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Joshua Dent, Kira Hooks, Christina Stoddard, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas, and Ally Brown (Abby Flowers pictured in spirit … again)

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 112th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 111, I repeat … 111, 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’ 112. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is the author of HIVE … a work which won the 2015 Brittingham Prize in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin Press and was a finalist for the 2016 Washington State Book Award. More importantly, it had one of the coolest book covers we ever showcased at East Side Story. This artist grew up in Washington and has worked in both the Czech Republic and Japan teaching English as a foreign language and has said that they all speak better English than anyone down on Broadway any day that ends in day … I’m kidding about the last part, but the rest is true. Another truth, she earned her MFA from UNC at Greensboro, where she was the Fred Chappell Fellow. I’m not sure what that is but I know it’s important. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, storySouth, Tupelo Quarterly, and Spoon River Poetry Review, to name a few. She is super smart, an excellent writer, a supporter for everyone and everything literary everywhere she goes, and we were darn lucky to have her to save the day. You already know who I’m talking about, but I’m talking about the legend herself, Christina Stoddard!

Christina took a stand beside the tilted podium and jarred our minds right off the bat with some historical facts about serial killers from her hometown. A few names that inspired a few of her poems in HIVE, I won’t give them more credit than what they already have received but I will say that the combination of Christina’s background stories mixed with her prolific skills as a wordsmith pretty much slay anything most of the people present had heard in a hot minute. Christina’s poetry is pure fire.

Christina introduced us all to a yearbook signing of one said serial killer before he was known as a serial killer, the suicide of a veteran sibling post Gulf War drama, her immense hatred for wearing rings in general, and specific haircuts to get her going in the right place. And speaking of getting things and people going, there were two poems that were more declarative and poignant, again, than anything I’ve heard in awhile. First, she did a brilliant original remix of the Lord’s Prayer that was slanted in honor of a true feminist pledge. Then she gave an opus of seizing the day and charging action in her homage of Ides during the month of July. You really have to listen to the reading below and buy a copy of HIVE as soon as you can to understand the truth I’m talking about (some of those poems will be on her next book as well). But, before I end my love fest for Christina’s poetry, I must single out the poem about her thinking about salmon. It was the major connection between the featured guests of the night and a theme of making a family, and Christina nails it. The imagery of fishing salmon as a child and learning one of her catches was pregnant after the fact and then the linear relationship of her life years later is both heartbreaking and beautiful all in the same light. Point being, Christina tells it how it is, tells it so eloquently, and doesn’t hold any punches. You feel her words in your gut, heart, face, and tears. She’s powerful … and wonderful.

Our featured music of the night is a Nashville based musician who was born in Houston, shout out Texas, but raised overseas in The Netherlands, Nigeria, Scotland, and China. This young artist is always in search of what brings us together and what feels like honest work. A gentle, but powerful, woman and a scholar, she graduated from the Los Angeles College of Music in 2013 and has since gone on to release one album, 3 EP’s, and four singles. She’s an active member of Concerts In Your Home and spends a lot of days performing on the road. Maybe most importantly, she is very close friends with several of our East Side Storytellin’ favorites. This girl is close friends with Joshua Dent, Abby Flowers, and Ally Brown. Alongside these talented local musicians, it was an honor to set up the stage and share the spotlight on the tremendous star on the rise in Kira Hooks!

Kira took a seat on a stool, hooked up her guitar, crossed her legs, acknowledged her side harmony in Ally Brown, and started her set like a needle to a vinyl on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Her voice was like a vintage jazz star from another day and time, her melodies instantly put everyone at ease, and then she set sail for awesome in the middle of her ocean of dreamlike material. In a town that refers itself to music in its nickname namesake and has a million and one singers living inside the city limits, I’ve never heard a voice as unique and fitting her her material as Kira. It’s almost as if Sade and Diana Krall mixed together with the absolute best of every R&B soul singer of the 90’s and churned out this majestic muse and conductor of awesome on a stool for all of us to enjoy for years to come.

Kira gave mad props to every person she brought up to the stage and constantly referenced new respect and love for the art that Christina had shared with the same crowd. Kira was equally as open and honest via her backstories and dreams of someday moving to New York (she will conquer it when she is ready and leaves … hopefully years from now for Nashville’s sake though) and her song about creating a family in Labor of Love. She admitted to being a bit sappy and lovey-dovey while trying to Waltz with an Angel and When I Ran Into You, but I was not alone in thinking that we all could use a lot more lovey-dovey if that’s the case. The classical sounds that Joshua Dent adds to any songs, mixed with the modern take of doo-wop and Motown-ish licks from Ally and Abby having a blast alongside an alternative folk Beyonce, was simply perfect for the occasion and week in general. It all made me think of that phrase, “If the Love doesn’t feel like a 90’s R&B song, then I don’t want it.”

This was actually one of the only shows where I was sad to be the host for a second. When Kira asked us how much more time she had left, and I could see in her eyes that she would have played a few more and was thinking about choosing the next one, I succumbed to the moment and told her we only needed one more. Truth be told, the crowd and I would’ve stayed there in our seats for another week for sure. I guess it’s better to keep the staff at The Post on our side too. It all works out for the best.

Speaking about working out for the best, this pairing was simply phenomenal. Nobody would have known that we had to change a thing or two a mere 24 hours before showtime, and my buddy Steve would call me out for saying serendipity again if I said it another 50 times during the show in the making. It honestly blows my mind how well everything comes together just as it is supposed to when you are doing something that needs to be done.

After Kira’s final track titled If You Got A Dream, a song that to me resembled Christina’s charge the moment poem, I was yet again fortunate to have both of the artists back on stage to talk about their lives beyond their art. I’m always amazed by the honesty and forthright of the guests who take my questions and answer them in ways that if you already call them friends you learn something new and if you didn’t know these people then you feel like you’ve known them forever. Both Christina and Kira were/are so gracious with their personal responses and so professional in everything they delivered from the stage all night long. It was an honor to host the show that paired so much talent and love for words and positive personal growth. I was humbled to be in the crowd.

Again, because I could ramble on about how great these people are and how much fun the show was in person, I’ll just cut to the part where I share with you the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 112. You know, the show we recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, that featured Christina Stoddard and Kira Hooks (alongside Ally Brown, Abigail Flowers, and Joshua Dent). Here it is, enjoy and share it 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 Christina and Kira, Ally, Joshua, and and Abby for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Christina’s writing here – www.christinastoddard.com

You can listen to more of Kira’s music here – www.kirahooks.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’ 113

Tuesday, August 15th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Susan McBride

singing- Mary Bragg

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 112 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. I repeat, please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

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Liza Kawaller, Chuck Beard, Machaela Nesler, and Tom Eizonas.

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 98th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 97, I repeat … 97, 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’ 98. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is someone I first met as a fellow “judge” at an event for Southern Word at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts not too long after she moved to town. She is not just a judge. She is an artist. She was trained in an acting conservatory and spent some quality personal growing time in LA. Instead of reading other people’s lines, she decided that making her own was way more fun. She began writing one day while studying abroad, and hasn’t stopped since. She likes to explore topics that may be traditionally difficult to talk or think about, all the while giving people the mental space to sit with some cognitive dissonance through her work. She is also on the development committee of Southern Word, but tonight she is here to share her Southern words. The room was filled with friends, old and new, to listen and pay attention to the wonderful Liza Kawaller.

Liza stepped to the mic and completely blew everyone away. I’m serious. I mean, I had seen her read before and expected something awesome, but she really outdid herself. She did a piece about someone on death row, another person battling addiction, some ladies inside of sex trafficking, and then something inspirational for people going through the process of change. Throughout her powerful words, words she recited from memory alone mind you, she changed her tempo and inflection from slow to extremely fast and soft as a whisper to “get out of my way because I have something to say that will not only smack you in the face, it will change your mind-set” kind of poems. At one point, it almost sounded like she was singing within her verses. It was a fantastical verbal journey and roller coaster. It was a mental ride that many people in our society need to go on these days. I was honored to witness it in person and in the front row, but I’m also thankful you can go back and listen to her selected works again and again in the recording below. Do yourself a favor, and take a listen below and go to the next reading Liza performs. You’re welcome.

Our featured music of the night was brought to my attention by a very dear group of mutual friends who just so happened to be in the crowd on this night and were recently added to the East Side Storytellin’ family in that of The Arcadian Wild. Born in Nashville and raised in music, this lady inherited her father’s ear for songwriting and was gifted a voice like few other from another higher power. She is a young artist with an old soul, combining years of experience with a wealth of tested raw talent. With the release of her first EP titled Bulletproof, she is more than ready to make 2017 unforgettable in the best of ways. I can’t say too many great things about this amazing woman with songs of gold. I’m talking about Ms. Machaela Nesler. Remember this name. Remember her smile. Remember her songs.

Machaela approached the stage in noticeable awe of following Liza’s powerful performance. I made a comment of assurance in between the final set-up time with Tom because I knew from hanging out before the show and listening to her work on a new song in the making during soundcheck that this was going to be a killer pairing of a show. I wasn’t wrong. Machaela sang original, heartbreaking, personal, and raw lyrics with soft volumes and melodies that were not only brilliant, but everyone in the room instantly connected with her and her music. Opting to share her brand new song, barely finished with writing the lyrics or living them, she had to pause a few times to let the tears take their place on her face and the set. Everyone in the room wanted to give her a virtual hug to let her know everything was okay and she was so brave to share something so beautiful and personal with a room of friends and attentive strangers, but I think she got the message and feeling crystal clear as she mustered up enough strength to finish her song and her set of other songs just as touching. I know I’m a barrel of compliments on these recaps, but Machaela’s set and Machaela in general won over this crowd and made a very special moment like few I’ve ever witnessed in this city (no matter who was on the bill or what venue was closest to The Ryman or not). Again, I’m being totally serious, this artist is yet another star that will be appreciated by many and will connect with countless before her time is over. Just listen to the recording below and buy her music online already.

Before I get to the ending of this recap, I just want to say that I was honored to have both Liza and Machaela on East Side Storytellin’. There were a few people who came to the show and spoke with me afterwards that let me know it was their first time to see our show and that this was a tremendous beginning to them coming to many more sooner than later. They enjoyed the reading, the music, and the interview afterwards where I got to get just below the creative surface and smiles of what inspires Liza and Machaela to create and share their creative and enlightening art. You can tell from the picture below that we all had a fun time on a random Tuesday night to get this 2017 off in the right direction.

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Liza and Machaela for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us. They are both so brave and inspiring to share such beautiful, gut-wrenching, and REAL material for us all to digest and relate with going forward in our own personal adventures.

And so, it is my honor to now share the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 98 that featured the likes of Liza Kawaller and Machaela Nesler at The Post on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2016. Enjoy, and share with everyone you know, over and over again. Thank you and you’re welcome-

You can read more of Liza’s writing here – @lkawaller (official website soon to follow this year)

You can listen to more of Machaela’s music here – machaelanesler.bandcamp.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. He normally makes all of the beautiful artwork online to promote the shows, but he had to take time away from that task this week because his mother started chemo for her battle against Cancer. Please send extra love and prayers for his family during this time.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris and the staff who stay open late for us and 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’ 99

Tuesday, January 17th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Matt Urmy (www.matturmy.com

singing- Joanna Barbera (joannabarbera.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 98 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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Chuck Beard, Fecto Johnson, Brandon Alexander Holt, Aspene Taylor, Nancy Vienneau, Chloe Katerndahl, Nate Foley, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Fecto Johnson, Brandon Alexander Holt, Aspene Taylor, Nancy Vienneau, Chloe Katerndahl, Nate Foley, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Before we get started on one of the wildest, loudest, and most amazing shows to date, I first want to let you know what happened pre-show this round.

Two shows ago, when we featured the very talented Nadia Bruce Rawlings, I was introduced to the talented poet and Kentucky Colonel Jonathan Finn Formica (better known everywhere as simply Finn). He mentioned after that show that he was going to be filmed alongside the world-renowned food writer, TV personality, chef, and teacher Andrew Zimmern as he films his next great television show. Talk about a wonderful, BIZZARE way to spend a lovely September Tuesday night in Nashville, right? And talk about perfect timing too since I had already scheduled one of the best food journalists in area to be the featured author for this particular date before knowing about Andrew coming to town. Sometimes everything works out like Baby Bear soup. Oh, to preface the TV deal, the premise of the show that we were told would be that Finn would take Andrew all around Nashville in his cab and show him the real people, entertainment, and food beyond the typical stereotypes of Lower Broadway and other places every other television show and their mom always films. I agreed to let Finn crash our previously planned East Side Storytellin’ show below so he could get some film of him reading his original poetry in front of a great crowd. That is where we left it.

Finn reading to a packed house with Andrew Zimmern in the middle of it all

Finn reading to a packed house with Andrew Zimmern in the middle of it all

Not really planning as much as usual because I was only in charge of one production team (ours), besides giving the featured guests and the owners of The Post a heads up that this TV spot was a good possibility, we went with the flow of the day. The flow of Tuesday, September 15th ended up meaning that an entire productive, excited, and extremely nice film crew crashed our site at 7pm, just in time for the regular audience attending the show to gladly sign waivers and sit with Andrew to witness Finn do his thing for us. We didn’t record the reading, but it was something fierce, stylish, and special (basically everything Finn is all of the time). It was an all-around perfect addition to a crazy night, and the schedule worked out perfectly because some of the band was caught in traffic so sound check was serendipitously delayed for us to get everything in just right. All that said, you can see from the picture below that Andrew enjoyed the readings, the music, The Post, and East Side Storytellin’ to the fullest. I’m already looking forward to seeing how the TV show turns out later this year (we’ll keep you posted when we know it will air … it will be the premiere episode!) and also what Andrew thinks about the Based On: Words, Notes, and Art from Nashville that I was lucky enough to give him a copy of  before he left.

The East Side Storytellin' 67 entourage

The East Side Storytellin’ 67 entourage

Now, back to the normal programming that you expected before I dropped that delightful bomb above…

Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap of the 67th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 66 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’ 67. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was a self-trained chef and retired and recovering caterer with 25 years experience. With a background in the fine arts, she ran her own full-service catering company called A Matter of Taste for over 16years, working for and alongside individuals, corporations, universities, non-profits, and the entertainment industry. She cooks and teaches others at Second Harvest Food Bank’s Culinary Arts Center and at Magdalene House through Green Fork Academy. She also serves on the board of Walk Bike Nashville (not to be confused with another favorite Walk Eat Nashville – who happened to be in the crowd for the show = thanks for coming out Karen!). A member of the Community Food Advocates and Les Dames D’Escoffier International (say that 3 times fast), she is here tonight because she is an excellent food writer. She has contributed articles for several magazines, consistently reviewed Nashville restaurants in a weekly column for The Tennessean, and also has dabbled in poetry and prose to Alimentum (the Literature of Food). This particular night, she was ready to share with everyone excerpts from her first cookbook titled Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, which you can purchase at East Side Story. It was truly an honor to showcase the Third Tuesday community celebratory leader in that of Nancy Vienneau (pronounced V-N-O just so you know)!

Nancy took to the stage with a beautiful outfit and a plate full of home-made cookies for all to take in during her reading. She began with a very cool excerpt related to a special tomato inspired dish since we were still in East Nashville and that is our patron vegetable/fruit. She then went on to talk about figs and another dish that reminded me totally of Christmas (soon approaching and will be here before we know it as usual). Actually, speaking of Christmas, Nancy personally reminded me (not sure if it was her voice or appearance or manners or all of the above) of the mom in the movie The Christmas Story. Everything about Nancy’s reading made me and others present extremely hungry and happy about the great food and sense of community she was talking about that she practices daily with her family and friends. I honestly can’t wait to try the community potluck and the recipes in her book as soon as I have some free time to do so. You should plan on the same.

(*random special note = I want to give a particularly huge shout out to Nancy for being so flexible with all of the unexpected scheduling of the night. Not every artist would have been so patient and smiling through the entire night. The same can be said for Kat Milk Blu too, by the way)

The featured music of the night came from a band of talented folks that have joined forces and are making a big name for themselves (as evident from Andrew’s tweet and the way the entire TV production crew when gaga about them – we all went gaga over them). When LA woman Chloe Kat came to town a few years back, she never imagined playing a fateful show at The End where she shared the bill with Bam Bam, Isaiah, Aspene and Nate Foley and their band called Studio Blu and then being moved to tears by their performance of Funkadelic’s trance-inducing song called Maggot Brain. Wiping away the tears, Kat and the boys vibed so well backstage, sharing similar musical tastes, dedication, dreams, and opinions of humanity that they decided to jam together and have been blending sounds every since. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not sure if you’re ever really ready for your mind, body, and soul to be blown away, but all of that will most certainly happen when you are introduced to the musical stylings of Kat Milk Blu!

Without any words or thoughts about introducing themselves after I introduced them, Kat Milk Blu dove right into their music and literally changed everyone’s worlds forever in an instant. Downtown could have the Americana Music Festival and a million other shows going down around Nashville all week long. I’ll go ahead and say that I instantly knew from the first measure of the first song that I was witnessing the absolute finest live music show in the land and that I’ve experienced in a very long time and I wasn’t alone in thinking that way either.
67 kat milk close

Chloe Kat is a bonafide star and director of grandiose poems that fit the accompanying music like rain exploding from a stormy cloud onto land that has been in a drought for some time (possibly a reference to Nashville’s overblown pop country scene and how the actual residents here deserve more attention that just that for the masses). The rest of the band, man, I really can’t say enough about them. They reminded me of The Funk Brothers, the band who made all of the hits for Motown and more … but they were even more fresh and relevant. I mentioned it after the show to them, but they sounded so tight, moving in and out and over and under grooves seamlessly and perfectly without even looking at one another as if they have been playing together for 20 plus years. These guys mix rock, gospel, soul, funk, and pretty much every other genre of music together into a beautiful blend of something magical to hear. You can tell from my words above that I am now one of their biggest fans, but, again, I’m not alone.

Then, because Kat Milk Blu had another gig across town after our show (because they are that in demand and deservingly so), I had the band and Nancy up on stage to share one microphone and discuss a little bit of how they each arrived in Nashville, how we all arrived together, and also how we all continue to do what we love to do. It was a comfortable, extraordinary thing to be a part of with such amazingly talented artists and good-hearted people all in one. I can’t say thank you enough to these people.

Aspene sported the all-blue lit shoes on the song Tru Blu!

Aspene sported the all-blue lit shoes on the song Tru Blu!

So with that said, I’ll just let you listen to a show that will most likely change your life for the better (not that it was bad before reading and listening to this though). Here is the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 67 that featured Nancy Vienneau and Kat Milk Blu (with a side of Finn and Andrew Zimmern too). Enjoy and share with your friends and family and yourself, over and over until we break the internet.

I want these for Christmas!

I want these for Christmas!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Nancy Vienneau and Kat Milk Blu for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Nancy’s writing here-  nancyvienneau.com

You can listen to more of Kat Milk Blu’s music here-  facebook.com/katmilkblu

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

art by Clay Brunton

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a big thanks to Finn and Andrew Zimmern and all of his wonderful production team who took time out of their busy taping and travels around town to drop by and witness something we do on the regular that we know everyone who participates and attends appreciates more than words. Continued success to you both!

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’ 68

Tuesday, October 6th

At The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Christine Hall (facebook.com/ChristineHallisapoet)

singing- Aaron Lee Tasjan (aaronleetasjan.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 67 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 for the road, a bit blurry but with my better half by my side

One for the road, a bit blurry but with my better half by my side

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Tom Eizonas, Eryn McHugh, Nadia Bruce-Rawlings, and Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Eryn McHugh, Nadia Bruce-Rawlings, 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 for the 65th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 64 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’ 65. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was someone born in Calgary, Alberta and grew up traveling the world and living in various countries before settling for a minute or two in Los Angeles. In LA, she briefly worked at a vitamin factory and then began a long career in independent film distribution. A former single mom for 11 years, she and her husband decided to settle into the Nashville area as she writes by the lake when she can escape their five kids and two dogs. She is a self-professed kooky, tough, soft, and brutally honest artist who proclaims to have a lot of dreams but too much reality. She digs music, amazing writing, babies, sunshine, and that certain smell that brings you back in time to a secret memory. She uses grains of her often gritty life to infuse her stories with cathartic realism. Her stories Fire and Scars have both been finalists in Glimmer Train’s writing contests and are included in her first anthology titled Scars– published by Punk Hostage Press and available for purchase here tonight and afterwards at East Side Story. The full-hearted crowd at The Post gave a warm welcome for the very talented Nashville author, Nadia Bruce-Rawlings.

Nadia, sporting a delightful seedless watermelon shirt to lighten up her appearance in stark contrast with her heavy material, started off the reading with something more sad than I can ever imagine bringing home to my wife … a poem titled Flowers from Walmart. Then she promptly dove into a short story that was very personable between her childhood and her family structure. But, the combination of the insightful, brief poem and the second piece of a short story about family and dark times pretty much set the perfect spectrum of what everyone in the crowd was in store for from Nadia. Her writing is brutally honest, as mentioned above, and she hides from nothing. She allows the readers and the listeners to dive into her life, most always at the place where she has more pain than joy, and then everyone is free to reevaluate their own histories and present condition and be a little more thankful and in tune with their worlds than before hearing Nadia.

Nadia told some more poems about the same death but different places, devolution of a young woman growing up in trouble where shame means nothing, and then she shared her title track of Scars in the form of the short story that had light points of Casper the friendly dog and then the deep end of the pool with several suicide attempts in full description. Nadia did a tremendous job of not only going beyond metaphors to give a gritty sense of her past reality, but she also did something very cool with the fact that it wasn’t all about her in the story. She revealed poignant points during the aftermath of the suicide attempt on the way to the hospital where her friend was hitting on the doctor, the RA was perturbed that this had happened on her watch, and then how the school itself was not too happy about her condition or the situation at all. All of these different angles made her story pop even more than had she decided to go down a one-way avenue about the world and possible end of that very world revolving around her. By doing and sharing this, the audience was intrigued enough to follow Nadia wherever she wanted to go with her trials and tribulations. She almost got emotional at times, and the crowd felt the same way … on the edge of their seats with every word.

And then it was time for the music.

The featured musician of the night was someone who escaped the major traffic jams of Atlanta, Georgia and has quickly made Nashville her favorite home for the second time in East Nashville. A highly talented singer-songwriter, she is a Baptist preacher’s daughter who’s tight family roots have helped shape her and her craft. The eldest of four in a family where all have found success creatively, she gave up on her pursuit of music for several years until a relationship went sour and prompted her to dive into her music again to make things right. Since jumping back in, she has made two records, the most recent being The Gilded Lily with Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band, and she has spent a little time and energy lately producing an indie-pop-electro thing under the side project name Munitions. To say that she is busy would be an understatement so we are very thankful that she took the time to join the East Side Storytellin’ family once and for all. Once again, the delightfully packed crowd at The Post got the noise going collectively to celebrate the music of Eryn McHugh.

Eryn immediately thanked the same crowd who was giving much applause her way to kick her set off just right. She started with a song that seemed like the perfect transition from Nadia’s stories to her melodies. It had something of a lyric with the girl counting regrets late at night in bed instead of sheep, and that nearly knocked everyone out of their seats. The collective feeling, from the people producing this show to the people sitting back and taking it all in, was that Eryn’s stories were the ideal matches for Nadia’s prose. The more Eryn sang her heart out, the more it became evident that there was a very good reason beyond serendipity to why Eryn and Nadia were showcasing their art together this very night … and it sounded great!

Eryn went on to bring East Side Storytellin’ 45 alumnus Taylor Corum up to the stage to the chagrin of all who attended and knew Taylor before the show started. It was ironic that Taylor was playing this show alongside Eryn; not because they are dating and make a lovely musical couple, but because it was at Taylor’s show where we proudly announced the birth of Wilder Bruce Roberts (son of Ben and Emily Roberts from the band Carolina Story) and Wilder just so happened to be in the crowd this very evening in his pajamas. Anyways, Taylor took to the stage and helped to add a little gee-tar to Eryn’s tickling of the ivories and lovely harmonies.

Eryn took time to sing songs about letting go and heartfelt tunes about longing others in her life. To end the set, she broke out a new song and then an oldie called On My Honor and about being home soon. All in all, it was a real treat and Eryn is immensely talented at her craft. I’m sure Taylor would add that she’s sweeter than Yoo-hoo at this point in the recap.

After the music ended, I had the chance to bring Nadia and Eryn to the stage and share even more back stories and depth to where their art is inspired and everything that made them the amazing artists and people who they are today. There were several times where a tissue might have been needed from the crowd and on stage when Nadia shared her past with abuse and cats and speed (listen to the recording for explanation). There were times when I wanted to make light or tell a joke that probably would have landed dead on arrival, but I kept it pure and honest and on the surface with all of the intense topics that were discussed in such an open manner. At times it felt like a live broadcasting of the show Intervention come alive. Either way, both of these artists shared material that was sad in nature, but each are currently in a place where they have learned from their pasts and have grown into people they are proud of more than ever and everyone in the crowd and listening to them with open hearts were better after experiencing East Side Storytellin’ 65 more than they were before.

So here it is- the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 65 that featured Nadia Bruce-Rawlings and Eryn McHugh at The Post on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015. Enjoy and share with others who you think would appreciate it over and over:

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Nadia Bruce-Rawlings and Eryn McHugh for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Nadia’s writing here- (www.facebook.com/NadiaBruceRawlingsWriter)

You can listen to more of Eryn’s music here-(www.soundcloud.com/erynmchugh)

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

art by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

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’ 66

Tuesday, September 1st

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Amanda Elend (@amandaelend)

singing- Pete Lindberg (@peteontheipad –facebook.com/petelindbergmusic)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 65 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, Alissa Moreno, Chuck Beard, Alecia Whitaker, and (DR.) Josh Charles

Tom Eizonas, Alissa Moreno, Chuck Beard, Alecia Whitaker, and (DR.) Josh Charles

Thank YOU, hello, and welcome to another fun East Side Storytellin’. If you’ve been living in a cave, good for you … you’ve probably missed the fact that we just rounded out 2 years and 48 other East Side Storytellin’ shows up to this point. Cave or not, welcome to the 49th episode. Like the 48 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 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. Unlike the previous 48, the featured author in this round is not from or living in Nashville at the moment. You can ask her after the show via email at her website as to why she hasn’t decided to move here already if you’d like. It might help if you drop by East Side Story and buy her book first.

Before I get started, I know I’ll get to it more in detail in the recording of the show below, but I was first introduced to the concept of the story and the theme of this particular show almost two years ago in a graduate level creative fiction workshop while attending the School of Letters at the University of the South at Sewanee. East Side Storytellin’ 17 alumnus (http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-17-where-virginia-was-for-lovers-of-great-literature-and-music-moved-to-tn-alike/), published author, and newly married woman in Kathryn Williams, handed our class the rough draft of a concept that would later become the beginning of a successful publishing series in the making. This past summer, with the series in full effect, Kathryn suggested that I have tonight’s artists on the bill together because they are very talented in their own rights but also because their art was brought together for said unique project. Like Kathryn did for her man, I said yes and these girls said yes and now we’re all here with or without bells on to tell you the next part of the story. Thanks be to Kathryn. Without further ado, this is East Side Storytellin’ 49. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night also hails from the hallowed ground of the bluegrass state of Kentucky. A graduate of UK in Theatre and Advertising, writing was never too far behind in her overall passions after she won the Soil Conservation Essay contest in the 4th grade, selected as a Governor’s School of the Arts student in Creative Writing in the 10th grade, and then a Top Ten Finalist in the US Southeast Region for the Ten Minute Playwriting competition at James Madison University. Her personal essays have been published in the anthology Blink: Fiction in the Blink of an Eye, several times in Underwired Magazine, and her first novel and proudest artistic accomplishment is appropriately called The Queen of Kentucky. She loves to make author appearances in schools (making several stops in Kentucky before heading to Music City in fact), she’s been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show several times, even dropping a spot as a contestant on the TV gameshow Deal or No Deal, but I’m pretty sure she was most excited about being at East Side Storytellin’ and sharing her stories in Nashville … I’m pretty sure. For this special occasion, she planned to introduce you to Wildflower, the first novel in her three book series about a young girl’s rise to country music stardom, released this year. The new setting indoors and downstairs at Mad Donna’s was filled with happy faces that joyfully welcomed the Kentucky born and New York City livin’ writer to the stage. They were pumped to see and hear from the featured author, Alecia Whitaker.

Alecia took to the microphone like a professional. She reminded me of several other featured authors that graced our stage that utilized the full range of her voice and accents to vocalize the conversations from the excerpts that she chose to read from for the evening. It was fascinating actually. Her energy, paired with enthusiasm for the main character called Bird and the musical journey that she went on throughout the book, was something awesome. Without having read the book yet, I was wondering if Alecia was going to sing any songs that were in the book. She did. It made several laugh when Alecia called herself out for being a writer and not a singer, after the fact, but it was honest and innocent and great for the experience. In fact, she called out the crowd to participate as the fictional crowd in a particular scene she read in the story and it really made the story pop off the pages into reality for all to enjoy for ourselves. After several sections of reading, all I can say (and you can tell from the recording below) is that it was a real treat to have Alecia visit and talk about the amazing book and book series she was helping to create.

Before we knew it, it was time for the author to sit back down with her amazing son and let the music come alive from the pages of the book. This project was the treat that kept on giving.

The featured music of the night was someone you have already heard from before, whether you know it yet or not. Born on a Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico to two teachers and raised in creative culture of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, she now calls Nashville one of her homes as she is renowned for her piano, vocal, and songwriting talents near and far. She wrote the Grammy nominated and CMT Video of the Year song Every Day for Rascal Flatts. Her music has been featured on Laguna Beach, The Hills, How I Met Your Mother, Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives, and used for promotion on shows like Army Wives and Grey’s Anatomy, on top of countless others. She normally splits her time performing between Nashville and LA in places like the Grand Ole Opry, Bluebird Cafe, House of Blues, The Viper Room, and The Hotel Cafe, to name a few in both cities, but, once again, I’m pretty sure that she was most excited about being at Mad Donna’s this special night and sharing her songs and stories with you … I’m pretty sure. I was not alone in giving a raucous ovation for the likes of Alissa Moreno.

Alissa was cold, at first, and literally cold enough beside the window that she had to put her jacket back on to perform at the level was comfortable. She quickly warmed up to the stage and the crowd at hand. She dove right into several emotional songs that really struck a chord with the night. Specifically, she kicked off the set with the song Notice Me, a song performed by the fictional character Bird in the book of the evening. Alecia did it justice with her tiny singing segment, but Alissa really took it all to another world altogether. It made me laugh when Alissa made a comment that she didn’t consider herself much of a singer when compared to one of her favorite co-writers because she was so amazingly talented. Again, I was not the only one to comment or say so out loud this evening.

49 singing 2

Before Alissa finished her eclectic set, she brought up her good friend Josh Charles (Dr. Josh as she coined later because he had learned some piano tricks from the Dr. John). Alissa switching to guitar several times during the show, they started off with a song that had an interesting change of tone and melody and backstory to anything that Bird’s book was telling. I believe it was called Tripwire, but I went away from it feeling like it could possibly be a song for Bird by book three or beyond … you know, when she goes on that Taylor Swift/Miley Cyrus PR downfall that inevitably comes along with any ounce of fame in this world these days. It was just a thought for the book series. But yeah, the second to last song really touched me more than any in awhile. It was exactly what I needed to hear after a good long day beforehand, mixed with the bitter cold outdoors lately. Alissa finished the set with her song Every Day, proving that this day, November 18th, 2014, was extraordinary and not like every other day.

I had both artists, who in fact hadn’t met in real life before this momentous occasion beyond calls and emails to inspire one another for writing the books and songs together in their own rights. I thought the event, the performances, and the closing conversation that explained their inspiration from and about this epic project put forward by Kathryn Williams was all very fitting … like baby bear soup, just right. Kathryn wasn’t there in person, staying cold but happily married in Maine, but she was there in spirit.

Before I say proper thanks to everyone that helped make this night so special for #49, I’ll let you partake in a wonderful tradition on these recaps. Here is the recording of the show, edited for your pleasure, so you can listen to Alecia and Alissa do what they were born to do and did for Nashville to help warm our cold season. This is the recording of East Side Storytellin’ 49. Feel free to share with others, over and over, and listen to countless times for yourself. Enjoy, over and over.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-49

 

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

Now, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Alecia Whitaker and Alissa Moreno (and Dr. Josh too) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more from Alecia Whitaker here – http://www.aleciawhitaker.com

You can listen to more from Alissa Moreno here – http://www.alissamoreno.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 (http://www.efharper.com), and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

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

But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ 50 event will be …

EAST SIDE STORYTELLIN’ 50

TUESDAY, December 2nd, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

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

Who will be featured- author Jewly Hight (https://twitter.com/rightbyherroots) and music by Angaleena Presley (http://www.angaleenapresley.com)

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 49 show, two years of epic shows in the bag. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word. Remember to be nice to one another out there. Thanks and good day your way.

Much love,

mE

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East Side Storytellin’ 37: When The Southern Foodie and music beyond Banshee made for an unforgettable, beautiful Tuesday evening

May 24, 2014

Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’.  Similar to the 36 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’re all here, right here smack dab on your laptop or mobile electronic device (welcome to the future, eh?) to provide you with some very inspirational moments of clarity in […]

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