Lipscomb University

Phill Thompson, Rob Stewart, Emma Louise Berkey, Chuck Beard, Michael McRay, 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 120th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 119, I repeat … 119, 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’ 120. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a young man who has lived, traveled, and written enough for about several lifetimes already. He is a scholar and a gentleman. He received his Master’s in Philosophy, Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College of Dublin at Belfast. He is a writer, advocate, adjunct professor, storyteller, and a fellow host. He was a volunteer prison chaplain before being banned for organizing. He is the cofounder of No Exceptions Prison Collective, and is the founder/cohost of TenX9 Nashville Storytelling. He has several books, but the one I sold the most of at East Side Story was Letters from Apartheid Street. You can purchase any and all of his works published to date here- michaelmcray.com. It was a true honor to finally get this friend on out stage, and it was an equal honor to relief him of his usual hosting duties to relax, focus, and enjoy the single act of sharing his stories in front of a crowd without worrying about anything else. As you can guess from reading the title of this recap and the website link in the previous sentence, I’m talking about the honor of introducing my friend and inspiration, Nashville’s patron old soul saint of peace himself, Michael McRay!

Michael had asked me several questions about content to share leading up to the show. When asked if he should share a funny story or a very dark story, I told him that we’ve had everything on the spectrum to this point in the series and that it was totally up to however he was feeling at the moment. He decided to go somewhere in the middle of said spectrum and reveal a very personal incident that has left him heartbroken for the sake of lost friendship yet also feeling good for being proactive and living his proof, letting his actions speak louder than his words could with people of power who have a hard time listening to said truth. I was not alone in the fact that I was excited to hear what Michael had to say.

Michael prefaced his short story, a story that he had originally written for and shared at one of his superb TenX9 Nashville Storytelling shows in the past, by drawing up a proper setting and backdrop to the personal history he invested at Riverbend Correctional Facility in Nashville. He had been serving as a volunteer chaplain, consistently providing peaceful and impactful practices for the prison mates to use to diffuse conflict and find more resolutions that would benefit everyone involved. At some point, like in every great story, there was adversity. The adversity that Michael faced was with the authorities of the prison, seemingly siding with the inmates because of gross misconducts of power and miscommunication and non-action or actions that were not exactly in the best benefits of those living at the facility. Sounds like the current state of our political adversity, right? Well, this story didn’t end in the best of terms. I won’t tell you that the Titanic sinks to ruin the story for you, but I will let you take a listen to the recording below so that you can hear the story straight from the heat and mouth of the man who lived it firsthand.

Michael is one of the most brave and intelligent and altruistic people I’ve ever come across so far in my life. I kid you not, when I say that he seems to have done more and lived more than a hundred lifetimes of service for the good already. I’m excited to follow his journey going forward, on and off the pages of his written word and important interviews, and I’m grateful that I get to be a small part of that journey at times whenever he needs my or other friends’ help. Point being, before I move on to the music of the night, Michael McRay is someone we should all sit and listen to and think about how we can take even a piece of the great things he is doing every day and add that into our lives to help ourselves and others at the same time. I wrote that he is a Nashville saint, but even he would say that he’s just doing what he’s meant to be doing and that every single one of us has the time, energy, and passion to do the same if we put our hearts and minds and calendars on the same page.

Our featured music of the night is a local songbird who brings enchanting electrified folk music wherever she goes that has been described as darkly cheerful and cheerfully dark. Her influences range from indie rock to country to Eastern European folk music, aka folk punk. I was introduced to this lady via one of our most enthusiastic and awesome musicians in the East Side Storytellin’ family by the name of Ally Brown. You may have already met her, Emma and not Ally, at The Patterson House, Rumours East, The Wild Cow, or even at High Garden while she was busy slinging tea and herbs. You may have seen perform in her other band Chicken Little! Originally from Ashville, North Carolina, she now calls Nashville home and she revealed on the spot that she is no longer on the market for a good roommate. She found one! On that great note, I was happy to welcome back our house band of the month with the talented Rob not Rod Stewart and Philly not Philly Thompson so they could rock the house beside and behind the one and only dynamite punk folker Emma of Emma Dilemma!

Emma is like dynamite. She quite and petite by nature, but once you light the mic fuse and give her the chance to plug in any number of instruments that she can play and play oh so  well, she will blow your mind. Her stories are deep and her melodies are all over the place, but everything is within your wheelhouse to take in, appreciate to another level, and leave with a new sense of the world you live in after they tickle your eardrums and soul. She started off a song about driving all night underneath the moonlight and it just feeling right. Talk about setting a cool mood for a set. Then, right when you were feeling at ease, that’s when the capo incident happened to add dilemma into the Emma Dilemma namesake. The capo was found exactly where Rob put it and all was back to normal, but it was almost like a reality show of home renovations of insert the made up drama of a deadline 2/3 of the way into the show so they crew can make everything better at just the right time to wrap things up like a bow. I don’t say this to say that the capo was not important or made up. I say this because Emma and the band really did knock out the rest of the set, even with instrument changes that rivaled Cher’s wardrobe changes (again, in the best of ways), with ease and delight.

Between the blur of instrument changes, Phill is steady as a rock that rocks.

Emma went on to sing songs about “No Hard Days”, a protest song, a song about iPhones and having the whole world in our hands, and all of it seemed to perfectly reflect and expand on the sentiments introduced by Michael’s reading about life in prison. I guess we don’t need bars on our doors and windows to feel similar pain and life perspectives in our own daily lives and struggles.

Emma closed her set with a song called “Here We Go.” I told her after the fact that it and she reminded me a lot of Paul Simon mixed with the storytelling and Eastern European stories and sounds of Regina Spektor. Not to sound like I have a firm grasp of the music language and technical terminology, but the changes in the measures and tempo throughout the song was such a treat to listen to for the entire duration. The title of the song was spot on to the musical rollercoaster ride that the band took us on, and I think I could listen to this song over and over again for about a week and it never get old. You can test that theory out for yourself, as well as diving into the other songs on the set list, when you have a moment or two to check out the show link below.

And then I was yet again able to stand up on stage beside these comrades and converse with them about there creative journeys, inspirations, and little nuggets of knowledge that they hold dear to use as fuel for their motivations. Both Michael and Emma have lived in a lot of places, met a lot of interesting characters, and have used their time wisely to learn from others in order to make their lives and others’ around them more purposeful. I can’t say how refreshing it is to meet other people who don’t waste their days with inactivity, while at the same time constantly questioning others and life in general in an attempt to find more truthful answers during the short time we have here together. Emma and Michael both have smiles, personal & communicative skills, and genuinely positive attitudes that can light up any room they walk into. And that fact was on full display at The Post East on this great evening with friends.

Photo Credit to Steve Simpson

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

And here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 120, the night when Michael McRay and Emma Dilemma allowed us to spend a few minutes in the lives of other people to give us positive and good perspectives on our own lives going into the holiday season and New Year. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

You can read more of Michael’s writing here- michaelmcray.com

You can listen to more of Emma’s music here –www.emmadilemmasongs.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 (and Zach) 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’ 121
Tuesday, December 19th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Joseph Ingle
singing- India Ramey

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 120 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.

Much love,
mE

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Tom Eizonas, Matt Siffert, TJ Jarrett, 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 and whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 97th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 96, I repeat … 96, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy lives 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 a 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. So, without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 97. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a extraordinary writer and software developer in Nashville. She is one of the most well-respected local poets I’ve come across to date. Her work has been published or forthcoming in Poetry, African American Review, Boston Review, Third Coast, West Branch, and many others. She has earned scholarships from Colrain Manuscript Conference, fellowships from Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and has won more prizes and acclaim for her poetry than most people I know combined (and that says a lot). She has already been featured in work sold at East Side Story via her inclusion in Third Man Books’ Language Lessons, but this night we solely focused on here writing and her writing alone. I’m talking about the one and only TJ Jarrett.

TJ broke the ice with everyone be letting us all know that she was going to share what she called her B-side poems. These were works that had not found the light of day or night in some time, never published in any of her print titles yet and most had never been shared with public ever or in a very long time. Tonight was the night she was ready to share them again in a new light.

TJ has a powerful presence, a powerful voice, and probably the most powerful artistic insight translated from her life into her work that I have ever experienced. Everything is poignant, deep, and spot on for you to appreciate in your own life instantly. I was particularly blown away by the directness and simplicity of several of the following lines in different poems shared:

I want to be good.

You have learned early what I have learned late.

How does the Earth handle all of these geographies, all of these changes?

They call this victory.

They call this victory. I call having TJ on our show a complete victory. You can listen to the context of the lines above and many more that she shared in the recording link below. She says it all much better than I can write her material. You’ll find the context in which she shared her thoughts and stories, and I’m sure you’ll find something you can connect with on a multitude of levels. That’s what TJ does for everyone. She takes personal narratives and experiences and transforms them into literary adventures that you can go on with her and come out the other side changed for the better every single time. She is a treasure to Nashville and the literary world in general. We were so happy to showcase her work for a brief moment to end 2016 in style.

Our featured music of the night is brought to you by a long-time fan and friend of East Side Storytellin’. He is a an experimental singer-songwriter, combining folk-influenced songwriting with jazz, blues, rock, and spoken-word. A native New Yorker, we are proud to call him a Nashville resident. He has performed with his Cuban guitar and American bass in New York venues such as Le Poisson Rouge and Rockwood Music Hall, as well as many others from New Orleans to Florence, Italy. He has been featured in The New Yorker, Time Out New York, The Deli, I Care If You Listen, NPR, and now East Side Storytellin’. I’m talking about my friend Matt Siffert.

Matt jumped right into his zone with the coolest guitar I’ve seen in a minute, and he took command of his work in front of a sea of people in the crowd. He gave credit to friends who had inspired some of the songs he stripped down for the special set, and it was a special set indeed. It went through several styles of melodies and lyrics. My personal favorite was a short shout out of sorts to a girl in Utah. If you blink, you’ll miss it and her.

But that’s the thing with Matt and his music. He’s documenting his personal journey and giving us a soundtrack to his adventures, all the people and places he experiences. His set and his music is the epitome of what I envision the New York experimental scene embodies, mixing beat poetry from a half century ago with political observations of current situations and a love story amiss or two in between, Matt does his best to cover the gambit. Again, it was about time to get him featured on this East Side Stortytellin’ trip.

I can’t think of a better way to close 2016 than with the likes of  TJ Jarrett and Matt Siffert. They stuck around to give detailed, enlightening, and entertaining answers to what motivates them to do what they do, past, present, and future. There were many laughs, on stage and off, and, as is the case with every show we’ve put together to far, everyone had a good time. Is there anything else we can ask of for each day we are alive? I think not, but that’s just my opinion. I can share with you a fact though. You don’t have to kick yourself for missing the 97th show in person. We record every single show so that you can share the experience we had together with everyone you know. You’re welcome.

So, here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 97 that featured TJ Jarrett and Matt Siffert at The Post on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. Please listen to it and share with everyone you know, over and over again.

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

You can read more of TJ’s writing here – www.tjjarrett.com 

You can listen to more of Matt’s music here – www.mattsiffert.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 some extra love to Clay Brunton, for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show and being an all-around amazing human being, father, husband, brother, and friend. If you have time, please send extra positive thoughts and prayers to Clay and his family right now while one of his closest relatives faces a recovery from surgery and some other complications.

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’ 98

Tuesday, January 3rd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Liza Kawaller (@lkawaller)

singing- Machaela-Catherine Nesler

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 97 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, Leanne W. Smith, Lincoln Mick, Sarah Wood, Isaac Horn, 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 96th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 95, I repeat … 95, 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 (or 3) 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. So, without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 96. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a writer and business professor at Lipscomb University. She teaches courses in business communication and mentorship. In business communication, they specifically study job search skills, presentation, people skills, and business writing. She is featured tonight, not because of all of those skills, but because she recently published her first historical fiction/inspirational novel by the name of Leaving Independence, based in the times of the Civil War and published through Waterfall Press. There are copies here for sale tonight and also at East Side Story later. I’m sure she’ll dive into that work as soon as I get her up here. A teacher, blogger, published author, and this night she is the featured reader. I’m talking about none other than the one and only Leanne W. Smith.

Leanne is a true professional. She had an air of confidence that she has earned, after completing her various 10,000 hours of practice in everything she puts her heart towards. Thankfully, for us as a listening audience, she had already put in the time to pretty much perfect public speaking, engaging a crowd, and sharing her original stories in an enlightening and entertaining manner. Seriously, I’m not sure if anyone has had more fun with various character voices in their reading since the lovely Ann Shayne reading in the very first East Side Storytellin‘ in November of 2012.

Even before she did a wonderful job at reading and enticing everyone to go out and purchase and experience the character driven wagon train and trail out West in olden times, Leanne gave us a cool tutorial of inspiration and what it takes for artists to strive for and attain success with their craft. I advise everyone who is wanting to do anything, creative or not, to listen to the first part of this show and recording below to help map out what they need to do in their own lives to find joy in creating new things. Point being, whether it is helping others find their way, sharing her own personal story, or entertaining all listeners with introductions to some of the most unforgettable fictional characters you’d ever want to meet and camp with, Leanne is such a delight and treasure for Nashville. You can hear her for yourself below, but I highly recommend grabbing a copy of her book and following her blog. You’re welcome.

And speaking of feeling welcome, our featured music of the night is brought to you by a folk trio based in Nashville with one of the coolest band names I’ve ever heard. They’ve proclaimed that choir class is where all great things begin. Two connections that brought together this pairing of featured guests, one of the members is the son-in-law of Leanne, and all three members connected with each other via the choral program at Lipscomb University. They tend to explore the vulnerability and purity of experience achieved through the use of acoustic instruments. They layer thoughtful texts expressed in rich, three-part harmony overtop arrangements of guitar, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, and more. Last year, they released their first full-length, self-titled album, and they are preparing to make another amazing album in the near future so stay tuned. If you know them already, you love them. If you don’t, you will love them soon enough. I’m talking about Isaac Horn, Lincoln Mick, and Sarah Wood. Together, they are The Arcadian Wild! I told you it is an awesome name.

After tuning up just right and checking with each other to make sure they were ready, they were ready. I don’t know if I was ready or prepared enough, even after sound check, to fully grasp the beauty and wonder of the harmony these three singers bring to life every time out of the gate. I kid you not, after two songs, I was struck with the thought (and I couldn’t get it out of my head) that the musical style resembled that of one of my favorite bands, Nickel Creek, but with better vocals and arrangments. This group is that talented (Again, you can listen to the recording below, if you doubt me). They reminded Tom of a young Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the way they effortlessly orchestrate sounds that instantly get you closer to fine. And just when you thought they were at the top of their folk game in the middle of their set, these guys go and cover Beyonce’s Crazy in Love and totally blow your mind (That remix was cut from the recording because of copyright issues and because it was too awesome for you to take in right now. A short video clip of one of the choruses may or may not circulate on the internets.).

But that’s what you get when you experience The Arcadian Wild. They blow your mind, heart, and soul. Their lyrics are like short stories. Their arrangments are like that of classical music genius. And I’m sure you’ll be heard pressed to find a team of people that are as selfless with egos and efforts when joining creative forces to work together as if they have been working together for decades. Point being, these guys are just getting started and all the cliches of the sky being the limit come to mind and is a reality here. Don’t believe me? They had other professional musicians and poets coming up to them after the show and being fanboys and girls. That doesn’t happen every night in Nashville. I saw it happen.

When the music did stop, I told the crowd that it would be practically impossible for anyone to listen to Leanne and then The Arcadian Wild and not be in a wonderful mood and mindset going forward. I asked them some questions about their passions, their journeys, and their futures, and they were all four the most thoughtful and articulate people I have ever heard speak about themselves in public. Obviously, I can’t say enough great things about these people. I’m already looking forward to seeing them all perform again sooner than later and hearing what they churn out next in both of their respected creative fields. Books or albums, I’m buying and promoting them all.

photo by Chance Chambers

I need to stop vomiting compliments on you and let you experience the show we beheld, so you don’t think I’m a liar. Again, you’re welcome.

So, here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 96 that featured Leanne W. Smith and The Arcadian wild  at The Post on Tuesday, December 6, 2016. Please listen to it and share with everyone you know, over and over again.

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Leanne W. Smioth and The Arcadian Wild for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Leanne’s writing here – www.leannewsmith.com

You can listen to more of The Arcadian Wild’s music here – www.thearcadianwild.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 some extra love to Clay Brunton, for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show and being an all-around amazing human being, father, husband, brother, and friend. If you have time, please send extra positive thoughts and prayers to Clay and his family right now while one of his closest relatives faces a recovery from surgery and some other complications.

art design 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’ 97

Tuesday, December 20th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- TJ Jarrett (www.tjjarrett.com)

singing- Matt Siffert (www.mattsiffert.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 96 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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Park Chisolm, Tom Eizonas, James Haggerty, Chuck Beard, Martha Nelson, Tommy Keenum

Park Chisolm, Tom Eizonas, James “Hags” Haggerty, Chuck Beard, Martha Nelson, Tommy Keenum

Once again, our no rain dance prayers were answered.  Looking back, it was the calm before the flood of ’13.  Looking ahead before the evening of August 6th, 2013, I was doing more than one little no rain jig in the bookstore, hoping that the scattered showers by morning and afternoon would get rid of the showers and just scatter to the North as usual.  As usual, the clouds opened up and cleared a beautiful setting for another round of East Side Storytellin’ at Fat Bottom Brewing Co.

This marked a special occasion of a few sorts, some that I will get to and others I may leave out.  This was going to be the first show we’ve done without WAMB Radio to promote or replay another day afterwards.  It was a touch decision to cut the line with them for now, but it was necessary.  Even without the original radio support, the show must go on!  We do what we can and make sure that original, innovative ideas and events keep on inspiring us.

And speaking of innovative ideas and events, East Side Storytellin’ 19 on August, 6th, fit the bill like a glove.  Both the author the musician spoke to one another with their own forms of art and actual words in the end.  It was something special to me and everyone present.

The featured author for the show moved to the greater Nashville area from the North.  Born and raised in a New York state of mind, she carried around and brought stories she had crafted and saved in her head for over 60 years with her to Nashville.  A graduate of Syracuse University and Lipscomb University, she is a retired non-profit executive, educator, award-winning journalist, and chef.  She plays the piano, harp, and the flute (although she didn’t on this night or altogether at the same time).  And she brought a few friends and a copy of her first novel, Black Chokeberry, to read from for the show.  The author was Martha Nelson.

Martha Nelson taking all of the light off of herself and illuminating her words from and on the pages.

Martha Nelson taking all of the light off of herself and illuminating her words from and on the pages.

Although you can’t see her face in the picture I took from beside her, you can tell instantly from the recording that she knows exactly what she is doing when it comes to writing fiction and reading it to others.  It was such an honor and pleasure to take in her story up close and see how she worked the crowd and her words to perfection.  She used several accents, tempos, and repetitions to highlight every syllable and emotion she wrote about.  I really wished that I had a copy of her reading the entire book the way she did for me and others later to enjoy the story the way she sees it.  That said, everyone was happy to have her read a superb chapter out loud for the time we had to feature her work on the radio.  Also said, there are plenty of copies at the East Side Story bookstore (1108 Woodland Street, Unit B – www.eastsidestorytn.com) for you to purchase this next month and be a part of the monthly book club.  Martha Nelson’s Black Chokeberry will be the featured book for the month of September, and she will be at the meeting at the end of the month at the bookstore to discuss the book and writing process with the lucky 20 first people who come in, buy the book from the store, and sign up!  Talk about a treat not to be missed!

And to think that this show had another spectacular musical talent and extraordinary person to be featured as the musical guest.  The featured musician of this particular show is about as Nashville and East Nashville as you can be.  He moved  in and settled in 5 Points before there was even 2 valid points to move to the area.  Basically, this guy moved to East Nashville before it was cool and then the area started to be cool … true story and fact.  He is an accomplished visual artist, designer of everything from exquisite houses to burlesque costumes, and has spent the majority of the last decade bringing his distinctive style and warm personality to local song writing and performing.  He’s a sough after side-man, lending vocals, sax, and percussion to a wide variety of rock and pop acts (including David Mead, Bobby Bare Jr., Sara Beck – who was in the crowd at this show – , and the hands down single greatest 80’s cover band of all time in that of “Guilty Pleasures.”  This evening he took the lead, accompanied by two very established and multi-talented musicians in that of James Haggerty (“Hags) and Park Chisolm.  The featured musician was none other than Tommy Keenum, and he lit up the stage and crowd on the spot.

Tommy Keenum, James "Hags" Haggerty, and Park Chisolm

Tommy Keenum, James “Hags” Haggerty, and Park Chisolm

With a voice as sultry as Sinatra and words as honest as Abe Lincoln, Tommy stepped up to the microphone with new material that had never seen the public light of day.  With his friends and confidence in tow, wouldn’t you know that Tommy rocked the night away.  Each song told a story beyond the music, and Tommy actually told the story behind every song he sung.  The only thing brighter than the ambiance was the coolness of Park’s yellow shoes (see below).  And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than the new songs and talent behind the musical accompaniment, Tommy pulled out his recorder and played one final original family lullaby that closed the set perfectly.  Yes, it was quite a treat.

Park's shoes = brilliant!

Park’s shoes = brilliant!

Before we took off and I got to show everyone the beautiful artwork that my good friend Alex Smith made for just the occasion, I was able to ask a few questions to all of the featured guests of the evening.  Usually writing and singing and performing, they all took the questions in stride and answered from the heart with complete & candid honesty.  Overall, I can’t write or say anything more about this particular show besides the fact that it was such a pleasure all around.  We had everything from good people, to dogs and babies in the crowd.  There was no rain, and we didn’t have to make any edits for curse words (not that I don’t use cuss words, but it helps for airwaves purposes not to sling them around).  Yes sir (or ma’am, depending on who is reading this now, excuse my manners), it was a night like no other.

Every song with the recorder is amazing.  See how it made Hags smile too!

Every song with a recorder is amazing. See how it made Hags smile too!

Here is the picture that prompted the creativity before the show even got started … and captured its essence too.

Art by Alex Smith

Art by Alex Smith

And here is the recording of the show that was edited down to a hour format for you to listen to, enjoy over and over, and share with everyone you know.  Please share with everyone if you LIKE it.  I know I LOVE it!  Thanks for listening and giving up some of your busy schedule to take this whole thing in.  We are making a positive impact and difference in the world.  We hope you are too.

 

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-19-8-6

 

And speaking of THANKS … here are specific set of THANK YOU shout outs to the wonderful and loving and tremendously talented folks that helped put this show, East Side Storytellin’ 19, together:

-My wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard (www.efharper.com),  I truly can’t say in words how I feel about you.  You are the best thing in my life and I am a better version of who I’m supposed to be just by being around you.  So thanks for letting me be around you so much!  I loves YOU!

Tom Eizonas, you do everything on the fly to make this guy sound as professional as the guests.  Without your help, nobody would listen to the show after the event.  THANK YOU!

Alex Smith, your art impresses everyone that sees it.  You are a creative force like few out there anywhere right now.  I’m honored to call you friend.  You are amazing.

Fat Bottom Brewing Co., you provide such a pleasant home for heartwarming performances to happen in your backyard.  I am very grateful we have crossed paths and look forward to the shows to come.

James Haggerty (http://fandalism.com/flatwounds) & Park Chisolm (https://myspace.com/parkchisolm) – You two are so talented.  Hags, every time my wife and I see you perform at wherever you are playing on every night of the week, you make every performance and evening better than the one before.  Park, it was a pleasure to finally meet you in person and fully appreciate your musicianship.  Both of you guys are not only solid, great musicians, but you also inspire others without even knowing it by just being your cool selves.  Thanks.

Martha Nelson (http://www.blackchokeberrythebook.com/) – The way that you write is heartfelt, and the way that you read your work is equally felt in the heart and soul.  You have quite a way of introducing and communicating characters, stories, and lines that truly make a difference to anyone taking the time to hear them for what they are worth.  I’m so glad that it worked out to have you be a part of the show AND to be a featured author in the month of September for East Side Story.  You from New York, that is true, but you are the best of what Southern Hospitality and personality brings to the table as well.  Thanks for sharing your time, your stories, and being a part of this East Side Storytellin’ journey.

Tommy Keenum (http://tommykeenum.com/) –I’ve already said plenty about you above, but you are such an inspiration to the community and all of the people that you call friends.  Your voice is great, but you are an even better person (and that says a lot if not everything).  I am not alone in saying everything good about you above and beyond, but I can at the very least say THANK YOU one more time for all that you do.  Keep doing it all.  Thank YOU!

But we aren’t finished quite yet!  We’re just getting started.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

Location- Fat Bottom Brewing Co. (900 Main Street)- www.fatbottombrewing.com

Need information or details about Fat Bottom Brewing Co., call 615-678-5895.  Otherwise it is first come, first available seats.

Who will be featured- Mike Pentecost (author of Bus Peoplehttp://mikepentecost.blogspot.com/) and music by Dave Coleman and Dave Ray from their band The Coal Men (http://thecoalmen.com/).

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