Disney

Kristin Weber, Carter F. Smith, Tom Eizonas, Ali Sperry, 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 117th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 116, I repeat … 116, 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’ 117. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone who teaches criminal justice at MTSU (Go Blue Raiders!). He was in the US Army CID for over 22 years, serving 15 of those at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he and a loosely-organized group of investigators identified the growing gang problem in the early 1990’s. After the Army, he got a law degree and PhD. so you know we’re dealing with another slacker artist again, to be clear. He is a founding and still serving board member of the TN Gang Investigators Association and is a 3-time recipient of an award named for sociologists Frederic Milton Thrasher awarded by the National Gang Crime Research Center. You may recognize him from his appearances in the History Channel’s Gangland series, and you may be seeing him for the first time. Either way, it will be a pleasure. I’m talking about the extremely smart, kind, and talented Dr. Carter F. Smith.

Carter came prepared. He had a special event where he did a talk about his book a few days before East Side Storytellin’ and another one the day after. He had his notes, book, and photos to share with everyone present. Like I said, Carter was ready.

b/w photo of Monk Eastman

Carter jumped into his talk by giving the audience facts and proper context behind his research of gangs in the US military. He couldn’t have gone straight into the excerpts from his book, but he wanted us to get a clear picture of what is going on and how serious the matter is to our civilization as a whole going forward. That said, the historical context and figures he decided to talk more in depth about were truly fascinating to hear about. I knew a few of the figures, but the more unknown the characters were for me, the more impact they had had with the history of our country. I know there is at least two more book projects, whether Carter knows now or not, that he could squeeze out of these lemons.

After Carter set the scene of his book, he dove right in. He shared a few highlighted interviews he did while putting the book concept together and also while going down the wormhole of our criminal justice system and dangerous gangs located throughout our country. I instantly heard the back and forth dialogue as an old time radio show, and told this idea to Carter later for further tread on this book’s tire. Point being, I feel like Carter is only on the tip of the iceberg of this story and, although he’s done a fantastic job with absolutely everything he’s produced and shared so far, I’m hooked to hear more. You can take a listen to Carter on the recording below to hear just how on point he is with his research, writing, and delivery on this important topic.

Then, it was time for our featured music of the night. Our headlining musical guest is a Nashville-based indie artist whose songs are undeniably rooted in folk music, simple and true. Originally from Iowa and two musician parents who encouraged her to sing and create music from the time she could speak, her musical education was taught by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon, among others. She moved through Syracuse University and around Chicago before being pulled to Nashville via an all-girl band called Sweetwater Rose. I know we’ll speak more about that and everything else musical and life related later, but let’s not waste any more time than we have and get this girl to sing these amazing original songs while we have her here to ourselves. Fresh off of her 2017 release of “Crooked Feelings,” her third record so far, and joined on stage by her tremendously talented friend on the fiddle, Kristin Weber, I was super excited to finally introduce the one, the only, Ali Sperry.

Ali jumped right into her song “Crooked Feelings” off the newest album. I was instantly pulled in by the lyrics “treason if you won’t fight the war” and “I quit for love!” and “I’m gonna be alright.” I thought it was the perfect transition from the dark side of life and current events explained by Carter’s work into a much more comforting and hopeful future prompted by Ali’s words, melodies, and style. I said it a few times to Tom during the performance, but Ali reminded me of a folkish version of Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins. She was serving up the spoonfuls of sugar and it was helping us digest the real life medicine that already went down with Carter. I was feeling alive and okay.

Ali and Kristin were side by side on every note and harmony they dished to us. From the way they told the crowd to “Look at Me” with the lyric of “nobody loves you half as much as me” and “Pay attention.”, they had the entire room spellbound and in the palms of their hands. We even had two toddlers in the crowd who were recording the performance for future notes. It was very inspiring, to say the least.

Ali and Kristin ran through a solid handful of originals, from the inspiring song on hills about journeys going forward, to fictional tales and characters who Ali hopes is really real and happening somewhere in the world today, and finally wrapping up with some sad tunes and tributes to fallen friends and muses. One of the coolest moments of then night, for me, was when Ali and Kristin finished the set by covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ song Breakdown. You can hear it in the recording below, along with the rest of the set, but I will say that I thought it was perfect, timing and performance.

After the Tom Petty tribute ended, I was gifted with the chance to talk more about creative journeys and life passions with Ali and Carter. Both were as energetic and honest and positive as I’ve seen any duo of guests in all my time, and that says a lot since pretty much everyone I’ve had the chance to speak with is energetic, honest, and positive. You’ll hear it all in the recoding below, so I’ll save you from reading too much of my rambling post-show.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 117, the night we featured the likes of Carter F. Smith, Ali Sperry, and Kristin Weber at The Post East on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 at 1701 Fatherland. I’m no Yoko Ono, but I was not disappointed with a magical experience with all of these people and numbers aligning with the stars. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with all of your friends over and over again. Thank you.

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

You can read more of Carter’s writing here – www.gangsandthemilitary.com

You can listen to more of Ali’s music here – alisperry.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’ 118, the 5th anniversary show

Tuesday, November 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Dana Malone

singing- Solar Twin

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 117 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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Zach Vinson, Luke Wiget, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Zach Vinson, Luke Wiget, 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 79th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 78, I repeat … 78, 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’ 79. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured guest of the evening is a writer and musician who now lives in Nashville by way of Brooklyn, New York. He co-curates and hosts drDOCTOR, a reading series and podcast, and writes/hosts YEARBOOK, a column for The Rumpus. He’s the 2015 Quiddity Lit Editor’s Prose Prize and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Rumpus, Hobart, and Big Truths among others. He has an MFA in fiction from The New School, and is one heck of a nice young man. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about the very talented and father-to-be … Luke Wiget!

Never a stranger to good readings and listening crowds, Luke took to the stage with a PBR in one hand and the makings of the next great American novel in the other. He prefaced his story by saying that it would be an excerpt of a larger piece, hence my talk about the next great American novel (and I don’t say that lightly or often), taking place in a beach town in northern California, a protagonist who has fallen on tough times after a tree has fallen on his home and forced him to move back in with his parents, and there is a blonde bartender by the name of Lee.

The story excerpt began and it was filled with so many great descriptions and colorful language that it felt like I was watching the movie already with every sentence Luke shared (and I’m talking about a movie that finally does justice to the book from which it is based upon, of course). The language and reading go so colorful that Luke and Tom had a nice exchange of words foreshadowing the fun that would later be had by Tom editing the recording to make it radio-friendly. All in all, because you know I’m a fan of the story and I want you to listen to the recording below instead of telling the entire story and fun phrases I loved the most and I’d hate to spoil you reading the final product when published eventually, I became an instant fan of Luke Wiget’s work. He developed characters I wanted to hear more about, scenes that felt familiar to me and everyone else in the room listening too, and story I’m looking forward to reading in its entirety down the line. Job well done, so far, Sir Luke.

photo credit Chance Chambers

photo credit Chance Chambers

Our featured musician of the night is fresh off of a four-year hiatus from tickling the ivories. A Nashvillian since 2010, I was first introduced to this fine fellow at The 5 Spot by fellow East Side Storytellin’ alumni and personal favorites in that of The Rough & Tumble (who were present and newly married in the crowd). A native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, he has a very unique, quirky pop/rock sound that moves in between influences like Ben Folds, Nada Surf, and hint of Weezer. In his most recent album titled How We Spend Our Days, he moves effortlessly from piano to Wurlitzer to acoustic guitar to electric guitar and back to the piano. This EP, mostly written during his musical hiatus, reveals an artist who has been through the fire and coming out the other side in full force. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about the very talented and father-to-be … stop me if you’ve heard this before, Zach Vinson!

Zach took a seat behind the fantastic and beautifully handmade woodwork that he and his father crafted that surrounded his piano keys and he jumped right into his music like he’d never taken a hiatus a day in his life. He was a total pro. He started with a song dedicated to going home to his Wisconsin roots, then going into a song with some love in it before telling the crowd that he needed to catch his breath and do more cardio to train for longer shows because of how he approaches his performances. Wit, humor, skill, and some of the finest piano playing we’ve ever heard on East Side Storytellin’ ever before, that is how I would describe Zach’s music in person.

And speaking of East Side Storytellin’ performances, I was happy to hear Zach talk about playing original songs, some brand-spanking new, that normally don’t get played because of never really playing in front of such wonderful listening crowds as we had for this particular night. One such song had a long piano intro that reminded me of something as magnificent as a score from a Disney movie from back in their glory days of the 40’s or 50’s. Another moment you’ll hear in the recording and probably smile as big as I did was Zach’s nod to Nashville professional songwriters who stick to one theme for their great songs and how he decided to do the complete opposite and write a great ditty that may or may not combine three themes – including his prominent left handedness, Russian literature, and a log that he stumbled upon while in Massachusetts. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it.

photo credit Chance Chambers

photo credit Chance Chambers

But that’s kind of what the night was for me, regarding both of these guys. You know what I mean when you hear them. Both Luke and Zach are extraordinary storytellers. Meaning, for any laymen out there reading this, they are so much more than ordinary. They allow their stories and characters to come out in the best ways that entertain their creators and in turn enlighten all of us who take the time to be present for the sharing of these original materials. Stepping out from behind the curtain, I’ll go ahead and share the fact that I typically write notes of lines and things that make me smile during every show say. After you listen to the below, it won’t surprise you that I wrote more in this show than most because of the way both of these guys, simply put, write … so many great visuals.

photo credit Chance Chambers

photo credit Chance Chambers

Also, this line-up and show was one of those nights where we could’ve easily gone for two hours instead of one while talking about the featured artists’ crafts and creative processes. There were times when I wanted to let them take what one person said and totally dive into the other’s own thoughts on the same questions, but we had to move things along for the recording’s sake. Maybe the conversation started between Luke and Zach will continue at a later date and find its way onto a future drDOCTOR episode or something. Only time and Luke will tell.

But, for now, sit back and enjoy another edited recording of East Side Storytellin’. This is East Side Storytellin’ 79, featuring Luke Wiget and Zach Vinson at The Post on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016:

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

You can read more about Luke’s writing here- http://lukewiget.com

You can listen to more of Zach’s music here – www.zachvinson.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.

art design by Clay Brunton

art design 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’ 80

Tuesday, April 5th, my birthday!!

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- C. Williams (www.facebook.com/c.williamswriterstudio)

singing- Elenowen (www.elenowen.com

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 79 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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