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Tom Eizonas, Rita Bullwinkel, Chuck Beard, and Dutch Whisky

Tom Eizonas, Rita Bullwinkel, Chuck Beard, and Dutch Whisky

Well, we did it! We successfully made it to lucky number 70 and counting. I’m not sure if anyone ever believed we would do it or doubted us, but I’m happy to say that we celebrated our 3rd anniversary of East Side Storytellin’ in the best of ways (together with talented Nashville artists, surrounded by a supportive crowd filled with loving friends and family). Here is my take on the monumental night.

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 70th epic edition and 3rd anniversary show of East Side Storytellin’! THREE years and counting, y’all. Like the 69 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’ 70. Let us begin, again.

Before we got started with the featured guests, we had the privilege of getting our annual celebratory visit from the man behind the voice of every show’s intro, Dave Eastman. He recalled the backstory of how this thing got started and the players involved and gave a nice toast to everyone around.

The first featured guest of the night is a graduate fiction fellow at Vanderbilt University, the fiction editor of the Nashville Review, a Vanderbilt Commons Writer in Residence and the founder of Band of Poets, a monthly reading series at Bobby’s Idle Hour, the historic bar on Nashville’s music row. Her fiction has appeared in many places including SporkThe Atlas ReviewThe Fanzine,Deep South MagazineThe Brooklyn Rail and Joyland. She is a Sewanee Writer’s Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship Award winner and a Helen Wurlitzer Foundation grantee. This fall her story “Lunch” is being published in the book Gigantic Worlds: An Anthology of Science Flash Fiction alongside work by Phillip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Jonathan Lethem. She was also recently a finalist for The Conium Review’s Innovative Short Fiction Prize judged by Amelia Gray. To say that she is a talented writer on the rise might be the biggest understatement I’ve ever shared on this show. We were honored to have her join the East Side Storytellin’ family and listen to her words firsthand. Point being, several of the members from her Band of Poets and various other writing colleagues gave major props and applause for the introduction of Rita Bullwinkel.

Rita, no stranger to a room of avid literature fans, grabbed her story with both hands and took us for a wild ride. With the one, genius, and epitome of cool like that of the great Margot Tenenbaum, Rita shared her story titled “In the South the Sand Winds are Our Greatest Enemy.” Recently showcased and published with Joyland Magazine, you can read the story in its entirety here- www.joylandmagazine.com/regions/south/south-sand-winds-are-our-greatest-enemy.

A tale of two brothers, Gleb and Oleg, Rita introduced us to several unforgettable characters in an unforgettable world that instantly drew everyone to the edge of their seats to follow along such a delightfully strange trip. It reminded me of several things, from the finger count of one character flashing memories of the extra-fingered villain in The Princess Bride to the visuals of what I can only imagine would make for the next great Tim Burton off-holiday stop-animation film gone awry (with an extra hint of the throwback style and characters of the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer classic narrated by Burl Ives. Rita’s story was fantastical, enchanting, other-worldly, original, refreshing, and all that and a bag of crispy chips to say the least about how much I absolutely loved it and the reading performance. Again, like my recap for most of the shows so far, I feel as though I would diminish the energy and quality of the sublime shared inside East Side Storytellin’ if I was to ramble on an on here about my show memories if I tried to recount every personal detail that made me happy so I shall leave you with descriptions above and let you digest the full story in the link mentioned and the recording below for yourself. It is a treat and you are welcome. Thanks be to Rita.

The featured musician of the night is, like East Side Storytellin’ in general, unforgettable. I said during the previous show that this guy is someone who needs no introduction. I am a man of my word if nothing else. So, jumping right into a stage of AWEsome, get ready for the sounds and stylings of another true original in the recording below and if you’re not ready … too late. It was honestly one of the great honors of my life to this point to introduce  the one and only, the man, the myth, the legend … my Nashville hero, Dutch Whisky!

But Dutch did not come alone. Flanked on boths sides by Ferd, Xatticus (the X is silent y’all), his lovely bride Brandy Alexandria, and first name Del last name Camino, Dutch grabbed his guitar and tackled the stage like only Dutch does. He wasted no time with introducing the first song as an ode to his first true love, his Monte Carlo. An innocent song about a spaceship of sorts that shook his world and changed him forever, his Monte Carlo put a smile on everyone’s faces. Then, showcasing a tender, romantic side of his ego, Dutch belted out a song about dating and stating he’d walk a 100 miles to find the love that came into his life. Not stopping there, Dutch shared a song about the life and death and love for his mother with a song about how she cooked and killed it on a skillet.

photo credit - Connie Chornuk

photo credit – Connie Chornuk

Needless to say, the first act of Dutch Whisky, tempered down to perfectly fit into the intimate, acoustic set at The Post, was something made of magic. He continued his instant classic set with a special ode to his teenage daughter and how a real woman should act with Prom Promise Me. The gem I took from that one was that MeMaw is always watching us from above so we need to mind our P’s and Q’s.

At this point in the anniversary show, my face was starting to hurt. I was not meant to live like The Joker and the permagrin I was holding in the front row was about to burst. It didn’t help that the next song, I think called One Hot Mess, gave more beautiful and zany and touching desciptives than a classic novel while relating Dutch’s dream girl to a bunch of exotic foods. I still can’t get the circus peanut toes out of my head. In one word … BRILLIANT!

How do you follow up brilliance? Dutch tops himself with a run of three songs for his finale that I dare you to find can be outdone in this city and life in general. He made us all believer in miracles with his hit Miracle Baby, singing and asking how someone can’t believe in miracles if two ugly people can make a beautiful baby tonight. This was followed by a cover that’s not really a cover (like yoga pants … I can’t make this stuff up), titled All my exes send me texts. Again, instant classics. But, Dutch saved one of his best and trademark love songs for last and dropped the mic with the ultimate love and car and car and love song called Truck You.

You really do need to just listen for yourself. Here’s a game to try on for size. See how long you can listen to the show and musical performance before you simaltaneously bust a gut laughing and blow your mind from the musical talent from this man and his loyal and ever-changing band. I thought Emily was going to go into labor 2 months before her due date at one point.

In the end, Rita and Dutch joined me on stage together to take pictures and talk about storytelling and stories past, present, and future. The crowd was in stitches and, without a doubt in my mind, changed forever … happier than when they were before the show and these were all pretty darn happy people before the show, let me tell you what.

Before I give you the link to enjoy the edited show recording of East Side Storytellin’ 70 that featured the genius of Rita Bullwinkel and the brilliance of Dutch Whisky, I must add my final gem of the night. See if you can hear the wordplay and puns that Dutch dropped about playing in the spin-off sitcom of the hit show Nashville by playing East Side Storytellin’ at The Post. Major points for anyone who emails me the link between ABC’s Nashville and East Nashville’s new version of A Different World. Seriously, mind blown, y’all!

The entire East Side Storytellin' posse plus 1 in the belly photo credit - Connie Corchuk

The entire East Side Storytellin’ posse plus 1 in the belly
photo credit – Connie Chornuk

So here it is, the recording of East Side Storytellin’ 70, the 3 year anniversary show that featured Rita Bullwinkel and Dutch Whisky at The Post on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. We started on an election night in 2012 and we managed to top the ratings again and win more life-long fans and supporters than most who won at the polls this particular night at your nearest voting precinct. Here’s to many more years and success for East Side Storytellin’ and our friends Rita Bullwinkel and Dutch Whisky!

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

You can read more about Rita Bullwinkel’s writing here- www.ritabullwinkel.com

You can listen to more of Dutch Whisky’s music here- facebook.com/DutchWhiskyMusic

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 recording and sound maestros of Tom Eizonas and Dave Eastman. Without their help and teamwork, this show would never have made it beyond the first one at Rumours East years ago.

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show and the great art he makes for every show. Clay makes our world look better and we are grateful to call him friend.

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

To 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 say thank you from the top, bottom, and sides of my heart. Your support and love means more than you’ll ever know.

I’d also like to give one special shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large. It is by far the most fun and welcoming place I’ve ever experienced good art and the future is brighter than ever.

Last, but certainly not least, big love goes to my lovely wife and the most talented artist in Emily Harper Beard (efharper). She is everything to me, and everything I do good in this world is because of her inspiration.

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 70 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

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 71

Tuesday, November 17th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Joseph Powell (jobychronicle.blogspot.com)

singing- Nick Flora (nickflora.com)

 

PS –

Tom Eizonas & Dave Eastman, as another surprise gift to mE (Chuck Beard), put together this very special compilation of one song from each show from the 3rd year of East Side Storytellin’. Now I give it to you to enjoy and share and spread the word about every show in the past and future.

East Side Storytellin’ is a bi-monthly live event that we record and edit into an hour long podcast/radio show. Recorded live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month since November 2012, Chuck Beard brings together and hosts local writers and musicians in a spectacular show that lets the talent do all of the shining. The writers read their original works, beginning promptly at 7pm, and then are followed by original storyteller sets of music by the featured musicians. After the last note is played, Chuck gathers up all of the featured artists of the night and moderates a casual conversation about the guests’ creative processes, artistic journeys, and special ties to the Nashville area. It is generally over by 8:30pm, FREE to attend, and a great time had by all present (there is also artist merch, food, and spirits to purchase each round while you enjoy the show). Beginning in November of 2012, East Side Storytellin’ has consistently showcased the best of what Nashville is about to everyone taking a break from their busy lives to join in the fun.

This special compilation tracks shows we hosted during the 2014-2015 season at Mad Donna’s, Riverwood Mansion, and The Post.

See www.eastsidestorytn.com for more information or email chuck@eastsidestorytn.com

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Eastman, the man and legend … the voice.

Now, welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 47 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’ve all arrived at this spot, here and now, to get y’all cultured up just right in the form of a local Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, this is East Side Storytellin’ 48, the 2nd anniversary show.  Let us begin, again.

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

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

Oni Woods

Oni Woods

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

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

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

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

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

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest)

John Paul Roney (Boom Forest)

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

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

words on words on smiles

words on words on smiles

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

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

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-48-oni

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

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

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

You can read more from Oni Woods here – http://www.ounstoppablepoetry.com

You can listen to more from Boom Forest here – http://www.boomforest.com.

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

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

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, 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’ 49 event will be …

EAST SIDE STORYTELLIN’ 49

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

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

Who will be featured- author Alecia Whitaker (www.aleciawhitaker.com) and music by Alissa Moreno (www.alissamoreno.com).

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

Much love,

mE

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

 

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

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

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Sara Beck, Keel Hunt, Park Chisolm, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas

Sara Beck, Keel Hunt, Park Chisolm, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas

It was one year ago, on Tuesday, November 6th, on a cold, rainy election night when we started making this cool idea into a reality.  It seemed like and continues to seem like an obvious, perfect combination of inviting local authors to read from and describe their printed work, showcasing local musicians that perform and tell the stories behind their original songs, and then having them talk together about their adventures via Nashville.  On that first fateful night last year, the author, Ann Shayne, was caught in traffic and running late.  The music, The Smoking Flowers, did a take or two extra on one of their songs.   Tom and I worked together on the fly for the first time, setting up the make-shift stage the best way we knew how.  And I sat in a shorter chair than the guests while looking up to everyone, talking about their creative journeys up to that point.  Everyone that was present loved the format, the energy, and the night.  In the beginning, it was a beautiful mess.

Starting over at Rumours East, then moving to Fat Bottom Brewing Co a few months later, and now calling our home Mad Donna’s for the time being, the core format for the show has pretty much stayed the same.  That said: we have had the extreme honor and pleasure to spend time with and promote some of the finest writers and musicians that call Nashville home.  It has truly been an extraordinary ride and I know everyone says it, but I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a year in the making.  I’d like for anyone reading this here to give a collective round of applause at your computer for the artists that have made 24 previous shows possible.  With your continued support and passion for keeping this idea alive, I foresee a lot more East Side Storytellin’ shows in the future.

Keeping in our beautiful mess, learning as we go and grow approach, and featuring the best of what’s around, it was an extra special something in the air at Mad Donna’s on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013, when we helped East Side Storytellin’ turn 25.  Our show that evening was definitely going to be one for the history books from the get go.  That night, again emphasizing the pinnacle of local origins, I decided to go with another unique theme.  In my opinion, whether it’s from the inside out or the outside looking in, nothing says Nashville over the long haul quite like Vanderbilt University.  Vanderbilt was in full effect because the author was published via Vanderbilt University Press and the music was provided by two alumni.  But, as always, I let the talent of the evening and their art reveal their authentic connections beyond labels.

WE made the HEADLINES!!!! art by Clay Brunton

WE made the HEADLINES!!!! art by Clay Brunton

The 1st anniversary featured author brought a powerful and poignant work to the show that was serendipitous with its election night topic.  A most-talented scribe who campaigned for Lamar Alexander in 1978, later worked as Alexander’s speechwriter, and who was a political operative and a former reporter for The Tennessean, he is well versed in the topic he chose to write about.  He is also president and founder of The Strategy Group- a public affairs consulting business established in Nashville in 1993.  He has consulted with the likes of The Ingram Group, BellSouth, Vanderbilt University, and The Frist Foundation.  Basically, he knows and has worked with some pretty influential people in this city to say the least.  The bio credentials could go on for days, but I’ll let the recording below of our featured author speak for himself.  Ladies and gentlemen, I was not the only one in the room super excited to listen to the author of Coup and much, much more … Mr. Keel Hunt!

Keel took to the stage like the pro he is when speaking in front of people.  I couldn’t help but reminisce about one of our alumnus authors in that of Bill Friskics-Warren and his reading from his book I’ll Take You There back in East Side Storytellin’ 3 when I first heard Keel begin his lecture.  It’s fairly obvious to me that when both Bill and Keel are speaking about their books, they are instantly smarter than I’ll ever be.  In fact, they aren’t just smarter, I feel like I’m getting smarter by simply listening to them speak so passionately and eloquently.  Suddenly, I feel like I’m back in college, sitting in a classroom, with a professor that I was very lucky to get into their classroom at all because everyone wants to take their class.  It’s true.  What ended up being about a twenty minute talk by Keel could have easily have turned into an hour or two more and I don’t think anyone in the room (besides Tom recording and thinking about editing afterwards and possibly the drag queen bingo peeps waiting in the wings after the show) would have minded at all.  It was a beautiful lesson of local politics and history, and I for one can’t wait to read the book he mentions below.

Keel Hunt

Keel Hunt

Then, after Keel was finished with a few personal anecdotes, it was time for the music.  This night’s featured music was a very special returning guest with a guest.  As a complimentary musician with really cool shoes and even cooler sounds, he played guitar alongside James Haggarty (Haggs) to support his friend and the amazingly talented musician Tommy Keenum over at Fat Bottom Brewing Co. for the highly successful East Side Storytellin’ #19 on August 6th, this past year.  And speaking of lending his creative craft to help showcase other names you may already know, this guy has played with the likes of Emerson Hart of Tonic, Bo Bice of American Idol fame, Jo Dee Mesina, and also another East Side Storytellin’ alum that is better than all the names I just listed by a mile in that of David Mead (ironically, the featured musician alongside aforementioned Bill Friskics-Warren, full circle right on).  From time to time, this guy also plays with a band called Modern West- a band led by the famous actor Kevin Costner.  Back at home, he is one-half of the extraordinary musically-inclined married couple beside his better half of Sara Beck (who was present on stage with him this evening), and he was more than ready to share what was currently on his heart and mind for everyone present.  I was over the moon excited to have the opportunity to introduce and sit front row and listen to the talented Sir Park Chisolm!!

Park and Sara took to the stage like the pros they are because that’s what they do too.  They write original songs and play them like it’s nobody’s business.  Gosh, we were lucky to hear them play.  Park, normally letting other people sing his songs, took a personal trip right in front of us to revisit some old songs and finally play out some that he hadn’t done in public in quite some time.  Although Park was a little hesitant at first about telling stories before the show because he never really had done that, he opened up in between songs telling the most fascinating background details of personal stories, collaborations with other major artists, and explaining his processes for each song he performed.  It was truly something special.  And with a song or two being a contribution to the tv series about the Hatfields and the McCoys that aired not too long ago, it was great for me and a few others in the crowd who had watched the series to witness the personal twist and talent that Park and Sara had put forth to make a great project even better because it had them in it.  Bottom line, hearing and seeing both of these two perform together was a wonderful treat for all fortunate to be there in person.  I highly suggest you get out and catch them when they perform again.

Sara Beck & Park Chisolm

Sara Beck & Park Chisolm

After the crowd applauded the music and Sara left the stage, it gave me the opportunity to ask Park about how he met his bride back in the day and decided to call Nashville home.  I served he and Keel questions on the spot about their personal ties to Nashville and why they continue to make amazing art in and for their creative community, and they both knocked out their answers out of the ball park with ease.  In fact, one of the questions, and I’ll let you listen below, even impressed Keel (yep, I had a moment and felt smart for a second too).  That said, it was an absolute honor to share the stage with these artists that helped make the 1 year anniversary celebration for this ongoing idea called East Side Storytellin’ so spectacularly special and near and dear to my heart (and I think others too).

You can listen to the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 25 right here (and share it with others all over too if you so choose):

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-25-keel

Also, before I say many thanks to a few people, I’d like to give you another amazing gift for visiting this page.  Tom Eizonas & Dave Eastman, as a surprise gift to mE (Chuck Beard), put together this very special compilation of one song from pretty much each show from the first year of East Side Storytellin’. Now I give this compilation (cd’s 1 & 2 combined) to you to enjoy and share and spread the word about every show in the past and future.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/1st-anniversary-of-east-side

Now, for my special 1 year anniversary THANKS!!!

I can’t say enough words of thanks for all the people and guests that have made East Side Storytellin’ possible for a year and going, but here are a few names that come to mind.  Adam Binder, Ali Foley & the Rumours East family, Chris Haston and the Fat Bottom Brewing Co., Everyone that worked at and made WAMB Radio so special.  Dave Eastman for introducing me to WAMB and Tom Eizonas.  My good friends Alex Smith and Clay Brunton for making artwork for pretty much every show we’ve had so far.  Tom Eizonas, for rolling with the punches, always being solid and dependable, and for making me and the show sound professional.  You’re the best sound man/recording-editing guy around, and a killer guitar player too!  To my wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard (efharper.com) for always supporting me with the good ideas and telling me when the others are bad.  I loves you more than words.  And thanks to everyone who came to any of the shows, once or more than 20 times.  Last but not least, thanks so much for all of the musicians and authors that have taken time out of their busy schedules to donate their art to this idea.  There would be no show with y’all.  And with that I’d like to have you give (at your computer, mind you) another round of applause for anniversary guests in Keel Hunt and Park Chisolm (and Sara Beck).

With one birthday under our belt, I’d like to invite you to the next East Side Storytellin’, #26, at Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street) on Tuesday, November 19th, at 7pm, with the Black Bird Can Write poet Nicole Branigan- www.blackbirdcanwrite.com– and musician Kim Logan- www.kimlogan.net.  Until then, have a great life and be nice to one another.  Thanks again for helping make this and every show we do possible.  Good night and be nice to one another in YOUR beautiful mess.

The end is the beginning!

The end is the beginning!

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Jamie Zoe Givens, Chuck Beard, Molly Felder, Bill DeMain, Tom Eizonas

Jamie Zoe Givens, Chuck Beard, Molly Felder, Bill DeMain, Tom Eizonas

I can’t believe that I just wrote and said that number above.  Twenty-one shows that we have put together for East Side Storytellin’.  Over the course of ten months, we have had three friendly locations, and over forty-two groups of Nashville artists that have shared amazing talent to those willing to give us a chance and listen.  East Side Storytellin’ 21, the one we just had on Tuesday, September 3rd, at our new location of Mad donna’s, was certainly one for the books.

Although we’ve had twenty-one shows so far and counting, this one was the first for several reasons.  First, it was the first time we have ever featured poetry and spoken word for the author of the night.  It was the perfect time to shake things up a bit and do so.  This was the first show that we have had at Mad donna’s (further from the bookstore than Rumours East, but closer than Fat Bottom Brewing Co. and right down the street from where we house the books.  Above all that, I was really excited to get the chance to put a spotlight on the work and performances of Jamie Zoe Givens.

I had been fortunate enough, through the bookstore and mutual friends, to see Jamie perform a number of times this past year.  She is transcendent.  In my opinion, she is the premiere performance poet anywhere around.  She has been a regular on the Nashville poetry scene and local coffeehouse stages since the mid-90’s, and her style and delivery has been a benchmark for anyone with a notion to do spoken word for miles and cities around.  She is also the treasured author of the collection titled “Never Offer A Chair To A Dancing Girl” – sold at East Side Story on the regular, so come get your copy after you hear some of this (www.eastsidestorytn.com for details).

Jamie took the stage and totally rocked it like the star that she is.  Also perfect timing for this poetry featured moment was the fact that Jamie recently started chemo treatment for a big battle against cancer.  She got the news shortly before I asked her to perform this, a month or so ago, and she was such a trooper.  We had our trademark Christmas lights for a background deal, but Jamie was a bright light that out-shined all of the decor we could muster.

Jamie did something really extraordinary.  You won’t hear all of it on the recording below, but she set up quite the performance.  First, she read from vintage newspaper clips and journals about her great-grandmother and the stories that she lived and shared to inspire Jamie.  Then, Jamie played a recording of her great-grandmother re-telling some of these stories and characters and moments.  Finally, she put the books down and did some heartfelt spoken word right from the heart.  It was more than words and simply fascinating to witness from the crowd.

After Jamie took her just applause, I was fortunate to introduce another first of the evening.  This show was the first time that I’d ever had a second-time musician on East Side Storytellin’.  You see, I had featured Bill DeMain with his group Crackerboots as the last show in December 2012- see here http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-4-jt-crackerboots-121812/), and now he was back with his all-time favorite band of Swan Dive with the partner of Molly Felder.  These two, like Jamie on the poetry scene, have been making music together since the early 90’s around Nashville.

Over the past twenty years, Bill and Molly have constantly renewed their approach to music-making, adding fresh instrumental flavors and collaborators into the mix (such as with fellow East Side Storytellin’ alum David Mead- see here http://eastsidestorytn.com/3-is-definitely-a-magic-number-for-east-side-storytellin/), these two talented musicians always exude a heart full of hope with feelings of uplift and optimism, tempered with an undertow of melancholy.

 

Bill and Molly took to the stage like the pros they are and they also lit up the scene.  At one point of the set, I attempted an experiment.  I tried not to smile, and I found it impossible to do that while enjoying every song and note they played.  Their stories , homage to Buddy Holly, and they way they mix creativity with their own realities and personal journeys were really something to experience firsthand.  Every song made everyone in the crowd smile and tap their feet from their seats.  It was such a good time.

And speaking of such a good time, I believe I’ve found my East Side Storytellin’ muse in that of Bill DeMain.  With two musical guest appearances on the show, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be the equivalent of Steve Martin and/or Paul Simon as a multi-talented featured guest as soon as I can have him appear as his world-renowned pen name of Sterling Huck.  During this show, Bill took a moment to read from his latest book that you can now only purchase online (hopefully we can get some in print at East Side Story soon enough) by the title of “The Return Of The Sterling Huck Letters.”  You can listen to the recording below and get a taste of the brilliance and hilarity.

Bill DeMain as Sterling Huck (www.facebook.com/SterlingHuck)

Bill DeMain as Sterling Huck (www.facebook.com/SterlingHuck)

That said, after the music ended, before the lights when out and the drag bingo show began upstairs (never a dull moment at Mad donna’s on Tuesdays from here on out if I do say so myself), I took a second to talk with Bill, Molly, and Jamie altogether.  We only spent a few minutes talking collectively, but overall it was a fun time to chat with a couple of people with such little ego and such immense talent.  One thing you can always expect from an East Side Storytellin’ show, besides amazing music and prose, is that pretty much all of the guests that donate their time and talents are people that you’d want to hang out with and get to know more on a personal level.  These are some of the most authentic and profound Nashvillians out there, trust me.

I just can't stop smiling from all of these shows and wonderful, talented people in Nashville!

I just can’t stop smiling from all of these shows and wonderful, talented people in Nashville!

Before I give you the link for the recording, I’d love to share a round of THANK YOU’s to several people that helped make this event happen.

First, to my wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard (www.efharper.com), I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without your heart, help, and support … I can’t say that or that I loves you enough.

Two, to Tom Eizonas, for recording these shows and helping make everyone, especially me, sound great to everyone who comes to the shows and listens to the links afterwards.  You always put a lot of heart and soul into the shows too.

To the people of Mad donna’s, thank you for giving us the perfect setting for the growth of this show.  I foresee great things and events happening in the near future due to this new relationship.

To Jamie Zoe Givens, you are an inspiration (have I said that yet?).  Your spoken word is always brilliant, your family story is one to admire, and you are always spot on.  I can’t think of a better person to feature with poetry on this show and anywhere and any time in general.  I’m so glad to call you friend.  Stay strong and know you are never alone.

To Bill DeMain and Molly Felder (www.swandive.org), the honor was all mine.  I know that sooner than later, that you will have just as much success in the US as you have overseas.  Whether it is with your music, your writing, or just the awesome people that you are all the time, Nashville and me and everyone you work with is better for having been around your smiles, work ethic, talent, and optimism on life.  THANK YOU for taking the time to make our lives happier.

Now before I go for now and prepare for the next East Side Storytellin’ show …

here is the hour long edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 21 that we recorded from this monumental evening.  Enjoy, listen to it over and over as much as you like, and please be sure to share all of this and this link to any and everyone you know who appreciates Nashville and all of the creative talents that make this city so great right now.  Thanks!

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-21-9-3

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

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

Who will be featured- Ben Burr (author of The Nashville Poems) and music by Tim Easton (www.timeaston.com).

 

The t-shirt to help raise funds for Jamie's passion of Poetry in the Brew and her fight against cancer ongoing.  Find shirts at East Side Story- 1108 Woodland Street, Unit B

The t-shirt to help raise funds for Jamie’s passion of Poetry in the Brew and her fight against cancer ongoing. Find shirts at East Side Story- 1108 Woodland Street, Unit B

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Chuck Beard, Dave Coleman, Tom Eizonas, Mike Pentecost, Dave Ray

Chuck Beard, Dave Coleman, Tom Eizonas, Mike Pentecost, Dave Ray

I must admit that it is quite a treat for me to have the chance to sit back and reflect on these shows just days after they take place.  It’s not like these are just the run-of-the-mill shows either, in case you haven’t been paying attention.  If you haven’t been paying attention to East Side Storytellin’ shows so far, after nearly a year, shame on you and I might have to de-friend you on Facebook or friend you just so I can de-friend you on Facebook.  Seriously,  you are seriously missing out on something extraordinary that won’t last forever and only has so many rain checks for you to take advantage of experiencing such amazing shows … I stress the word seriously here.  Don’t believe me, check this show out below.

August 20th, 2013 marked the 20th edition of East Side Storytellin’.  I’m not one too much for numerology, but 20 seems like an A-okay number to me.  Aside from the number 20 all around, it was also the mark of a unique Blue Moon – also the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Full Red Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.  What all these moons had to do with East Side Storytellin’ and the people involved, I do not pretend to know.  What I do know is that it was one hella time had by everyone there.

The featured author, Mike Pentecost, is quite the storyteller.  He’s been featured several times as a guest speaker and storyteller and token male for the monthly comedy series called That Time of the Month (http://www.that-time-of-the-month.com).  Side note, the creator of said series is none other than the wonderful East Side Storytellin’ 11 alum author and comedian in Melanie Vare (revisit her show here- http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-11-laughter-the-day-after-april-fools/).  But back to Mike, he is a man of the church sermon writer turned faith on humanity and comedy non-fiction, out of this world funny, storyteller.  You can see how he captivated the audience in this one picture below, if you aren’t tripped out by the panoramic shot.

Mike Pentecost is the author of the most true, most hilarious collection of stories involving Greyhounds I’ve ever read.  It is called Bus People, and you can come get a copy of it at East Side Story today, if you don’t have one already.  Short hand, it is thirty days on the North American roads with several charismatic, stranger than strange nomads traveling on the same buses as Mike.  It is an honest, wonderful trip that Mike wrote about and pleasantly continues to share with anyone willing to get on the bus with him.  You can listen to a few excerpts that Mike shared with the crowd on this particular evening to see if you’d also like to buy a ticket to ride.  You can hear it in the SoundCloud link below, and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed for giving up a few moments of your time.

And speaking of time, it was about time that I finally got around to having two of the coolest musicians I know on this show for the first time.  I call them Dave and Dave, but they normally call themselves The Coal Men when on stage performing together.  They are both two solid guys, managers at two successful Nashville businesses (one is at Ugly Mugs Coffee and Tea, and the other is at See Spot Eat and also Dogs and Kat: Dog Training & Behavior Counseling).  As I mention in the recording, I met both of these gentlemen via their smart, also very successful better half wives, but this is what they look like when they are having fun out on the town at night playing original songs that kick are.

Yes sir (and ma’am), Dave and Dave of The Coal Men are one of a kind as a group.  Dave Ray, on the drums, is usually bouncing out of his seat with a pop usually seen in only one other happy drummer I’ve ever seen (on the internet) in that of Sir Ringo Starr.  This specific show, Mr. Ray stood up the entire time and kept the beat and back-up vocals in check while smoothing out every song as only he could.  Dave Coleman is hands down one of the finest guitar players in a city filled with people trying all day and night to do half of the things he can do in a 3 minute song.  As mentioned above, you can listen to the songs and stories in the link below that contains the edited show, but you can bet you’ll be hard-pressed to find another singer and guitarist in town that can shred away all of the nonsense dressings and get to the artistic core of every song that he sings and plays.  It is really something, for lack of better words here.

But yeah, after the songs were played, and the crowd finished clapping (that took awhile after this show), I was yet again fortunate to stand and talk with all three of the fine featured guests of the evening.  Some nights in the past, some shows have been hard to pull out answers and stories from the guests.  This was not one of those nights.  I’m not sure if this was when the Full Moon and all of the other moons described kicked in, but I’m pretty sure that we could have talked for another two hours with no problem.  I felt truly blessed to be standing by three grown adult men who have been brave enough to pursue their dreams, find a balance of family and working lives, and also just plain appear to get it.  It’s not every day when you are able to converse with such remarkable guys, and I know I was not alone for being in their presence for that time being.  The crowd and myself were better people for having listened to their art and their personal stories.

You know someone else who might be better for listening to their art and stories, it might just be YOU!  Here is the chance, on the link below, for you to take a trip back to Tuesday, August 20th, at 7pm, to experience what you either missed or want to experience again, over and over.  Be sure to like it if you like it and share this page and post with others.

 https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-20-8-20

Here’s another something that you won’t want to miss out on.  This was the art print that my dear friend and artist Alex Smith made for this show above.  It’s truly amazing, if you look closely and back at the others that he has made for each individual show, how he transforms the links of the featured guests that I send him (sometimes he only sees the websites and listens to a few songs), into something that totally captures the extraordinary events to remember it by- doing so before they even happen!  Take a moment and check it and his work out here:

art by Alex Smith

art by Alex Smith

 

And one more final round of Thank You‘s, before I tell you about the next show coming up in September.

To Emily Frances Harper Beard (www.efharper.com), you are my everything.  I can’t say anything else because everything means everything!

To Tom Eizonas, you make us all sound amazing while recording the show and making sure that everyone in the crowd hears every word and note as it is intended to be heard.

To Alex Smith, I think I just said a majority of what I want to say here in the paragraph above, but you are so amazing.  Thanks for sharing your talents with the world.

To Chris Haston and the Fat Bottom Brewing Co. family- www.fatbottombrewing.com, THANKS for allowing us to call your place of business our little place of home for a few nights a month since February.  We have had an absolute blast while highlighting the best of what you guys are about and sharing all of our stories and talents together.  This will definitely not be the last time we all come together and have fun for East Side Storytellin’s sake.

To Mike Pentecost- http://mikepentecost.blogspot.com, thank you for going on your bus adventure in the first place.  Thanks to your wife for letting you go and write this too.  I know it took a lot of courage to put ”normal” life to the side to make this story happen and then write about it, but you have done a tremendous job so far and I have no doubt many many more people will take note of it going forward.  You are an inspiration to your kids and wife and more people than you know.

To Dave Ray and Dave Coleman- http://thecoalmen.com, you guys are two of a kind.  Not only did the big random police raid at The Family Wash not deter you from rocking that place til’ the end of your set, but you totally made August 20th one night to not forget any time soon.  Your talents are obvious, individually and together, and much appreciated by everyone that knows and loves you.  Like Mike, this is definitely only the beginning to your creative journey, and I want to thank you for letting me and East Side Storytellin’ be a very small part of that trip.  I look forward to shows at Key West and beyond.  Basically, you guys ROCK!

But this is not the end of East Side Storytellin’, by any means.  We have a change of plans, for location only really.  We are already booked every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month through the rest of 2013 with some of the finest local authors and musicians in Nashville so don’t you worry.  The thing is, as we are always apt for change of scenery and to adapt the show where it needs to go next as long as it keeps on growing and going, we are moving it, beginning September 3rd, to Mad donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)- just down the hill and street from East Side Story bookstore!  We will have an open-air patio to play on when sunny, and we’ll have the cool upstairs event space to get out of crappy weather or the cold air coming sooner than later.  Also, the month of September will feature local poets as the featured authors for the first time in both shows.  Here is the information for the next show to take note of and attend with all your friends.  Don’t be scared, it’s FREE!

But we aren’t finished quite yet!  We’re just getting started.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

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

Who will be featured- Jamie Givens (author of Never Offer A Chair To A Dancing Girl) and music by Bill DeMain & Molly Felder of the band Swan Dive (http://swandive.org).

 

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East Side Storytellin’ 19: When the Black Chokeberry met its match in Tommy and the Tomato (Fest, that is)!

August 9, 2013

  Once again, our no rain dance prayers were answered.  Looking back, it was the calm before the flood of ’13.  Looking ahead before the evening of August 6th, 2013, I was doing more than one little no rain jig in the bookstore, hoping that the scattered showers by morning and afternoon would get rid […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 18: Where East Side Story had a great big whale of a time

July 24, 2013

  On Tuesday, July 16th, I was close to going crazy.  I’m not talking about putting me in an all-white jumpsuit without finger access, tied up in knots, toss me in a padded room and throw the key away kind of crazy.  But, with the 6th week of a 6 week Masters program semester at […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 17: Where Virginia was for lovers … of great literature and music moved to TN alike!

July 10, 2013

  In the middle of the fun madness of life with MFA studies at Sewanee, such a 1st world problem to discuss, I was so relieved to get back into the East Side Storytellin’ pattern of hearing other people reading and singing instead of myself doing both in and out of my car and bookstore.  […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 16- When THE BOOK was read and Carolina Story and East Side Story done done it again! WOW!

June 23, 2013

Wow!  I can’t say it enough after experiencing what I experienced on Tuesday, June 18th, at Fat Bottom Brewing Co.  If you weren’t there, I’m not sure that words can put it all into context.  I shall try. Yet again, the random Tuesday morning showers cleared the skies for a beautiful evening to be seen […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 15 – Where Mr. Mojo Risin’ finally found a brain and the Watkins lady too

June 6, 2013

Hello again and welcome back to another recap for another amazing East Side Stortyellin’ show that was experienced on the evening of Tuesday, June 4th, in the most lovely of Nashville weather with some of the coolest people around.  To preface a lovely evening without stress, I should let you know why I changed my […]

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