Kristin Weber

Kristin Weber, Carter F. Smith, Tom Eizonas, Ali Sperry, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 117th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 116, I repeat … 116, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 117. Let us begin, again.

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

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

b/w photo of Monk Eastman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to more of Ali’s music here – alisperry.com

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

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

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 118, the 5th anniversary show

Tuesday, November 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Dana Malone

singing- Solar Twin

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 117 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

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Bret MacFadyen, Tom Eizonas, Kendra DeColo, Chuck Beard, Lauren Shera, Kristin Weber, and Shelby Means

Bret MacFadyen, Tom Eizonas, Kendra DeColo, Chuck Beard, Lauren Shera, Kristin Weber, and Shelby Means

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 our 75th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! I’ve heard that diamonds are the traditional gift for a 75th anniversary and that diamonds are a girl’s best friend so it’s fitting we have two extraordinary ladies to feature in this silver anniversary round of fun. Like the 74 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 out of the cold 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’ 75. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night is the author of one of my favorite poetry books in East Side Story called Thieves in the Afterlife. I’m not alone in loving this book because it was named the “Favorite Nashville Poetry Book of 2014” by the Nashville Scene. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Verse Daily, Third Man Books’ Language Lessons Vol. 1, and many more. She has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Millay Colony, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is the book editor at Muzzle Magazine and guest teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. To say that this writer is talented would be the understatement of the year. Nashville is a better place to live because of her and we are lucky to have her here tonight. The featured author of the night and soon to be poetry mommy of the year, it was an absolute privilege to introduce the likes of the talented Kendra DeColo!

Kendra brought her words and a shining pregnant glow to the stage and then set the perfect mood with a calm, soothing, sensual voice that would make Delilah jealous. Actually, as the night progressed and we took in Kendra’s poetry, I felt as though I was driving across the Western front of the US with the windows down and the warm night breeze and her poetry narrated the randomness of dreams through the radio and guiding us into another realm of reality altogether. She is that deep, y’all.

The tone and the tempo of Kendra’s musing was a perfect comfort from the budding freeze front rolling into town the night of the show. The passionate and complicated weaving of beautifully crazy motifs derived from wet dreams and dry realities came together and washed over us like a meteor shower. From gritty images from Christian Camps for girls to self portraits of the Virgin Mary watching Magic Mike to Donald Trump riding escalators in dreams to Natural Born Killers’ versions of wide-eyed Rodney Dangerfield being the honorary godfather of Kendra’s daughter to just being plain thankful for having teeth and good vision, Kendra DeColo drives the magic school bus for a psychedelic and therapeutic trip for anyone who is privy to listen to her mind flow. You can go on said trip when you listen to the recording below or go see her read in person when she comes out on maternity leave in a few months. I highly recommend both to expand your mind, body, and soul in the best of ways.  That said, she finished with some fresh poems that continued her amazing work found in print that you can purchase at East Side Story and beyond.

The featured musician of the night is someone who I personally counted as extended family while sharing a creative business location at The Idea Hatchery before ever knowing she played music. Beyond Haulin’ Oats and East Side Story being neighbors, this lady has made great strides with her music in the past year since releasing her album Gold and Rust. Her third album following two independent releases, the most recent has been well received in her new home of Nashville and beyond. Featured on Lightning 100 many times over, this lady has called her recent release a musical farewell to her home state of California, which is nice to hear about such closure since she spent the last year getting married to the love of her life and buying a beautiful house with land on the outskirts of Nashville to call home for her bright future ahead. Growing up in a musical family and raised in Monterey, California, this lady has already shared performing dates in the company of top names as Shawn Colvin, Jason Mraz, and Jackie Greene among others. Yet again, it was an absolute honor to showcase and introduce my friend, the amazing artist and person in Lauren Shera.

It’s appropriate that Lauren’s name is pronounced as “She-ra” because she totally reminded me of the 1980’s cartoon superhero by the name She-Ra: Princess of Power. Twin sister of He-Man, most people in the crowd didn’t know that Lauren had been confined to a bed from sickness a mere two days before this performance. Was she going to let that keep her down and out? The answer was a resounding NO. Before the show, we discussed her sound and she mentioned that some of her friends have said that some of their favorite performances of hers have been when she was forced to fight through being sick. Needless to say and flash forward, this was another performance for the ages. Lauren focused on every note and pitch and emotion to battle possible coughing bouts and anything detrimental to what she wanted to share and I’m proud to say that it was as moving and inspiring a musical performance as I’ve seen from an acoustic rocker in Nashville in quite some time. You can listen below for yourself, but give me a second to relate the highlights I enjoyed from the front row.

Lauren chanted songs about the act of releasing love, told a very personal narrative of living on the West Coast, dreaming in foreign languages, creating totally fictional stories of characters from a unique Valentine’s Day picture and then closing with a memoir-like prose of her move from California to life in Nashville. Like Kendra, everything Lauren did was personal, powerful, and one-foot inside her comfort zone while kicking the other foot out as far as she could to push and drive her own creativity and personal growth.

With only a handful of coughs and sips of hot tea to battle with in between songs, Lauren decided to close her set by bringing two talented singers and friends by the names of Shelby Means and Kristin Weber to help her take it all home for the night. I’m serious, y’all, you really need to check out this recording below and then go out and get all of Lauren’s albums online and in person. You’ll thank me in the morning.

After the music faded, I was again afforded the chance to stand and talk with both of these amazing artists to break the ice and close the distance even more between them and the crowd and post-show talks and congratulatory admiration while getting them both to open up more in-depth about the education and life histories and what has inspired and what continues to inspire them on the daily to create and do what they do so well. Just listen to the recording below and share with all you know so you can say you knew these ladies way back when before they were known by everyone outside of Nashville.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 75, the silver anniversary edition, that featured the Southern Delilah with child in Kendra DeColo and the superhero young Stevie Nicks with more bass and soul fighting off colds and any other sense of adversity in the air in Lauren Shera. This went down at The Post on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, before the ice storm and real winter arrived. Don’t worry. This recording will keep your soul warm until Spring if you listen to it over and over. You’re welcome.

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

You can read more about Kendra’s writing here- www.kendradecolo.tumblr.com

You can listen to more of Lauren’s music here- http://laurenshera.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 print by Clay Brunton

Art print 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.

THE NEXT Round of East Side Storytellin’ will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 76 

Tuesday, February 2nd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Kate Parrish (aimingforokay.com)

singing- Sarah Carter
That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 75 and the start of the best year ever in 2016 until the next 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

One more for the road before the baby comes

One more for the road before the baby comes

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