Florida

RJ Bracchitta, Abigail Flowers, Tom Eizonas, James Collins, 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 116th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 115, I repeat … 115, 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’ 116. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a published poet who has earned a wide variety of writing credits that include plays, musicals, book adaptations for theater, national advertising copy and articles for the St. Petersburg Times and other publications. He has also written non-violent curriculum for schools. He taught creative writing for 6 years for 2 Art Councils in Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. Since moving to Nashville, he has written and published 5 books for children, as well as 3 books of poetry…such a slacker. On this given night, we were honored to have him share some new, fresh off the kitchen counter, original work with us. I’m talking about the always refreshing and talented James Collins.

James kicked off his set by announcing to the crowd that he is weird, his words are weird, and this reading was going to be weird, all while shuffling through his prepared work that he had continuously edited and prepared up until the last second. Some of the poems had lines through the title, and those lines were put there mere minutes before the show started. That’s how fresh this material was. I told James during the pre-show that sharing creative work that nobody has ever heard or seen before typically gets an astute audience even further on the edge of their seats. This is exactly what happened as James began to deliver his “weird” poetry.

But the thing about it was that none of the poetry or reading was weird at all. James knew exactly where he was going and how he wanted to take us with him, as we walked hand in hand with his poetic walk in the park. And this walk took us places such as trying to find love, natural love, hidden treasures while making journeys through men’s work from the head to the heart, and then several poems about the art of aging. Despite the comedic, self-defecating comments about James aging more than most in the crowd (obviously, like the laws of gravity, we are all aging at the same rate in this room), I think the aging content and ideas behind our various processes of accepting our everyday age increase were spot on and absolutely brilliant. Then, after nearly dropping the mic with a poem about the recent eclipse experience, James ended with a cure and a remedy speech as his official/unofficial encore (as demanded by the crowd). There are so many great lines that I took note of during James’ set, but the overall adventure between birth and death was at the heart of it all … it always is.

Our featured music of the night was provided by someone who was making the third time a featured charm since she had already shared the East Side Storytellin’ stage as a friend to Ally Brown and Kira Hooks. She is a versatile vocalist with a passion for great melodies. Since picking up her first ukulele in 2011, she has been busy combining her smooth vocal tone with the instrument’s simple sound to produce an intimate and emotional musical experience you will soon behold. But on this particular event, she left the trusted ukulele at home and instead brought her trusted and talented friend RJ Bracchitta on the guitar. But back to the featured musician. She is a vocalist and songwriter with specialties in jazz, Latin, and singer-songwriter styles. And she has a heart and voice of gold. I’m talking about the bright star on the meteoric rise named Abigail Flowers.

Abigail, who came straight to the show from a church choir practice, immediately brought us good karma, good stories, and a great lead song called “Bobby.” She told a short story behind the song. It was about a homeless man/friend she met while doing social work for a year in the Houston area. It was a journey of questions about life, heaven, and everything in between. It was clear that her time in Houston had been a profound experience because she went into another original song about other long-distance friendships from that time right after Bobby.

From Houston to family inspired songs, Abigail opened her heart and her vocals by sharing the sweetest 60th anniversary gift any granddaughter has ever made and given to their grandparents. As is the case in most of these recaps, I can’t fully give the story or song justice more than you taking time to check it out yourself in the recording below, but know that there were quite a few eyes in the crowd that needed tissues = happy tears, of course. But then, switching from family to relationships with boys who love Hanson, Abigail and RJ revved up the rhythm and soon began playing harmonies off of each other like a dance. They ended the set with a song called “Enough.” It was a beautiful reminder that there’s nothing out there when you’re searching for the wrong things, but there’s more than enough in the world when you are searching for the good stuff. And she sang that we get more things by giving it all away. I couldn’t have said or sang it better on this given day.

From the music ending, I let RJ jump back into the audience while asking James to return to the stage. Then Abigail and James took me on a quite the conversation about their creative upbringings, adversities, support and lack there of, and honestly articulating what makes them tick each time they go to write new material. They have a few years and different insights between them, but there was a similar passion for finding and sharing the truths they find to be self-evident in their stories. It was an absolute pleasure to share some quality time together while talking with these two humble and great artists.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 116, the show where we featured James Collins and Abigail Flowers (with RJ Bracchitta) at The Post East on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. Feel free to enjoy and share it with everyone you know, over and over again.

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

You can listen to more of Abigail’s music here – www.abigailflowersmusic.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.

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’ 117

Tuesday, October 17th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Carter F. Smith

singing- Ali Sperry

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 116 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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Nathan Wahlman, Aaron Wahlman, Becca Mancari, VeerajaR, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Nathan Wahlman, Aaron Wahlman, Becca Mancari, VeerajaR, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Hello again and welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially and whole-heartedly welcome you to the 82nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’. Like the previous 81 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 listening 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 of the featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. So without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 82. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of this evening is an admired poet and well-published scientist. Born and raised in what is now Sri Lanka, she earned a doctorate from Marquette University and has been a faculty member at a variety of medical schools in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and right here in Nashville at Vanderbilt University ever since. She is currently calling Nashville home as a trusted consultant Scientific Editor living in middle Tennessee with her three children and loving husband of nearly 30 years. She is the c0-author of the devotional Resurrection Reflections and has been published in the anthology Filtered Through Time (which is also sold at East Side Story alongside her poetry collection titled Joy of Being). She came prepared to read a little from everything she’s done and she was welcomed with the joy and open arms of a packed post house. I’m talking about the likes of the poet known as VeerajaR (pronounced Veera-ja-R).

photo credit Chance Chambers

photo credit Chance Chambers

If you’ve never heard VeerajaR read anything or spoken to her at all, then you really can’t grasp the magic in her voice. She uses words like the rest of us use on the daily, but the way she says them takes it all to another level. In one of her poems about a good morning with God, she must have said the name God at least 30 times. In the thick of this presidential election season, where most candidates and television talking heads use religion and the name of God with various intentions for any given vote, it was more than refreshing to hear the word God with its purest form of love, peace, and understanding as VeerajaR recounted them throughout her prose. I made the off-hand comment after the show that there was a distinct difference between the way she said and meant God than our Republican figure Ted Cruz does on the daily (special note, it wasn’t too long after this show aired when Mr. Cruz dropped out of the race for good = possibly a coincidence, but I digress).

VeerajaR took her time explaining each poem, the back story of where and how she got the idea to write each one and also the intricate details of how each writing session empowered and inspirited her in the creative process. I haven’t heard too many writers that talked about the material at the same time she delivered the material in such a refreshing and original manner. Like her book Joy of Being, the entire reading set VeerajaR curated was filled with faith, spirit, hope, awe, and prayer that would make a literary believer of anyone listening. Don’t believe me? Take a listen to her words in the recording below. I also made another off-hand comment afterwards that if I was ever to have an autobiography published (not on my bucket list at all), I would request that VeerajaR be the voice on the audio book because she would make my life seem more interested and add a deep, spiritual tone to it that could connect with everyman. Seriously she’s that great. Take a listen below and thank me later. But, before I get to the music of the show, I do want to say, sticking with the religious elephant in the room, I’ve never heard more thoughtful proverbs than the set of haikus that Veerajar finished her set with before taking her seat. Each were profound and simple at the same time. She made it appear easy to write and yet very easy to follow at the same time.

Our featured musician of the night is someone who has already made a backing appearance on East Side Storytellin’ way back in East Side Storytellin’ 41 with now new mom Sara Marie Thompson. This lady is not only an extremely talented musician loved by pretty much every other musician in town, she is also a traveler and storyteller to the core at heart. She’s lived like a gypsy from Staten Island, Florida, Zimbabwe, Virginia, India and Pennsylvania, among others, and she has collected plenty of tales while spinning sounds and stories while on her journey. She makes songs that mix the organic stomp of American roots music with the approach and attitude of raw rock & roll. Her music is a snapshot of a musician who’s still on the move, constantly writing songs about the people she’s met and the impression they leave. I asked the crowd to give this young artist an unforgettable impression of applause so she might just write a hit song about us in the future. I’m pretty sure Becca Mancari is writing that song as I type.

photo credit Chance Chambers

photo credit Chance Chambers

Becca is a true original.  A lot of people have heard her Summertime Mama song recently in the Lightning 100 spin cycle, but we’ve been privy to hear her magic for awhile now. Like her journey to Nashville, Becca’s songwriting has been a long process of finding the right stories after living a lot of them. I’m not saying her songs are all autobiographical. What I am saying is that she’s doing a lot of living to inspire herself in between writing songs that in turn inspire us. One such song and tale told about being moved by a poem while working as a part-time janitor was called Long Way Down.

Becca treated the show like I always envision them, like a perfect blend of your favorite house/cafe show. She drew the crowd in with her humility and humor, and slayed the moment with her poignant and poetic stories told through hauntingly great melodies. She, like VeerajaR, makes sharing creativity appear easy and that is no easy feat.

Becca busted out a few brand new songs and one that she had never sang in public before this show. I was not alone in the room to appreciate such dare to share. And, like several of Becca’s friends who have played the show before, she brought up a few musical friends from the crowd. She ended up eventually coaxing her good friends and bandmates and brothers in Aaron and Nathan Wahlman to come up on stage and help sing a lovely cover to bring the great set to a close. Like a true professional, Becca had a plan for us before the show started and she perfectly executed it to entertain and enlighten us all.

And because I always have the opportunity to ask the featured guests some personal and deep questions about their creative processes and passions, the above is a visual take on what you’ll hear in the recording below. The entire night had a casual and meaningful flow of positive energy throughout and it had everything to do with Becca and VeerajaR. A lot of people tell me great job after the shows are over but all of the credit truly should go to these featured artists who give their time and talents to us for the price of the time we take to experience their show. I’ll stop rambling now and let you hear what happened on the night mentioned above right here. These ladies say everything a lot better than I could ever write it.

Here is the recording of East Side Storytellin’ #82 that featured the likes of VeerajaR and Becca Mancari at The Post on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016:

 

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

You can read more about Veerajar’s writing here- www.joypoet.com

You can listen to more of Becca’s music here – www.beccamancari.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.

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’ 83

Tuesday, May 17th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Justin Quarry (http://as.vanderbilt.edu/english/bio/justin-quarry)

Singing- Megan Palmer (http://meganpalmer.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 82 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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Pete Lindberg, Amanda Elend, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Pete Lindberg, Amanda Elend, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to the recap and recording of another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 66th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 65 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’ 66. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was someone who moved from Los Angeles over three years ago to start the baby-making process closer to her Southern-very large family in Florida. With a dog, two cats, and a healthy toddler to make their plans to build that family zoo complete, she currently stays busy working at home in East Nashville where she writes and produces web shows (for money) and young adult fiction (for love and possible future money). She has said that she gets stupidly excited about books, cool breezes on hot days, and anything that makes her son laugh with his entire body. A graduate of Eckerd College with a double major of Creative Writing and American Studies, we already knew she is wicked smart. She is a steady contributor for Nashville Mom’s Blog and has participated in five That Time of the Month shows (alongside being a featured author in the most recent That Time of the Month anthology released last month). She arrived read to share some of her original prose from that book and more. That Time of the Month founder, Melanie Vare, and many others in her close and extended family dropped everything and gave a rumbling applause for one of their favorite people and writers in that of Amanda Elend.

Amanda stepped up to the microphone and immediately made us laugh and feel at ease by introducing her contribution to said anthology with some classic lines describing several things that her husband, also in the crowd, told her on the side when she was pregnant with her son, also in the crowd. I’ll let you read the book and listen to the recording below to find out some of these gems that he can never take back, but I will say that I was belly laughing from the word go. Amanda read an endearing story about the first night the married couple spent in their then new home in Nashville and how one of them got themselves locked out of the house in the middle of the night while the other slept through every attempt of the person locked out to get their attention. Again, I won’t spoil the ending for you so you can drop by East Side Story to purchase this story and several other instant classics in that anthology.

Amanda split her time between the anthology story and another that she has been working in progress as a young adult novel. It was a quick switch in time and tone, but you could tell from her delivery and point of view that she is on the right track for where she wants to go with it. I believe by the time she finished the excerpt she decided to share for the event that she had everyone in the crowd wanting to hear and read more. That is all any author can ask for in the end.

The featured musician of the night was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and session musician who came highly recommended to me via our good mutual friend, the talented musician with a new release coming out this same week’s end in that of East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Erin Rae, also in the crowd. Originally from Gloucester, Massachusetts, it hasn’t taken him very long since moving to Nashville the first and second time to find his place among other bright stars on the music scene such as Cale Tyson, Luke Bell, the Western Swing outfit Johnny Appleseed, and another East Side Storytellin’ alumnus in Caitlin Rose. A member of a group of Nashville musicians known as Santa’s Ice Cold Pickers who perform every Sunday night at Santa’s Pub, we are more than lucky to finally have this guy on stage with us and welcome him to our East Side Storytellin’ family. He’s a picker like few you’ve heard in some time in this town, and a man who plays anywhere from straight-faced to smiling on a dime as he always takes just the right amount of serious for whatever the occasion calls for. Erin Rae was far from alone when putting her hands together to help put a smile on this guy’s face as we all enjoyed some real good pickin’ and singin’ from the likes of Pete Lindberg.

Pete, as all who know him already, is such a natural. He picked up his guitar, grabbed a stool to sit down comfortably, and then took us all to a place far beyond the walls of East Nashville. His first song was a ditty called “For Holy” and was about cats and what cats and men do and don’t do, like you do. Somewhere in the repetitive line of it being a “beautiful day under the Mexican sun and it’s a beautiful day to be on the run” I personally was swept out to a North American Southwestern frontier setting with Pete as my guide and soundtrack. He went from cats to describing a very personal and deep tale called “To Get a Feeling Back” inspired by rough times and friendships back in Gloucester (again, you really need to listen to the recording to hear the backstory to its fullest). But then, maybe combining my visions of the Southwest and then personal tales of chasing memories and people, he dropped the bomb of the night with the song inspired by Chuck Jones’ character of the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. With a unique sound effect ending and all, this was one of the coolest songs I’ve heard in quite some time.

In the end, Pete finished up with a few other songs that were equally as awesome as what came before and he completed his set with a final song where he mentioned Erin Rae had covered at a recent event where a lot of great local musicians who are all friends (including some of the names listed above in Pete’s introduction) each covered the others’ favorites. I’m looking forward to checking out the next round of this fun before all of these talented musicians take their skills to the masses and world at large and we don’t have the chance to see them play so close to home so often.

After the music, I yet again had the chance to talk to the featured guests about their experiences that brought them both to Nashville and the people that have made their Nashville experiences so special to each of them. I don’t mean to keep saying listen to the entire recording for the whole truth and big fun we had, but listen to the entire recording below for the whole truth and big fun we had. We talked about college, teenage pregnancy pacts, heroine, Mt. Everest, Santa’s pub, and so much more. I can’t tease the recording any better.

That said, HERE is the edited version of East Side Storytelln’ 66 that featured Amanda Elend and Pete Lindberg at The Post on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015. Enjoy and share it over and over … because you can:

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

You can read more about Amanda’s writing here- @amandaelend

You can listen to more of Pete’s music here- @peteontheipad

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

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.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 67

Tuesday, September 15th

At The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Nancy Vienneau (nancyvienneau.com)

singing- Kat Milk Blu (facebook.com/katmilkblu)

Well, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 66 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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Hannah Leigh Lusk, Chris Banke, Abigail Dempsy, Tonya Lewis, Chuck Beard, Joel Keller, Tom Eizonas, Betsy Thorpe, Benjamin Lusk, and Jesse Thompson

Hannah Leigh Lusk, Chris Banke, Abigail Dempsy, Tonya Lewis, Chuck Beard, Joel Keller, Tom Eizonas, Betsy Thorpe, Benjamin Lusk, and Jesse Thompson

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU for taking a moment out of your busy schedule to pop on here and check out the next amazing thing we have put together for you. As always, you will not be disappointed. Just your luck, you have found yourself smack dab in the middle of the 58th spectacular edition of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 57 previous shows East Side Story has curated, several very special Nashvillians gathered in order to get everyone present and beyond cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician (band of musicians in this case) 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 the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 58. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the evening was a notable Nashville freelance writer that specializes in reflections on historic and current events. I first met her via another Betsy and East Side Storytellin’ alumnus, Betsy Phillips-another outstanding Nashville historian and fiction writer in her own right. This show’s Betsy is someone who has studied folklore and ethnic anthropology at the University of Oregon and is a scholar of early 20th century southern culture and history. She is an honor member of the Belleview Harpeth Historical Association and the Nashville, Chattanooga Preservation Society. She is a member of Nashville Historic Inc. and the Cowan Railroad Museum. Among other awards bestowed upon her writing and research, she was honored last year by being invited to contribute to the Nashville Encyclopedia. On this night we all got together, she shared stories from her first book, The Day the Whistles Cried: the Great Cornfield Meet at Dutchman’s Curve. It was my honor to introduce the likes of Betsy Thorpe.

Little known fact, Betsy was surprised when I asked her to actually read several portions of the book for the audience. She had only prepared for a few paragraphs, having never done an official reading of her book before to any group or audience before. She overcame her nerves, with the help of her friends and our support in the crowd, and got comfortable after a few minutes. It didn’t take long for her to dive into the heart of the history and the people involved within her wonderful book.

Betsy talked a little bit about how Betsy Phillips read and wrote a cool review about the book and how it read like an episode of Law & Order, and that this Betsy had never thought of it that way but she had watched an enormous amount of the television series (as have most women I’ve met in general). That said, Betsy did a superb job of setting up the horrific tragedy that is written in her book. She told individual family stories and also covered the racial factors in the event as well. You can listen to the reading below, but take my word from this that it is definitely worth coming to East Side Story to buy a copy for yourself and your friends. It is an important historical event in our country that hasn’t received its deserved notice until now.

And speaking of deserved notice, straying a little from the normal template, I had a very special change in the script for the show when one of Betsy’s good friends by the name of Joel Keller (you may remember him beforehand as The Singing Cabbie) jumped on stage with the featured musicians of the night to share his original song called “Dutchman’s Curve.” It was a throwback melody that pretty much told Betsy’s book’s story to music. It was a treat, especially after seeing the rehearsal outside before the show. It felt like I was at the Opry with some old newcomers and the house band and audience knew they were witnessing something extraordinary. Again, you can here the song in the recording below.

Then, after being so kind to share the stage with a stranger to their lot, the featured musical guests of the evening filled the stage with smiles, heart, and so much positivity that there wasn’t any room for another person to jam with them after they got going. They were a full band of wonderfully talented musicians. Specifically, they are a Nashville-based Americana quintet, with members hailing from the great states of Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. Comprised of 5 songwriters, each having their own distinct sounds & styles that beautifully blend into one cohesive voice, their music is rooted in family harmonies and flavored with guitars, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and good ol’ fashioned foot stomping percussion. I first found out about this band via the most recent member to join the band in Jesse Thompson, but I was over-the-moon excited to introduce, sit back, relax and enjoy, and even add my foot stomping percussion contribution to the mix for the newest set of local musicians to steal our hearts away and join our East Side Storytellin’ family … I’m talking about Chris Banke, Abigail Dempsy, Benjamin Lusk, Hannah Leigh Lush, and Jesse Thompson. I’m talking about Forlorn Strangers!

Seriously people, the place was packed and it wasn’t because people were lining up outside the entrance to watch me sing. The band took their places, got started right away, and never looked back. Before each song, the person who wrote the song mentioned a few reasons why each song was so special to them and what kind of place the message behind the inspiration spoke to them and hopefully reached everyone listening. I believe each one did. The members of the band, whether it was their brilliant technical skills on each instrument or the selfless manner they conducted themselves as one unified team of awesome, made the performance seem so easy. Yep, that’s the word for this band and what they have going on. It’s so good it seems easy. It’s easy to listen to, relate with, be inspired by, and apply to your own experiences and goals going forward.

I honestly can’t say enough great things about this band. Each song, even the one that made fun of an old love and her sisters in Cleveland, Ohio, made my heart smile and I was definitely not alone. I know someone sitting behind me was really moved by the song titled “Whiskey and Water,” among the rest. “Bottom of the Barrel” was one of my favorites because it got the crowd foot stompin’ and singing along like it was church on Tuesday night (and I’m not talking about a reserved church service either). But I think that the entire show’s overwhelming sense of wonder and awe and positive emotions can easily (see, that word again in one form or another) be revealed and relayed in the moments captured during the final song of the set in that of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had A Hammer.” I was privy to sitting right in front of the band and at one point, as the majority of the crowd was singing along, one of the band members got so choked up in a good way that tears came down during the song. The show and the song kept going, but it wasn’t long after the last note and before the applause ended when the girls took a moment to get some tissues. THAT was quite a moment to share and experience = another moment and reason where East Side Storytellin’ separated itself from any other ordinary music performance in Music City. The featured guests and friends in the crowd became one big ball of positivity and it was something to see, hear, and feel.

After several people broke out the tissues, I was fortunate to get Betsy and Forlorn Strangers to stick around and talk a little bit about their beginnings for their stories and music independently. I won’t waste your time here writing about it more when you can listen to the show below in its entirety for yourself. I just want to say that it was another night where and when I was completely humbled to shed some sort of spotlight of appreciation on some of the most talented people that you will learn to love hearing and reading their stories for many moons and years to come. I’m serious people, go ahead and buy the books and get online and buy the music for these people and be sure to take the time to see them perform in person whenever you get the chance again. I know I will!

Here, edited down to the perfect size to enjoy and share over and over, this is the recording of East Side Storytellin’ 58 that featured Betsy Thorpe, Joel Keller, and Forlorn Strangers:

Before I say goodbye for another round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Betsy Thorpe, Chris Banke, Abigail Dempsy, Benjamin Lusk, Hannah Leigh Lusk, and Jesse Thompson, for sharing their stories, talents, and good time with us.

You can read more about Betsy Thorpe‘s work here – www.thedaythewhistlecried.com/betsy-thorpe.html

You can listen to more from Forlorn Strangers here – http://forlornstrangers.com

You can listen to previous shows, edited as well, here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

I’d also like to show much love to artist Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork for the prints printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging (www.5pdi.com) to celebrate this occasion.

art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis of 5 Points Digital Imaging

art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis of 5 Points Digital Imaging

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas for the sound and recording tasks it takes to put this together, to my lovely wife Emily Harper Beard for everything she does for me and this world, and to everyone who came out to see the show live and who continues to spread the word and support the show online afterwards. Thank YOU all.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Tonya and Chris for letting us have more fun at The Post and for everything they do for the community and world at large.

The Next East Side Storytellin’ will be East Side Storytellin’ 59!

Tuesday, May 5th (Cinco de Mayo)

7pm sharp at The Post East (1701 Fatherland Street)

Reading- Chance Chambers – http://chancechambers.com

Singing- Lilly Hiatt – http://lillyhiatt.com

That’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 58 and another fabulous event at The Post. Thanks for coming out and visiting this page to remember how special this show was to everyone who helped make it happen. Thanks for sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and all of our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there. Thanks and good day your way.

much love,

chUck

ps- Here is the best cover of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had A Hammer” that you’ll ever hear … fact!

One more shot of Forlorn Strangers doing their thing for the road. Catch them when you can!

One more shot of Forlorn Strangers doing their thing for the road. Catch them when you can!

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Jewly Hight, Angaleena Presley, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas.

Jewly Hight, Angaleena Presley, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas.

Thank YOU for visiting this page, hello, and welcome to another fun edition of East Side Storytellin’. You have found yourself smack dab in a reflection of a big celebration for quite the milestone. This is our 50th show. I repeat. This is our 50th show! Just 50 more until 100 and possible syndication, and 49 more than our first show, if my math is right, right? Either way you look at it, welcome to the 50th episode. Like the 49 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 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 the recap and recording for East Side Storytellin’ 50. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of this evening was someone who has written about popular music for more than a dozen outlets- including American Songwriter, Relix, Nashville Public Radio, the Nashville Scene, Paste, No Depression, and more than six others. In a town flooded by talented songwriters, this lady is someone that bridges the stories of the singers and the people they are when not performing behind the microphone to the fans and everyone listening to appreciate the entire picture surrounding the music industry and why it is still so special for this town and in general. Born in North Carolina and raised in Florida, she earned a master’s degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. So, basically, you would be correct in thinking that this lady puts a lot of soul and southern goodness into all of her prose when she’s writing about music, the meaning of things, and pretty much anything she sets her heart on penning. Author of her debut book, “Right by Her Roots: Americana Women and Their Songs” (of which you can purchase over at East Side Story whenever you fancy) I was thrilled to finally get this writer on the show and to introduce the always awesome Miss Jewly Hight.

50 reading far

Jewly took to the stage in some killer pink boots and a copy of her book and other writings. She thanked the crowd and dove right into reading from the ending of her first book. She read from a portion that wonderfully explained the core of the stories hat made up the “Roots” project. The next excerpt, with her book aside, came from a story that Jewly wrote and was featured in an issue of Oxford American last year. Oddly enough, and coincidentally without probably know about the events at Mad Donna’s after the conclusion of our show, it was about Drag Queens and music and parties. I know that Tom and I weren’t the only ones in the crowd who took delight in the theme amidst our surroundings. Needless to say, it was perfect and fitting beyond words.

Jewly finished her reading by sharing bits and pieces from an interview that she did with the featured musician of the night in a prior gig. It was a perfect introduction to the musical portion of the show and surreal, at the same time, for me knowing that we would have an interview sandwich of sorts for the evening for a fun change to the usual format. Either way, Jewly was as thoughtful and insightful delivering her exquisite prose as her writing itself. I’m a big fan of her writing and you should too. Come to the store and buy her book, for starters … like NOW!

Now, back to the show, the featured music of the night kept the blue streak alive. The second featured artist in a row who was born in my own bluegrass state of Kentucky, this girl made her grand debut in a place called Beauty, Kentucky (I had to look it up on a map too). She’d like for you to know that she is a direct descendent of the original feuding McCoys, a graduate of both the school of hard knocks and college, a former cashier at both Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie, and is also known from time to time as a member of the Platinum-selling group Pistol Annies (alongside Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe). Hot off her recent release of her much-anticipated debut album, called “American Middle Class,” everyone erupted in applause for the one, the only, Angaleena Presley.

Angaleena jumped right into the role she says is what she was born to do, singer-songwriter extraordinaire. She also went on to say that she feels she was born to write songs and perform them because she isn’t good at anything else, but nobody believed her on that note. That said, it was quite refreshing for everyone to here Angaleena go into great introspective depth for each song and really share the details, the personal backstory details at that, for every song she sang.

When she talked about her lovely hometown of Beauty, not to be confused with the lovely town of Lovely, KY, I was totally blown away with the description details and wordsmithing she angled for some of the unique lyrics of “Dry County Blues.”  It was the first time in my life that I had ever heard the term “pillbilly,” but I understood exactly what she was relaying. That’s one of the best things, one best thing of many, about Angaleena and how she performed (as she always does, how Jewly later told me too). She paints a perfect picture of where she came from and how she grew up (not only detailing the location, setting, and specific characters, but also how she perceived everything as it happened), but the way she sings from her heart with immense skill and heart is easily felt by anyone listening with a heartbeat (even the drunk sailor in the background, aka Captain Morgan, of whom you can hear in the recording a time or two showing his love and Angaleena giving some right back).  I’m telling you, it was an all-around, storytelling’ session like few others. My words can’t fully justify what everyone there witnessed. It was that special.

After Angaleena sang her fair share of songs, including one from the days of the Pistol Annies, I was fortunate yet again to have the featured guests join me on stage for a quick Q & A. As you can listen below in the link of the show, it turned into quite the contest to see who could answer each question with the most entertainment value and honesty (or two shades of to the left of honesty in some cases to make the story just that much better of an answer in an attempt to win that round). Basically, Mark Twain would have been proud and thoroughly enjoyed the charisma and character and content that both of our featured guests of East Side Storytellin’ 50 provided to everyone for a very special night.

Angaleena must have won this round with an answer that made me laugh out loud and rolled Jewly to her side #winning

With all of these words above us, I’d now like to present to you the golden opportunity to listen to the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 50. You can listen to it countless times by just re-clicking it, over and over, and you can share it with as many people on and off-line as humanly possible. In fact, why don’t you share it with as many people as you can and let me know how many humanly possible is. There might be a prize for the winner. Either way, enjoy this prized link right here and now:

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

art by 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 Jewly Hight and Angaleena Presley for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more from Jewly Hight here – www.twitter.com/rightbyherroots

You can listen to more from Angaleena Presley here – http://www.angaleenapresley.com

 

I’d also like to show much love to 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/

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But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

EAST SIDE STORYTELLIN’ 51

TUESDAY, December 16th, 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- poet Tiana Clark (www.tianaclark.com) and music by Deli (www.facebook.com/delicolortempo)

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That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 50 show. I repeat. That’s it for East Side Storytellin’ 50! 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

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