Los Angeles

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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John Condit, Chuck Beard, Nikki Barber, Jamie Timm, Casey Renee LeVasseur, and Tom Eizonas (not pictured, missed but not forgotten with The Minks, Jordan Solly Levine).

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 108th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 107, I repeat … 107, 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 the East Side Storytellin’ 108. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is someone who was born in LA and began her love affair with words studying and memorizing lyrics from her favorite bands. She also grew up watching her father perform his music in nightclubs and bars so this whole combining literature with music for a night is not her first rodeo here tonight. In fact, she often goes a step further and adds film into the mix. Her passion for writing and film led her to a degree in Cinema Arts from California State University. She is featured tonight because her debut novel, Silence & Noise: one girl’s journey into insanity, is a coming of age story about a girl’s struggle with mental illness that has been an important part of East Side Story since our beginnings. please join me in giving a big round of applause for my friend, the multi-talented muse, put your hands together for the one and only Casey Renee Le’Vasseur.

Before I really start this thing, I need to give some noteworthy behind the scene short stories from before the show, in no particular rank or order. First, Tom had accidentally erased the recorded intro in the sound system (if you aren’t there in person, odds are you don’t really know that Dave Eastman isn’t actually there in person most of the time as the main intro MC). So, I did what any respected host would do, I grabbed the iPhone of my near and dear friend James Martin (a man who can and does just about everything cool that you’d ever imagine = you can see one of his latest creations here- www.facebook.com/edonthebus) and he pulled up the SounCloud link of our intro from another show and blasted it as well as I could over the microphone. The crowd appreciated it mucho. And secondly, Casey asked a few of us in the circle of trust which order we would suggest her reading her three short stories that were described as 1) Love Story, 2) Story of Loss, and 3) somewhere in the middle with intrigue. We told her to go with her gut and that we’d be happy with whatever she decides to do because that’s how the show rolls.

photo by Colin Lewis

So, Casey jumped on the microphone like the pro she is and started off the show with LOVE. It was a take on romance and new beginnings that moved everyone to the edge of their seats. I’ll let you listen to the reading below instead of trying to recap details or put words into the story. Once LOVE was established, she dove head and heart first tint the LOSS. Set in the snow, the audience had a chance to sit back in their seats and feel the coldness of memories and people lost in our worlds. Then, the bring everything together and set up the perfect moment of letting everyone leave with the impression that its up to us to grab the wheel and drive wherever our impulses call, Casey told a tremendous tale called Mississippi River. With a tone of pleasure and pain meshed together as perfectly as Wednesday Addams would do on a Tuesday, Casey reminded us that she is brilliant with words and unafraid at sharing every bit of vulnerability of every character she creates to reach the truest potential of each story she shares. It was something special.

And then, speaking of something very special, we decided to invite what was sure to quickly become the loudest band we would feature to date. And we were so ready for it. Our featured music of the night is led by someone I was first introduced by way of two East Side Storytellin’ trusted connections in Erin Rae McKaskle and Kristen Reilly – both who continue to amaze us. The band itself is a bluesy psychedelic explosion, made from a revolving cast of talented members from the local scene. It originally formed just 2 years ago right here in Music City. Inspired by the old days of Warhol’s factory, Townsend’s windmills, and Dylan’s poetry, this band tries to blend into the silver lining of our remarkable history into our unbelievable current world. They’ve been called the southern Velvet Underground, but this night I was honored to introduce them and call them by the name I know them best. Individually, you may call them Jordan, John, Jamie, and Nikki, but together, like The Wyld Stallyns, they are called The Minks!

Look. There are a lot of bands around town and outside of town that write bio’s about themselves and try to hype their music beyond who and what they are. The Minks are not that kind of band. They are the real deal. They are everything they say they are and more. I had to say that right off the bat because from the very first notes and moments they amped up the show, we all were blown away with their awesomeness. The combine elements of your favorite Southern Rock n’ Roll greats such as The Allman Brothers and Creedance Clearwater Revival (not even sure if Creedance were true Southerners , but I had to give a quick shout out to our recently passed Nashvillian gone too soon in Gregg Allman) and then sprinkle all of that with what I like to call some 70’s Southern punk too. Point being, they bring the real.

Again, I’d rather you listen to the actual recording of the show to hear what I’m talking about instead of having me ramble for a few minutes over the line. I’ve gotta add another behind the scenes story that was not the band’s fault – it might have been something in the air in general – but our recording devices ended up crashing mid-way through the set and Tom lost a song and a half (“Sweet Talk” and half of “Moving On” if you’re counting) before getting everything back in line for the rest of the set and show. Some people in the audience may have heard a few hiccups, but Tom was a master at keeping the train on the tracks. Point being, I’m not certain it wasn’t the band’s sound that didn’t knock it the system out of sorts because their sound was so big and epic that I am certain they could have filled LP Stadium with that set. I’m just saying, this group is amazing and big time. It won’t be long before they do start playing those arenas. Take a listen below and get to know them better than you do now.

photo by Chance Chambers

I didn’t want to single out the band like No Doubt and Gwen back in the day, but I only had Nikki join the post music conversation alongside Casey because I already know I’ll have John and Jamie and Jordan on again with their other bands eventually (if they say yes and Jordan doesn’t have another dinner date or secondary evening gig to attend). But that said, I was able to further ask both Casey and Nikki about their creative passions, in and out of music and writing and everything else cool that they are making happen. These two are anything but slackers, giving everything they have to so many worthy causes and collaborating with some of the best quality people in any business right now. Seriously, take a listen to the following recording, go online to buy everything they are selling, and make it a point to go see these two golden individuals do what they do in person the next chance you can. You’ll thank me later.

So, here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 108 that featured Casey Renee LeVasseur and The Minks at The Post East on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Feel free to listen to it and share with everyone you know over and over. This recording will never get old. It’s an instant classic. Enjoy, and thank you for your time.

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

You can read more of Casey’s writing here – crlwrites.com

You can listen to more of The Minks’ music here – www.facebook.com/theminksss

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.

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’ 109

Tuesday, June 20th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Jenna Dorian (jcdorian.com)

singing- Alicia Michilli (aliciamichilli.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 108 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, Gregory Delzer, Alexis Stevens, 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 104th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 103, I repeat … 103, 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’ 104. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a stunningly handsome young chap. He is also not only a writer of unusual stories, he actually specializes in unusual books. A brother in the bond, he is one of the few, the proud, and crazy bookstore owners and sellers I am honored to know. Despite what some may have said about him, like me, he is NOT interested in encyclopedia sets, Reader’s Digest condensed books, old textbooks, or any books in poor condition or that he can’t sell. And this guy, like any great fiction writer, can sell pretty much anything. He is the co-founder and owner of Defunct Books. Like most of his inventory, he is of a rare breed, the few, the proud, the owner of a store that encourages people to read and think and slow down in this fast paced world. Truth be told, this guy only gets out when the Cubs or Gonzaga win, so you know this night was important, and this past year really, has been a very special occasion. But we aren’t weren’t there for his bookstore, we came together because of his writing. He’s been published in Acoustic: Literature, Owen Wister Review, Piece x Piece, and has done numerous poetry readings in various stops around the country as he’s moved to and fro from Washington to Iowa to Nashville, TN. A man who needs no introduction, in my book, although I just gave him one. Ladies and Gentleman, someone who smartly moved from Iowa City to Nashville at just the right time, my good friend, the one and only Gregory Delzer.

Gregory mentioned right off the bat that although he had read various poetry spots in the past, this was one of the first times he would decide to share his original prose. And it was something relatively new and outside the box. The story was a story told in five parts, called five deer for obvious reasons at the beginning and the rest of it was anything but obvious. It was a Twin Peaks-like trip, filled with some trippy and gritty moments involving reoccurring hitch-hikers who may or may not have slept with the narrator. In every twist of the tale, which wasn’t in any particular order or specific sequence (as told by Gregory in the preface), people sat on the edge of their seats to see where Gregory and the narrator would drive us to next. It was quite fascinating, actually.

I personally loved how real it was. And when I say the word real, I’m talking about the language and honest descriptions that Gregory used to set the scene and draw the pictures of what was going on in the narrative. I also loved how Gregory took great pleasure in using his peripheral vision to notice and smile at the fact that Tom would grab the pen from me taking my show notes every instant he cussed during the reading. He cussed a lot. You won’t hear the specific words in the recording because of the editing, but that’s why you and everyone you know should be at the actual live shows. The real sounds of the stories, and the look of childish fun that Gregory showed every time he cussed, were priceless in person.

Our featured music of the night is someone who also hails from the land our forefathers called Iowa. This lady is a friend of our author tonight, and is now officially a Nashville-based songwriter after living and playing in various places our forefathers called Eugene and Portland, Oregon (or West East Nashville) and Los Angeles. She went back home in 2008 to independently make and release her debut album titled Flood or Drought. She wrote her self-titled album four years after the flood (or drought), and she self-describes her writing as one-part needle work and one-part aerial photography, heartbreaking human experiences patch-worked onto beautiful Midwestern scenes to form landscape portraits of love and loss. She has played with or warmed the stage for the likes of some folks you may have heard in Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, and many more, but this night she was all ours. Once again, I was honored to introduce someone as talented as Alexis Stevens.

I have to tell you here and now that before East Side Storytellin’ 104, I visited friends in Montana with my family for about a week. It was Big Sky country, completely surrounded by weather of the four seasons, snow-capped mountains as high as the eye could see, and a deep sense of openness and space that is unheard of in a cityscape environment. Point being, I was fresh off quite the meditative and deep thought trip alongside good friends and good places. Fast forward to my experience of sitting front row with Alexis Stevens playing her original work that perfectly painted the pictures of her intense cross-country trips as a traveling musician constantly on the road, and what you had was the perfect soundtrack for my Montana voyage. I’m telling you something you already know if you know Alexis’ music, this girl is, for a lack of a better word, amazing.

Alexis sang songs that were deeply personal, in direct regards to her ten year college reunion and time passing from a domestic life to the opposite as an artist to relative creative interpretations of Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dream to the rough transition of moving to Nashville and getting robbed (literally and figuratively with her photographs and memories before coming here) to talking about lost loves to something epic that came to her after spending a solid four months out on the road playing solo shows and realizing that is a VERY long time to play solo shows on a single run. Special note, the final song in the recording is Alexis’ favorite original song she has written to date. A lot of musicians and artists won’t choose between their works because it’s like saying which of you children you love more, but she went there on this one and I totally respect and dig that. Again, this Alexis girl is for really, y’all!

After the music, I had the chance to talk with Gregory and Alexis about their travels and how they got to where they are today. It was very refreshing to hear that both of them listened to that inner voice that told them when and where to move and invest their time and energy into next along their way. They aren’t crazy, listening to those inner voices. They are true artists, in every sense, fragile, insecure, not scared to jump off the cliffs to search for happy, and unabashed for their actions of jumping off cliffs when they are standing in the fog and not sure of what’s coming next. Again, point being, these two people are my kind of friends, and I’m especially thankful for them sharing their stories, time, and thoughts on what their journeys have meant to them individually and how it helps others like me relate on my own way. Plus, these two make me belly laugh a lot too. Because that’s important.

So, with all that said about another very special show that was/is near and dear to my heart, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 104 that featured Gregory Delzer & Alexis Stevens at The Post on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Feel free to enjoy and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. It is well worth your time and energy. You’re welcome.

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

You can read more of Greg’s writing here – www.defunctbooks.com

You can listen to more of Alexis’ music here – www.alexisstevens.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’ 105

Tuesday, April 18th

At The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

Reading- Robyn Leigh Lear (www.aprilgloaming.com and www.theregenerates.org)

Singing- Ally Brown (www.allybrownmusic.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 104 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, Melissa Gordon, Glen Martin, and Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Melissa Gordon, Glen Martin, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to the recap and review and recording of another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 72nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 71 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 recount of East Side Storytellin’ 72. Let us begin, again.
The first featured guest of the particular night is an author, performance artist, and social worker who earned her M.S.S.W from the University of Tennessee. As a grassroots activist and community organizer, she has worked in the areas of domestic violence, finance, mental health, youth development, eldercare and voter education to enact social justice and create community change. She has self-published three books of poetry, Brown Girl Blues, Writings Under Bush and Other Crimes Against Humanity, and The Muse’s Reckoning. She is currently working on a docu-poem about the resilience in brown girls. She is a survivor, lover, friend, book lover, and a person who enjoys running, yoga, having a pen in hand, simple things that are sacred, laughing, the mountains, counting pennies in water, smiling until her cheeks hurt, seeing something new, witnessing kids ascending, and being the best her she can be at all times. An artist who is spiritual and political and who always dreams big, even when it appears she is idle, it was a HUGE honor to welcome Melissa Gordon as East Side Storytellin’ family’s newest featured author!

Like I’ve seen Melissa speak at several other Southern Word and poetry events, she totally stole the show. She has a presence that is calm yet powerful, captivating yet chill, and she knows how to work any crowd. She laid down the gauntlet of her words and imagery while at the same time getting the crowd involved by asking them to repeat encouraging and optimistic phrases that reinforced her positivity shining from the stage. Melissa knows what she is doing with her words and crowds more than most can ever dream.

She started her set with a few poems that were deeper than the Grand Canyon and we all took a trip down her memory lane. She spoke poignantly about brain trauma from a personal accident to breaking points from working in prisons and another poem that highlighted four letter words from experiences that changed her life and love forever. She reminded us all that it’s okay to be who you are, regardless of circumstances, and that the most important thing we can do as humans on the daily is to embrace grace (a phrase she reminds herself of every day amidst the societal climate that surrounds every person these days and our need –not just want- to reach some sort of harmony). To say that Melissa and her poetry and performance are moving would be a HUGE understatement. You must listen to the recording below and see her read for yourself the next chance you can.

So after the call was made to embrace grace, the music was ready to begin.

The featured musician this night is someone who really wants to sing a few songs for you and we are happy to make that happen right now. Originally hailing from the scenic Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this man arrived to Nashville via Los Angeles as a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and recording artists of the highest caliber. Drawing from personal experiences, this guy digs deep to create raw and relatable music every time out of the gate. You’ll soon find that his songs are often hopeful, silly, sarcastic, catchy, and bittersweet all-in-one. His 5-song EP titled Electric Baby offers listeners a glimpse into the mind and heart of this up-and-coming All-American Artist. The musician of the night wants you to know that you can purchase his EP tonight and that it’s like hitching a ride with an urban cowboy as he rides his steel horse on a one-way trip through time, back to the golden age of Pop Music, when melodies mattered and mustaches were required by law. That’s right, I’m talking about the one and only Glen Martin!

Glen looked and reminded me of a young David Crosby when he initially took to the stage with his trusty guitar and spirits in hand, but that comparison got even better in my world as he strummed out some of his old and new hits. He openly declared that he was more of a musician than a storyteller, but I reminded him before and after the show that each artist brings their own style and presence to make each and every East Side Storytellin’ event unique and one-of-a-kind. He seemed to take that to heart and gave his all the only way Glen Martin does … by “dropping” us into Glen Martin country that is.

 

Glen’s songs were indeed a long road trip through our great country and sprinkled with personal gems from experiences and memories and lessons learned through the good times and bad. He reminded us not to take the good for granted, to think about what life would be like if we were wearing the homeless person’s shoes for a change despite being so similar in many other ways to them, to always promise to do better (whether it is for Sally for now or later), and other life notes in between. It was so refreshing to listen to his take on the LA scene in the awesome Waltzing with Wolves and then end on an homage and response to an old Loretta Lynn song about a man coming home drunk and wanting love from his wife but his song was told via the narrative of the drunk.

Photo credit to Amanda Hruska

Photo credit to Amanda Hruska

 

Glen is truly one local musician to take special note of now and going forward. I mentioned the comparison to David Crosby but the more and more I enjoyed his style, sound, and lyrics he reminded me of a young Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon. Don’t believe me? Go listen to the album Nico after you check out the recording below and see if you don’t hear the same insight and tone and whistling and howls and wondrous melodies that bypass your years and go straight to your soul.

So, as usual, I was able to get both of the artists together before the end of the show and it was a treat to hear their takes on their own adventures and creative journeys so far to this point. They both have big plans moving forward to bring people together in positive ways and to expand on the extensive creative groundwork they have put down in the past few years. I’m excited to know more about them both and what makes them tick and how I can take some of the notes I scratched during their performances to help make me a more thoughtful and empathetic artist in my own right. I hope you can do the same after you check out the recording below.

Here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 72 that featured Melissa Gordon and Glen Martin on Tuesday, December 1st at The Post. Enjoy and share over and over, por favor:

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-72
Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Melissa Gordon and Glen Martin for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can check out a visual performance of spoken word from Melissa Gordon here- www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwWQgv05ft8

You can listen to more of Glen Martin’s music here- http://glenmartinmusic.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

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 …
East Side Storytellin’ 73
Tuesday, December 15th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Kathleen Cosgrove (
www.katcoz.com)

singing- Austin Manuel (www.austinmanuel.com)
That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 72 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 Chance Chambers

Photo by Chance Chambers – one more for the road

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