and what pulled him out of religion and into searching for more soul outside of San Diego awhile back. It was one of the most intriguing introductions to an East Side Storytellin’ musical sets that I’ve ever witnessed. It reminded me of the great RL Burnside (you need to know who that is, if you don’t already). Before we knew what hit us, Russell was sipping his water and ready to sing the first song he wrote after leaving his ministry and before landing in Nashville. He had played it during sound check and blew Sam and I away, but then he took it to another level for everyone in the room. It was truly amazing.

In keeping with the featured book and content of the night, Russell carried on with the conversation of love and sex right into his song about a sweet and sacred bed. You can take the jelly roll line as that much or as a donut reference if you’re hungry and into that. Either way, Russell was on fire. His songs were as multi-layered in references and metaphors and flat-out philosophies that were much needed to be heard in today’s chaos. He made note of where he was and what struck him to write each one of his songs. He shared that the song about sunglasses was inspired from seeing Bob Dylan at an award ceremony, that a song about ding dong and the bells ringing was like a call to action from Woodie Guthrie himself, that a dream about a boy named Johnny and his pal got Russell thinking and rambling about people he had never met but was connected with, and also how the idea of Mother’s Day flashed a song thought that resembled an old Guy Clark favorite of his. I can’t say this enough, Russell’s songs and spirit are so brilliant.

Again, as soon as we were just hitting our groove of a show, it was time to get both of the artists on stage and for me to attempt to connect the dots via personal questions. Like the first day I met Russell and Sam in the bookstore, it was more about letting them do their thing and share the moment and me just trying to stay out of the way than anything else. It may sound in the recording as though I was a little more jittery than usual, and you may be right, but I admitted to them that I wish I could’ve just let them talk for several hours about their personal stories and professions and inspirations for why they do what they do without restraint. These two guys, like so many of the pairings we have on the show serendipitously, have so much to share with the world to help make everything make sense and strive for a better tomorrow. They have a deep sense of what changes should be made with focus and action in this country right now, in regards to religion and politics and life in general, and I for one was happy to share a small moment and spotlight with them as they continue on their personal journeys moving forward.

Again, I highly suggest you get a copy of Sam’s book and look out for the release of Russell’s newest album when it comes out and that you make plans to check out each of these guys whenever they are sharing their art in public again. I promise that you will be a better version of yourself after you experience what they’re creating and sharing.

And speaking of something these two are creating and sharing, please take a moment to listen to and share the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 107 that featured Sam Torode and Russell Thompson at The Post East on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017. It was a brilliant show that can live on forever, thanks to the good ol’ internets. Do yourself a favor, and take a gander. You can thank me in an hour.

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

You can read more of Sam’s writing here –  www.amazon.com/author/samtorode

You can listen to more of Russell’s music by searching on Youtube.com and Facebook.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.

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

art design by Clay Brunton, inspired by The Dirty Parts of The Bible

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’ 108

Tuesday, June 6th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Casey Renee Le’Vasseur

singing-The Minks

That said, that’s all for the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 107 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

1 for the road

2 for the road

{ 0 comments }

Tom Eizonas, Robyn Leigh Lear, Kateri Farrell, Ally Brown, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 105th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 104, I repeat … 104, 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’ 105. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone I like to refer to as the resident dreamer. She is also the Creative Director behind the majestic, the awesome, and the infinitely coolest publishing company in the world that goes by the name of April Gloaming Publishing. This lady was born to the world but claims no country. Lucky for us, she claims Nashville as her current home base. Also lucky for us, is the creative dreamer behind Authors and Artists: The Regenerates, a writing and art collective that is majestic, awesome, and infinitely cooler than anything I have dreamed up so far. Point being, this lady is a creative force to be reckoned with and to fully embrace in a hug if she grants you permission. She doesn’t just dream or publish other authors’ and poets’ work though. She was featured tonight because she is a writer as well, a brilliant writer and reader. I’m talking about the wild dreamer in the heart to Lance Umenhofer’s world, the one and the only Robyn Leigh Lear.

Robyn sashayed her fabulous wardrobe and positive attitude to the microphone to battle the dreary rain outside and the slight fear of reading her work in public. She told me and the crowd that she tends to cuss to make herself feel better, and it didn’t take long for her to start feeling better. Some of us who know her better knew that her moments of silence between stanzas were due to nerves, but the overall dramatic pauses that they lent themselves to for everyone else simply heightened the amazing original poetry that she was sharing with us. Without trying to do so, she was effortlessly giving a brilliant performance of her work, mixing laughs with stormy motifs that were deeply personal and instantly connecting with everyone in the room.

Throughout the reading, Robyn tackled emotional themes such as pain and trauma and being unafraid in the midst of soft milk in a violent storm (listen to the recording to catch the drift), but one of my favorite moments was when everyone’s cell phones blurted out an emergency alert for the impending weather surrounding our city. Robyn, caught in the middle of the alerts and two of her poems, used and spun that alert into a perfect transition for everyone to pay attention to the storm of words she was about to throw out and make us weather. We were safe at The Post and safe in Robyn’s majestic leadership. I also want to make a special note that Robyn shared some new material that was so fresh she had recently written it and never shared with anyone. That’s the kind of fearlessness I love and respect from her and other guests who do the same. You can hear the recording, but I advise you to listen to the final poem at least two times, a poem about seeing a dead body and pulling it apart to find the heart and understanding of life and your own purpose. And, like Keyser Soze, before we knew it, Robyn was finished and gone from the stage. She practically dropped the mic on the stand with an eruption of applause and inspiration in her wake. It was quite epic.

Our featured music of the night is someone, like our featured writer, who creates and performs art that will hook you, lift you, and as she would quote/unquote “make you think and probably feel stuff.” She is our first featured musician who labels herself as Indie/Folk/Uke-rock, with a hint of jazz and a dash of soul. Her vocals give life to vivid imagery, catchy melodies, and profound themes of creative dynamic shows that are light-hearted, fun, sincere, and thought provoking. Born in Hollywood, she was destined to be a star. So, from Florida to her now Nashville home, alongside her good friends Abigail Flowers and Kateri Farrell, it was an honor for me to formally introduce the very talented Ally Brown.

Ally immediately thanked Robyn for sharing her work that inspired Ally and the gang right off the bat. Ally then jumped right into setting the mood for her set, asking us to be prepared for her to take us into outer space and then bring us back into another world again later. She said it with a smile, but I knew she meant it. Packed with two of her best friends, she took us on quite the musical and lyrical trip.

Ally’s music was in line with the themes that Robyn left us with. She sang about the haziness of life’s uncertainty, dealing with not knowing where you are and what you’re doing, but then coming back around to assure us that everything is okay. One of my favorite songs and stories behind the music came from Ally watching an episode of “Cosmos” where Neil Degrasse Tyson taught her the concept of moving faster than the speed of light and the result being that all of time around that person or thing would stand still. Ally took that concept a step further and wrote a song about being in a relationship where you were moving faster than the speed of light and how then you could sing and dance and be with that person forever. The song, like the idea, was beyond beautiful. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that have the most profound effects.

Ally went on to make us laugh and feel great while she sang about a fictional (maybe) wolf while her crew howled at the moon, and then she told stories that resembled fairy tale characters where she lost things in her hair. Overall, the comedic banter between the songs matched the brilliance of the wonderful harmonies that rained down over all of us inside The Post as Mother Nature cleansed the rest of the city outside. I had the thought, not that I was sad or depressed before the show, that nobody could NOT be in a better mood after listening to both Robyn and Ally’s creativity in person. These girls were all about that shine.

Then, when I was able to get them both on stage after the music ended, it was fairly obvious that the synchronicity of East Side Storytellin’ 105 would be that Robyn and Ally were meant to be new besties. They will most certainly do some creative collaborating and events together in the upcoming year and our city and world will be better for it. I’m kinda throwing out the manifestation that Robyn writes a cool story to read before or during a Spookulele show in October, my favorite time of the year. Again, just listen to the recording of the masterful experience we all shared together because of these great people and great artists on the rise on a random Tuesday night when everything in my world made sense, even for just a moment and a flash.

So, with all that said about another very special show that was/is near and dear to my heart, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 105 that featured Robyn Leigh Lear & Ally Brown (with Abigail Flowers & Kateri Farrell) at The Post on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Feel free to enjoy and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. It is well worth your time and energy. You’re welcome.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-105-1 

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

You can read more of Robyn’s writing here –  www.aprilgloaming.com and www.theregenerates.org

You can listen to more of Ally’s music here – www.allybrownmusic.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.

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

art 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.

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 106

Tuesday, May 2nd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Tim Shaw

singing- Joshua Black Wilkins

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 105 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

photo credit – Steve Simpson (aka The Ice Cream Gypsy)

 

{ 0 comments }

East Side Storytellin’ 104 – When the Iowa City and Nashville connection came alive with Gregory and Alexis

April 10, 2017

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 104th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 103, I repeat … 103, previous shows East Side Story […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 103 – When two long lost brothers showed us what America looks and feels like, all thanks to Sam and Odie

March 25, 2017

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 103rd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 102, I repeat … 102, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 102 – The night Larry and Rayvon helped change our perspectives of others’ struggles

March 12, 2017

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 102nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 101, I repeat … 101, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 101: The night Sarah rallied us to embrace every body and Leah summoned her old soul

February 28, 2017

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 101st epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 100, I repeat … 100, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 100: When John J. Thompson & Phil Madeira made Jesus, Bread, Chocolate, and God on the Rocks make sense when we needed it most

February 14, 2017

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. And thanks to Dave Eastman for saying such nice things about the show, about me, and about several insightful meanings behind the significance of the number 100. We were sorry to miss you at this show, Dave, but we wish nothing but the best for health and happiness in […]

Read the full article →