Karl Dean

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 – www.matturmy.com

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

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words

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

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

art by Clay Brunton

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 100

Tuesday, February 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- John J. Thompson (www.33andathird.net)

singing- Phil Madeira (philmadeira.net)

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,

mE

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Tom Eizonas, Chuck Beard, Lagnajita, Matt Walberg, and Thomas Grant

Tom Eizonas, Chuck Beard, Lagnajita, Matt Walberg, and Thomas Grant

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU, and hello again! Welcome to another wonderful artistic Nashville collaboration from East Side Story. Let me be the first to officially and whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 86th edition of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 85, I repeat … 85, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules and the current storms 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. This is East Side Storytellin’ 86. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is not your ordinary teenager. In fact, she epitomizes the definition of what an extraordinary young adult should be. She is a recent graduate at Nashville’s historic Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. She became Nashville’s First Youth Poet Laureate, and she has read her poetry at Nashville’s City Council, Mayor Karl Dean’s State of Metro address, Nashville Public Library Studio NPL’s opening, MyCity Academy Graduation, TEDxNashville and Mayor Barry’s inauguration, and a honorary night of original poetry dedicated to the legend Bill Brown here at The Post a few months ago at another East Side Story event … to name a few. In addition to publishing her book, this is our war, of which you can purchase at East Side Story, this young lady has also published in Nashville Arts Magazine, The Tennessean, and on the Poetry Society of America website. It was a huge honor to once again introduce this literary star in the same venue as I did before. Her parents and everyone else in the crowd joined me in a big round of applause to introduce the one and only Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay.

Lagnajita (pronounced Log-na-jeeta), stepped up to the microphone and was the consummate professional. Obviously, from her bio with her extensive event experience, she had done this sort of thing before. That said, she was an old soul beyond her 18 years. To me, she was dynamite. And when I say she is like dynamite, she is compact and still in stature, but she is an explosion of everything awesome life has to offer when she opens up and shares her original poetry. Her voice is calm and smooth, but her content and depth of perception will rip your soul and forever change it for the better. I’m serious. She is this amazing.

photo by Chance Chambers

photo by Chance Chambers

Lagnajita has a tremendous gift of articulating her life experiences and journey into fantastical worlds where anyone who is listening to her share her stories can instantly relate and dive head and heart first into what she’s giving you. It is quite the experience that, once again, is beyond my words so I’ll let you listen to the recording below to get all the feels.

Like Lagnajita, our musical guest of the night is one of the most positive people I know in Nashville. Our featured musician for this show is a man who not only wishes people Happy Birthday in writing on your Facebook homepage, he also takes the time to write and record extra special shout-outs despite being an amazing father and hard-working American. The two biggest super-country stars in Nashville history, Dutch Whisky and Atticus Jackson, both say that this man is the only musician in the entire world who they’d actually pay to hear live. If you know either one of those guys then you’d know just how serious that comment is because neither one of those guys pay for anything … ever! That said, since the admission of this show was free, I made a special note for everyone to pay extra close attention to the words, positivity, and talents of our musical guest and his mission. He is always ready to share his music in ways for everyone to enjoy incredible entertainment experiences at the drop of a hat and this night was no different. He, in fact, dropped his hat once or twice. Nothing was gonna stop him from being awesome and nothing was going to happen that stopped me from being excited to finally introduce this guy. So, alongside two very talented friends, Thomas Grant on the bass and Hilary Romaine on backing vocals, I was super-country proud to introduce the leader of Matt Walberg and The Living Situation in that of the one and only Matt Walberg!

Never one to be shy on a mic or in front of an endearing crowd, Matt grabbed his guitar and spoke of how excited he was to try his music at the storytellin’ aspect of shows. He started with a song about a man on the run from the woman he loves. Then, he told us about the background of his most recent hair cut and his everyday mantra of accepting life as it comes your way with his title track It is what it is (take a moment to check out his cool video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHOOVaCfdjk).

Matt did his fair share of talking to the crowd about how he approaches life, his art form, fatherhood, and basically everything that was on his mind that related to his songs and the crowd on hand. It was yet again one of those performances where I felt like I was at church on a Tuesday but also at a church that was more about delivering about how can we learn from each other and our failures to do and be better versions of ourselves and find the truth behind why each of us our here … you know, instead of a church where you simply hear quotes from centuries past or get preached at. My point being, you can listen to the songs and the discussions we all heard at this show from Matt and interpret your own impressions and go forth however you feel is best afterwards.

And speaking of discussions, this was one of the nights and shows where I could have stayed and listened to and spoken with these two artists for at least another hour without trying to get more time out of them. They both have gifts of looking at the world around them and solving the quintessential problem of what is our individual purposes for being alive here and now. So, in a city that is filled with brilliant poets and some of the finest musicians in the world, these two souls stand out for everything good they represent … AND with their work ethics, they only aim to get better by the day. In the end, I’d say that’s all we all can ask of ourselves. So, for that alone, I am forever thankful that these two people agreed to share their talents for me and the rest of the crowd and East Side Storytellin’ family, especially on the day with my explanations below the recording.

Here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 86, that featured Lagnajita and Matt Walberg (with Hilary Romaine and Thomas Grant) on Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 at The Post:

photo by Chance Chambers

photo by Chance Chambers

Before I leave you with this recap and recording to share with others, I would like to share the post I wrote on Facebook the day after this show took place. I will just quote it in its entirety below this paragraph before we get started with this show. And let me also add that the day following the day that followed this show, I felt the need to post something else do to another unjust crime in broad daylight that is tearing our society and world apart. Point being, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile could have been any one of our family members or friends when push came to shove and shoot. It’s time we come together and start loving one another and trying to understand what’s really going on and has been going on. #blacklivesmatter!

Here are my two Facebook posts:

1-So thankful I was able to experience the insightful and overwhelmingly positive creative messages of Lagnajita and Matt Walberg last night at East Side Storytellin’ 86 because up until 7pm I was in quite a daze, a funk, and speechless. The dreary, cloudy weather didn’t help my afternoon but it perfectly reflected my mood and attitude for the current state of affairs in our country. I have always been well aware that I live a life of privilege being a white male in the USA. Luckily, I was always taught by my parents that I am no better than anyone else, regardless of race, money in the bank, title on paper, or any other factor. Yesterday, I was reminded again that real change needs to happen in our society NOW. I am not a politician or a police man or someone who has much pull at all outside posting here and talking about it with friends and people in my bookstore, but I’m willing to hear opinions and thoughts of different ways I and you and WE can help make things better and fair. I’m sick to my soul seeing non-whites abused daily for not being white and/or “christian.” I’m also deeply sick of seeing the rich and powerful not being judged by the same rules as regular citizens (I’m not a lawyer either, and can’t say if someone should or shouldn’t be indicted, but all I know is if I was in that position with the FBI that I would be in jail already).

I’ll stop ranting, but, like I said above, I’m open to and really yearning to listen to my friends here to see if y’all have any good ideas of what I and you and WE can do going forward. We must move forward and we gotta do it together.

Much love to ‪#‎altonsterling and his family and friends today and for everyone else being abused unfairly and unjustly today and tomorrow.

PS- I vote in every election, but still not sure if it ever counts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14yff0qC8vs

2-I read this tweet this morning and couldn’t agree more =

Dear @NRA (National Rifle Association) ,

Since ‘All Lives Matter,’ I await your statement supporting legal gun owner and police shooting victim ‪#‎PhilandoCastile.

Today.

-@MsPackyetti

PS- With so much chaos and hatred keeping us up right now, I am thankful for the platform that GoFundMe has provided by supplying an outlet for friends and strangers to give money and support and hope to families who are left in the cold and too often times confused and alone to deal with these horrendous and criminal repercussions = in less than 9 hours, the ‪#‎altonsterling page received over $200,000 … now it’s closing in on $300,000 and counting. In the darkness of today, I consider this a light from a candle that won’t burn out anytime soon.

PSS- I love you.

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

You can read more about Lagnajita’s writing here- www.facebook.com/lagnajitam

You can listen to more of Matt’s music here – thelivingsituation.com

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website, www.eastsidestorytn.com, at our In Our Own WordsTab – see here – www.eastsidestorytn.com/in-our-own-words



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

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

art 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’ 87

Tuesday, July 19th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Matt Johnstone  (hemouthsmewrong.blogspot.com)

singing- Drew Kohl  (drewkohl.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 86 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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