Jonathan Sexton

Matt Urmy, Tom Eizonas, Joanna Barbera, 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 99thepic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 98, I repeat … 98, 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’ 99. Let us begin, again.

Forget the classic Dos Equis men, past and present representation, the first featured artist of the night is, without a doubt, the most interesting artist in Nashville. A nomad since birth, Matt has planted roots and enriched the creative soil of Music City since first calling it home as a child. He has spent the majority of this life mingling with uber-talented and well-known musicians, writers, healers, entrepreneurs, outside-the-box thinkers, and culture shifters. He is the co-founder of Artist Growth, which just so happened to celebrate its official 5th anniversary on this very date of January 17th = you can thank the Facebook memory that reminded me of attending that party in 2012, but he is here tonight because of his poetry. The most interesting artist in Nashville, I’m talking about the one and only Matt Urmy!

Matt didn’t jump right into his poetry. Instead, he stepped up to the podium and threw down a lesson on language that was pretty much what every English professor wishes they could relay to their students. Unbeknownst to anyone on the room, Matt was giving us some real higher education about art and language and the power of words. He spoke eloquently about associative imagery, the power of finding the right word (whether it is in English or Spanish or something else) to fit the audible impact desired for the message at hand, and the overall process of how an artist creates and the audience experiences and shares that material. That said, he spoke in a way that made these layered lessons so simple to digest and relate to in our own lives. I knew from the start that this night and reading was going to be very special.

Matt did share a few of his own poems, all the while sprinkling in some of his favorites from other people who inspire him as well. His material, like the stuff he admires, aims to transcend while recording and expressing his everyday and deep thoughts on life and why we are here right now. He aims, and he hits the mark every time. He constantly explores his limits within his prose, seeking out meaning behind his purpose, and relates it in a way that you never feel intimidated or uninspired to go out and do the same thing in your life (all of this happens just by listening to him too). I’m telling you, Matt’s words and example is something to take note of in your world. Do yourself a favor and listen to the recording below, before you find out where and when you can hear him next. It was truly an honor.

Our featured music of the night is a mutual friend of two of my all-time favorite Lauren’s in Lauren Farrah and Lauren Shera (the newest super mom on the block). She is also a well-traveled artist who leaves impeccable footprints everywhere she goes. Influenced by personal relationships and all things ethereal (from religious studies to yoga and shamanism), her wandering spirit shines through in her spooky folk tunes. Her world travels turn to powerful prose set to meandering guitar and violin harmonies. Her work has been featured on Austin NPR, several TV shows on MTV, ABC, and NBC, and even on an international hit soap opera in Poland (that reminds me of the “We’re big in Denmark” comment from the hit movie Singles = watch it, if you haven’t seen it). With her upcoming EP IMAGO, I was humbled to introduce and showcase the lovely and super-talented songstress, Joanna Barbera.

Joanna took the stage like a pro. And by pro, I mean she didn’t flinch to have friends help her brush past a minor guitar strap repair that happened seconds before we were about to start her set. Despite what she said about herself, she was not moody or needy or anything other than an excellent human being. On top of that, she is an extraordinary singer-songwriter. She talked a little bit, but her songs spoke from themselves.

Joanna mixed in humorous banter and back story with songs that pulled at your heartstrings and left you exploring the reverb in your own heartaches. She sang about catholic school (one of my most favorite lyrics EVER about Jesus and Jim Morrison, listen closely), New York City, family, Mexico, and everything in between. I was starting to think that we needed to lock her outside in the rain with the karate man next to The Post or even further outside the city limits so she can write her next big hit about Nashville and her experience with East Side Storytellin’, but we’ll leave her to her own devices and creative processes. Either way, and any way you listen to her, Joanna make beautiful songs out of beautiful experiences. She is honest, candid, and everything I appreciate the most from artists who share their world and talent with strangers in perfectly lit rooms. No. That’s not creepy at all. That’s what happened. Take a listen in the recording below, if you don’t believe me.

photo by Chance Chambers

Per usual, I was gifted the opportunity to chat with both guests for awhile after their respective sets. It is something that never fails to light up my day and find deeper respect and appreciation for the city I call home right now that is filled with the most extraordinary people on Earth. Matt and Joanna were no different in that regard. We found out they were both born in New York, learned their love of making art from their families, they use Artist Growth like it’s their job (because it kinda is), and they are two bright stars who are excited about the future because they expect their best is yet to come. I’m glad we get to cherish what they’ve accomplished so far and stick around to see what’s next.

So, what’s next, you ask? Well, it’s time for you to listen to the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 99 that featured the tremendously talented combo of Matt Urmy and Joanna Barbera on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017, at The Post. Please listen lovingly and share with other friends, family, and strangers, over and over again. Enjoy!

I can’t thank Matt Urmy or Joanna Barbera enough, but I’ll do it one more time right here. THANK YOU!!!!!

You can read more of Matt’s creative endeavors here –

You can listen to more of Joanna’s music here –

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here –

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

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

art by Clay Brunton

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 100

Tuesday, February 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- John J. Thompson (

singing- Phil Madeira (

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 99, the penultimate show to #100, 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,



Chuck Beard, Alice Randall, Jonathan Sexton, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Alice Randall, Jonathan Sexton, and Tom Eizonas

WOW!  That’s about the only word I could come up with after leaving Rumours East on the night of Tuesday, February 5th, 2013, and experiencing the first-time meeting between Alice Randall and Jonathan Sexton.  If you weren’t lucky enough to be in the crowd sharing that wonderful evening with me, you are lucky to be here reading this post  with pictures and edited audio of the event below.

I knew long before the strike of 7pm, the time when we always begin our East Side Storytellin’ shows, that it was going to be another amazing meeting between unique Nashville creatives.  As soon as the very morning of February 5th, after I posted a reminder for people to RSVP for the show with limited seating still remaining, I was immediately bombarded with many friends on and off Facebook continually asking me how I got the tremendously accomplished Alice Randall to be a part of my fun idea.  My reply, as usual, was that I simply asked her directly and she liked the idea enough to be a part of it.  With that said, I was buzzed all afternoon to get the show going.

Unfortunately, right before the show began, I discovered that there would not be a special art print to commemorate this lovely evening as I have had for all the other East Side Storytellin’ shows up to this point and plan to in the future.  My always dependable and very talented friend and artist Alex Smith, had been very sick since East Side Storytellin’ 6 and just couldn’t find time and energy to pull it together.  Everyone was more hopeful that Alex would get better sooner than anything else or thoughts about the prints in the end.  We wished him the best and let the show go on.

Alice and Jonathan met each other cordially for a minor sound check with Tom and then relaxed as other friends and excited fans took their seats.  Everything lined up just right and we began another special evening.


I introduced Alice and it was a huge honor.  Alice was one of the very first well known published authors to answer the initial East Side Story call for authors back when we first opened that dream in August of last year.  That, along with the East Side Storytellin’ call, was something she did not have to do at all if she didn’t feel like it would be a treat for her and her fans.  Think about it.  Alice is a New York Times Bestselling author, an award winning Nashville songwriter, and multi-talented tv/radio/movie talent.  Basically, she is very well known and very talented with everything she is a part of along her extraordinary journey.  She has many titles under her belt to choose from for such a reading, and she chose an excerpt from her novel “Rebel Yell” because of the timing significance of the 50th anniversary of some of the actions in the book and what inspired her to write it.  You can listen more to what she said about it in the below link, but I just want to write again that it was an honor to have her with us at East Side Storytellin’.

After Alice’s second round of applause, I was again honored to attempt to match her talent and energy with that of someone I was/am very confident in everything he is about.  Jonathan Sexton has been a friend for a few years now, and his musical talents and genuine care for everyone he meets continues to amaze me on a daily basis.  As recent as the last 2 years, he has stepped aside from a promising musical career to launch a business called Artist Growth with several friends in order to help the musicians find their way easier and better.  Lucky for all of us, he is ready to jump back into the musical side of his passions and we are all better for it.  I appreciated the fact that he accepted the opportunity to share the stage with us and Alice, and I also appreciated the fact that the setting of our show seemed to fit his return to music just right.  As you will listen below, Jonathan’s new words, notes, and messages reveal the latest version of Jonathan’s growth as an artist and a person.

Without further ado, here is the link of the edited version of the East Side Stortytellin’ show as it was aired on WAMB Radio (1200am/99.3fm) on Saturday, February 9th at 2pm Central. 


Now I’d like to take a second to give thanks to everyone that helped make this show happen.

*To my wife, Emily Harper Beard.  She is the best visual artist I know and she is the most caring, giving, humble, and the main reason behind anything wonderful in my life.  I love her and obviously I don’t care who knows it.

*To Tom Eizonas and the WAMB Family.  Without your help, nobody outside of the people that came to the show would ever get to appreciate the magic that is East Side Storytellin’.  With your help, everyone that came to the show and those who couldn’t are now able to listen and appreciate what we’ve put together over and over again.  I want to say thank y’all over and over again.

*To Alice Randall.  Your talent is obvious.  Your words go beyond the page and straight to the core of who we all are.  Your energy is contagious, courageous, and boundless.  Thank you for being a part of East Side Storytellin’, East Side Story, and Nashville in general.  Nashville is a better place because you are here doing everything you do and calling it home.  Thank you for all you do!

*To Jonathan Sexton.  Big Love Choir or solo, you are superb.  I am proud to call you friend, honored that you call me friend, and always amazed by everything you put your heart and mind towards.  You always do what you are going to say and you always make good things better.  I am very excited to follow along your next step of your journey to see how many people are touched by your music, words, message, and life.  You are awesome.

*To Ali and the Rumours East family.  Thank you yet again for opening your doors and time to help our idea meet reality.  The setting, the employees, and the refreshments helped make another great night happen.  Thanks for everything y’all do for us and the East Nashville community.


The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Rumours East (1112 Woodland Street)

Get your RSVP on- call 615-262-5346 and tell them how many friends are coming with you.

Who will be featured-  Kevin Wilson ( the musical stylings of Amanda Shires (  This show will be sponsored by The University of the South: Sewanee’s School of Letters (


Tom Eizonas, Barbara Nowak, Beverly Pittman (cardboard cutout), Chuck Beard, Jason Goforth, and Julie Lee

Yeah, I said it.  East Side Storytellin’ 6, aka the night of January 22, 2013 where Barbara Nowak and Julie Lee first met, was just that … where fine wine and amazing women met.  I knew from the first reply from Julie about a month and a half before the night happened when she excitedly agreed to performing at the show because of the author being one of The Saucy Sisters that this going to be a fun night.  With two great women being the featured guests on the show, plus throw in the mix a roomful of wine lovers and music enthusiasts, it was the perfect blend of elements to make any ordinary evening into an extraordinary one.

art by Alex Smith and now limited prints left are sold at East Side Story

The night again kicked off pre-show with me helping to set things up with Tom and the gang.  Meeting up with Julie and showing her the wonderful original prints that my friend Alex Smith made yet again for the show was a treat to behold.   The first treat of the evening came when she introduced me to her friend who planned on playing several instruments with her throughout the show by the name of Jason Goforth.  It hit us both after about 2 seconds that we had met before at a mutual friend’s wedding over a year ago.  Nashville truly is a small city between circles of good people.  I love this town.  Anyways, the second treat of the evening happened as I helped the featured author, Barbara Nowak, get everything out of her car.  She needed the help because she not only had a box of books to bring into the establishment, she also had a larger than life-sized cardboard cutout of her sister Beverly and the other half of The Saucy Sisters.  She didn’t want to not fulfill her part of the agreement and going the extra lengths of getting her sister to town for the event was not lost on my smile.


With the cardboard sister on display in the corner, and the crowd ready to begin, I introduced the show as the first evening so far where the featured author was truly in her element like none other before or possibly to come.  You see, in case you know nothing about Barbara Nowak and her sister Beverly as The Saucy Sisters (, Barbara’s specialty is fine wine and dining.  The featured book of the evening that she was read from is titled “The Saucy Sisters Guide To Wine: What every girl should know before she UNSCREWS!”  Need I say more?  I shall.  Barbara took the stage and made it completely own.  She fought through dim lighting and small print to share a good portion of the story behind the journey from beginning to now of The Saucy Sisters and then dove head and heart first into a section of the book that turned me 50 shades of red.  You can listen to the link below and laugh for yourself; I don’t want to spoil all the fun.  But in all seriousness, Barbara’s talks, reading, and laughter, truly lit up the room and made everyone in the building feel better while enjoying and appreciating the art of good wine, good times, and good company.

Then, just when my blush began to fade, I had the honor of introducing Julie Lee and someone that was not a baby daddy in Jason Goforth (pun intended with listening more to her section of the show or checking out her website-  Julie’s songwriting and voice, like her visual artwork that she is very talented in as well, continues to amaze you with every word and note she reveals.  Every story and every song Julie sang and sings cuts past all of life’s dressings and hits you right to the core in the best of ways.  It is sweet, striking, deep, smooth, fast and slow, and everything in between.  Julie Lee might not be on any billboards or award shows at the moment, but like fine wine … give her time and she will be there sooner than later.  I must say, on the side of Julie’s songs, I was also equally blown away by the unique instrumentals and sounds that Jason created in the corner.  I say created instead of played because it felt like he was making sounds and elements of music that many in the room had never heard or seen before.  I believe on more than one occasion he played through some sort of antique telephone thing-a-ma-bob.  I think I’ll defer trying to explain through words here and to again pointing you towards the source’s website-


After the last note was played, I had Barbara visit the stage again and share it with Julie.  The two new friends (dare I say besties) were nothing but smiles while I asked them questions about their creative journeys and ties with the Nashville area per usual.  Both shared many experiences along their way with a lot of interesting, special people throughout an extensive path of traveling around the country and the world to find inspiration and their way eventually to Nashville.  I think I’ll just let you listen to the link below for yourself to enjoy the conversation and how it all went down.

Before I reveal the show’s link, I’d like to thank the following for helping make this show a reality for that specific evening:


1-  My amazing wife … I can’t say thank you enough, but I’ll say thank you until you say shut up (then I might say it again).  Thank YOU!  LOVE YOU!!

2- Tom Eizonas and the WAMB family … without you guys, the only people to hear this wonderful experience would be the people who pack the shows the night of the recording.  You all are amazing people and do great things.  I’m so happy to know you and honored to work with you.  We are just getting started!

3.  Alex Smith … you never cease to amaze thee.  Your artwork is unique and your fearlessness to grow as an artist is inspiring to everyone you know and everyone who experiences your creativity.

4.  Ali Foley and Rumours East … THANK YOU for opening your doors to us and our idea so that we can open doors for other talented people in our city that will sooner than later be knocking them down everywhere.

5.  Barbara Nowak … without you agreeing to come through on your original commitment to our show, it would have just been me reading excerpts from your book with two cardboard cutouts of both of The Saucy Sisters.  It would not have been half as entertaining or as fun.  You are such a blessing for all you meet.  Your passion for good food, wine, times, and friends is contagious.  I see many more good times and talks in the future.  Thanks for being a part of our adventure.

6.  Julie Lee and Jason Goforth … you both have extraordinary gifts with music.  The originality and creativity in both your music and the people you are do not go unnoticed by all of your friends, on and off Facebook.  You are surrounded by so many brilliantly talented, good-hearted people and I haven’t met one yet who says a bad thing about you or your music (not that I’m asking or looking for a bad note though as I’m sure you are laughing now reading this).  In fact, everything that is said is GREAT!  Thank you for taking time out of your winter schedules and making the effort to totally rock us.  We are all better for it and for knowing each of you.  Great things are soon to come your way (the fortune cookie told me so).


Without further ado, here is the soundcloud link for the show to enjoy:


THANK YOU for reading the above and below and for helping make this idea a reality.  If you haven’t been to a show, come to the next one!

much love,





The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Rumours East (1112 Woodland Street)

Get your RSVP on- call 615-262-5346 and tell them how many friends are coming with you.

Who will be featured-  New York Times Bestselling author Alice Randall ( and the musical stylings of Jonathan Sexton (