Lauren Farrah

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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Chuck Beard, W.S. Lyon, Andrew Leahey, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, W.S. Lyon, Andrew Leahey, 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 69th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 68 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 of East Side Storytellin’ 69. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was (and still is) one of the coolest writers I’ve met while living in Nashville (and I say this without seeing him regularly in person or reading much of his work or hearing him read all of the time … point being, when I do see him or hear his words, his writing is always a breath of fresh air). The self-professed ambassador-at-large at Woodland Wine Merchant, this young man grew up along the North Carolina coast, and then later lived in New York where he worked in development on both documentary and narrative features which screened on PBS and Toronto and Sundance and other festivals around the world. In 2012 he founded a creative writing workshop on death row (which has no association whatsoever with Suge Knight) and he has uncovered and tapped into some of the deepest narratives I’ve ever read in the process. As the editor of the anthology from the death row writing called So I Can Live and with his own work recently appearing on the blog Philanthropic and busy as all get out currently pursuing his MFA in fiction at Vanderbilt University, it was an honor to final introduce the wonderful Mr. Scott (W.S.) Lyon!

Scott is a pure writer and an excellent reader and finds his comfort in front of a crowd by sticking to his words on paper and/or talking praise of other people. To kick off the show, he jumped head and heart first into the one piece he wanted to share for the evening. He prefaced the reading by saying that it would probably become the first story in the anthology that he is currently in the middle of making for his MFA thesis. Titled Hurricane Party, it was something to behold.

With his writing technique and mission for the thesis adjusted to a clearer focus by a recent enlightening discussion with award-winning author Charles Baxter (who shared his ideas and essays on fiction craft and how great books should ask a spiritual question in the beginning whether you find the answers by the end or not), Scott prepared a most excellent version of a story he’s created. Hurricane Party, to me, was an endearing and brilliant homecoming, a poignant tale between two brothers exchanging memories, emotions, conversation, family drama, and extracurricular illegal activities surrounded by the strong winds of a prevailing storm. It, like the original stories I’ve heard and read from Scott before, was so refreshing. The delivery and pauses and poetic license with which Scott relayed his words weaved in a beautiful sense of awe and order instantly placed the entire audience in just the right position to immerse themselves into the characters and settings in a way to perfectly experience everything he was dishing. He does that every time he reads his work and it is truly a gift.

I won’t share any more about Hurricane Party other than my short review of the reading above because I’d like for you to directly experience it firsthand for the first time when you purchase the final book as soon as Scott finishes the anthology. But know this, after the reading, the stage and the listening crowd was set and ready to take the night and art even further into the territory of something extraordinary.

The featured music of the night was a Nashville-based artist that has survived his own personal death sentence and has gone on to create some of the most impactful music of his career up to this point. A little over 2 years ago, this man completed what some would call a career in a single year – four national tours, a Daytrotter session, an appearance at the Americana Music Festival, and the release of a critically acclaimed EP, but that was also when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctors told him to have surgery and then take a break from his band and music for a bit. He did have surgery, but the break from his band didn’t last quite so long. Then, two years exactly to the date of this very show actually, there was a local benefit show at the Mercy Lounge featuring performances from his talented Nashville friends, including East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Jason Isbell, and he quickly wrote new songs that combined his recent brush with death into beautiful tunes stacked with vocal harmonies, dual guitar leads, B33 organ and super-sized hooks and created a full-length album with producer and former drummer of Wilco in Ken Coomer. Sporting a fresh Lockeland Springsteen baseball t-shirt with the huge news of recently signing with the incredible Thirty Tigers and releasing his newest album titled Skyline in Central Time early next year, a mutual friend of many of our East Side Storytellin’ family of artists (one of them being the fantastic Lauren Farrah who was in the crowd, fully present and making art to promote the show minutes before it started AND who connected me to this guest in the first place) and the namesake and leader behind Andrew Leahey & the Homestead, the entire crowd erupted in applause for the one and only Andrew Leahey!

Andrew, with a tall glass of cold water and a fresh set list by his side, walked up to the microphone casually and collectively picking the flow of the show right where Scott’s story ended and continued the same cool momentum through the finish line. He started with a brand new song, so new in fact that he had never shared it live before. Then he threw in what will become the first track from his new album, just like Scott had shared with the first story in his anthology. Not giving a play-by-play but sort of giving a play-by-play, Andrew jumped from the first two songs into telling the story behind his third about going to church in New York to try and woo a girl once that didn’t work out. The song, as all before and after, was great and worked out just fine for everyone. Above all else, Andrew noticed and mentioned that it was nice to play in front of a listening crowd (something that always comes up each and every East Side Storytellin’ show so far and counting) and to have the opportunity to share stories that he doesn’t normally have the chance to do during any other shows on tour.

In between talking about his life-changing and perspective-changing incident with his brain tumor in the past and telling more stories behind the music for the first time, Andrew played some of the most relaxing and insightful music I’ve heard in a minute. With storybook lyrics like John Cougar Mellancamp in the early 80’s, he brought an honest and openly emotional voice that, to me, resembled a young Willie Nelson but stronger and more confident in his purpose and direction beyond the songs. I heard this comparison more than most in the final track of the night.

After Andrew shared a few more songs to round out the set, I was fortunate to have him and Scott back up to the microphone for a candid talk about their creative journeys and personal gems they wanted to give to the supportive crowd. Two things that I distinctly thought were perfectly put were the following: Andrew spoke more about what the brain tumor experience did to him, both professionally with the story behind being accepted into the Thirty Tigers family and personally with how he never takes music and every moment with his family and friends for granted, and, secondly, with Scott talking about what the MFA experience has meant to his writing and how he sees it positively changing his creative mindset and individual approach to creating his work going forward into the future. Obviously I can’t say it better or clearer than they did in the recording that you can totally check out below, but all I want to say to end this recap is that I was once again blown away by the talent of the guests, their stories and art, their humility and appreciation for being included in this special idea and program in front of a caring audience, and that these two guys made my world in East Nashville even better than it was before I witnessed them do their thing for the show at hand. For all of this and more, I say many many thanks to Scott (W.S.) Lyon and Andrew Leahey.

So, without getting too sappy here, I want to give you the link of the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 69 that featured W.S. Lyon and Andrew Leahey at The Post on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015. It was another for the ages and books and all that jazz. Please listen and share the following link with everyone you know and maybe a few strangers too. It is that good. These guys are that good. And we thank them and you for being a part of this Nashville trip. Enjoy!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for W.S. Lyon and Andrew Leahey for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about W.S. Lyon’s writing here- www.akashicbooks.com/william-scott-lyon-a-pathos-in-prison/

You can listen to more of Andrew Leahey’s music here- www.andrewleaheymusic.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

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.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be our very special 3rd anniversary show …

East Side Storytellin’ 70

Tuesday, November 3rd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Rita Bullwinkel (www.ritabullwinkel.com)

singing- a VERY special guest who needs no introduction and has promised to make it the performance of a lifetime.

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 69 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, Lauren Farrah, Amy E. Hall, and Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Lauren Farrah, Amy E. Hall, and Chuck Beard – photo by efharper

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU and hello again! Welcome to another epic collaboration with East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap of the 62nd spectacular edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 61 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’ 62. Let us begin, again.

photo by efharper

photo by efharper

The first featured guest of the night is a wordsmith with a background in music journalism and business. She currently focuses her creative energy writing free verse poetry and haiku. She has several books of poetry: Haiku 2006, Haiku 2007, Sugar and Spice and Nothing That’s Nice, a featured poem in the collection Filtered Through Time, and one of my favorite books of poetry and the most fun book release we’ve had at East Side Story so far for her beloved book titled Bathroom Poems. This southern-born, northern-bred Tennessean likes circular things like CD’s, vinyl records, typewriter keys, good conversations, and tostadas. She always has a smile and bright outlook on life whenever I see her and, you may not know this about her and she will try to deny it every time you bring it up, but she taught the prolific musician Sufjan Stevens everything he knows about poetry and songwriting in general = FACT. Ladies and gentlemen, it was an honor for me to finally introduce this artist to you instead of her being in the crowd all the time. I’m talking about the prolific poet by the name of Amy E. Hall.

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

Amy brought her smile and a binder up to the podium because she had a plan to enlighten everyone in attendance with her words and stories. Because the rain came down pretty hard for a good spell before we kicked off the show and it drizzled to a lull, Amy was the perfect person to guide us through deep thoughts on life lived and lessons learned. She did a splendid job of setting up and articulating each and every poem she decided to share with us, and everything just had a really nice flow to it all. This was not Amy’s first rodeo and you could tell.

photo by efharper

With the room at The Post packed full of friends and good people alike, the ambiance was just right. Because Amy asked the crowd before the first poem to hold any applause until after the final poem, I could tell there were more than one set of hands in the crowd that wanted to give some love to Amy in between several of her poems. I’m not sure what Amy thought of me being in the front row and busy writing on paper through most of her set, but I hope she now knows that I was just taking notes on titles and wonderful lines that I was instantly inspired from as she spoke. I particularly thought the three that ran in a row about her first real kiss then the operation umbrella and then her one wild and precious life almost knocked me out of my chair. She was courteous to end with the courteous flush from Bathroom Poems, but those other three before that were as powerful of literary fireworks as the most recent holiday we just celebrated. I’m looking forward to diving back into her books and listening to the recording below over and over again (as you should too).

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

And like that, Amy E. Hall, was finished with her set and ready to rejoin the heart-warming audience for the music to follow.

The featured musician of the night is an artist based in Nashville who is hell-bent on connecting people through her music so I felt that it was safe to say that she was in the right place and time this specific night at The Post to play her original music for all new and old-comers. At any given moment, her songs may be sorrowful or uplifting, cryptic or laid out for the world to see, but they’re always wrapped in the sonic bow that is her voice and presence. She has a velvet grace that precedes her: a voice as sweet and smoky as a whiskey barrel (love that phrase and image). I was suggested to contact her by our mutual friend and music man, Gary Branigan from Palaver Records. He has yet to fail me by always introducing me to outstanding Nashville talent that is worthy of the bright lights and billboards. This woman isn’t the cover girl to be The Champion of the Bad Luck Blues, but she did write the album by the same name. It was, yet again, my extreme honor to introduce the likes of someone as talented as much as Lauren Farrah.

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

Lauren immediately interjected a raunchy note off key to demonstrate just how great a singer she was after my lofty introduction. She was only missing the washed up comb in hand to find the full voice of that bird singing on The Little Mermaid movie in the ocean. The moment and laugh only lasted a second, but that was the tone that Lauren pushed us off shore to take a voyage down her solo tunes down memory lane, a lot of lonely pain, and extremely well-crafted deep thoughts about her life and life in general.

photo by efharper

Lauren took time in between her songs to try and explain that she really is a happy person now and just wants to give the lonely Lauren she was when writing her solo songs a hug, but I don’t think the audience was too scared for her and her lyrics. I think that everyone just got it and her. The songs themselves weren’t soaked in despair as much as eloquently introspective about where she was and where she wanted to be in her life. Everything she sang and played was very moving to all to say the least.

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

Having declared that she never plays without her rock n’ roll band these days, it was just as refreshing to the crowd as it was for Lauren to revisit her rock roots and reexamine how her new sounds have evolved and came to be. And it didn’t hurt one bit that in between these slow and thoughtful original songs that she played that she spent time to crack us all up with her delightful sense of humor that was altogether perfectly random, offbeat, self-deprecating, and all Lauren without many filters (as heard in the title track about Woman of the Water song being about the tadpole that’s not true). Basically, I think everyone had a great time hearing lovely and enlightening music and banter from someone that is going to do some pretty big things sooner than later on the music scene with her band and friends.

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

As always, we as a show at East Side Storytellin’ felt extremely honored to provide a stage for the combination of Amy E. Hall and Lauren Farrah to share their words, stories, and talents with everyone who came out to the show or clicked on this link and show recording below. I didn’t realize until after the show that the number 7 was mentioned more often than not in poems and a song or two (being that it was 7/7/15 and all). Also, I appreciated hearing about the religious backgrounds and backstories from both artists during the interview portion of the show. I felt like both brought powerful messages about life, laughter, and positive presents and futures for all to witness going forward after the storms of the day. For that, and so many other things not listed above or below from these two ladies featured in this show, I want to say thanks!

photo by efharper

Now, for your listening pleasure, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 62 that featured Amy E. Hall and Lauren Farrah at The Post on Tuesday, July 7th, 2015. Listen to this link, share this link, and enjoy it over and over. It is that great-

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Amy E. Hall and Lauren Farrah for sharing the stage with us.

You can read more about Amy’s writing here- lineuponlinepoetry.blogspot.com

You can listen to more of Lauren’s music here- www.laurenfarrah.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’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’ 63

Tuesday, July 21st, at 7pm

Reading- Tom Wood (tomwoodauthor.com)

Singing- Ian Johnson (ianjohnsonmusic.com)

That’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 62 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

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

photo by Randy Foster

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