Nashville

Christopher Pilny, Abbey Moss, Chuck Beard, 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 122nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 121, I repeat … 121, 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 recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 122. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a man of many words, many stories, and many great things to come. He is a writer out of Hope Valley, Rhode Island who now calls Nashville home. He is a producer for Rated Red, a digital media network here in Nashville, where he writes a weekly series called Strange Heartland History. I first met him via another outstanding writer and performer and East Side Storytellin’ alumnus in Melanie Vare via their work together with the award-winning storytelling show titled That Time of the Month. His essays and interviews have been featured on publications such as Salon, AskMen, British GQ, Business Insider, The Travel Channel, and more. After I secured the booking for his participation in this show, he promised me that he would share something that is somewhere in between a PG and R rating. As always, this guy never disappoints on stage. It was truly an honor to finally work together with this phenom who usually spends most of his time spotlighting others’ work, I’m talking about the one and only Christopher Pilny!

Christopher approached the podium with his tablet in hand and his confidence filling the friend-filled room. He later mentioned that he uses the tablet out of tradition of when he was too cheap (and didn’t have the money while in school) to print out pages of his work to read for others. Either way, like his writing, it works. There are layers upon layers of work that has been revised and rehearsed within the prose and the voice of this artist, and his final product and performances are delivered with a brilliance similar to an A-listed comedian. He lets the material do the magic that it has been created meticulously to do, and the crowd takes it from there (usually with ample amounts of belly laughs that are perfectly spaced out so that you can catch your breath for dramatic pauses and moments to connect even more with the points of Christopher’s stories). Y’all, he is that good (and will only keep getting better, with his creative process, routines, and dedication to his craft, on and off the stage).

Christopher opted to spend his time reading from a selected original work that was based on journal entries that later developed into a piece that was published in Salon (To read the published form, click HERE). In his classic personal narrator tone, he seemed to enjoy looking down and around his personal odyssey for how he found his voice and a professional foundation of creative writing by methodically detailing the ups and downs of his notes via his journal entries (written by a soon-to-be college graduate but with an air of a school girl finding out what love is and means to her through the mishaps of puberty). You didn’t have to be a guy working in women’s fashion or stressing over life plans after graduating from college to relate. Christopher has a gift of not only taking the less travelled road and enjoying it, he also has a knack for making plans that are larger than life and odd on purpose because he knows it will always add to and become part of a more interesting story in hindsight after it is experienced, written, and shared for others to incorporate that lesson into their own lives. Seriously, I love the way he chooses his life decisions of jobs and everything because I’ve tried to do similar things on my own journey. I haven’t done as many blatantly random choices for the sake of my story in humorous ways, but Christopher’s work reminds me that I still have time.

So yeah, Christopher’s story involved shout outs to David Sedaris, Eminem, Artie Lange (and who the F is Artie Lange, LOL), Forrest Gump, Christopher’s mom, and many others). It detailed the hilarious moments of school kids making fun of Christopher’s shoe fashion, the dark comedy of retail robbery and the possibility of becoming a martyr for the sake of Ralph Lauren Polo shirts, and more … I’m not starting to sound like an infomercial that is selling Christopher Pilny’s work like I’m his agent. But I am not his agent. I am just a big fan, and I’m not alone. Go ahead and take the time to explore his published works on the links above and below, and enjoy the full reading that he shared with us at The Post East in the recording below. In this day and age, we need all of the humor and intelligence that we can get. Lucky for all of us, Christopher Pilny delivers all of that every chance he gets.

Our featured music of the night is a singer, songwriter, and a composer like you’ve never known. Her style is sort of like apocalyptic, but in the best of ways. She is also a dear friend of our friend RJ Bracchitta. She creates an eccentric musical identity desperate to make its way into the mainstream music. She draws from a theatrical past and a brooding alter ego while combining melodies and lyrics in ways that are quite bewitching. Her music usually falls within the ranges of Indie Rock and Cinematic Pop. She has self-proclaimed her music insightful, unapologetic, and downright spooky. We figured she would be the perfect start to put 2017 behind us and really hit the ground running for 2018. Thanks to RJ Bracchita for sharing the love for his fellow friend to be spotlighted and more known because from the first note of sound check, I was completely in awe and floored by the talents of Abbey Moss.

Abbey embodies everything of how she presents herself on  her website bio and, like Christopher, much more, in the best of ways. She approached the stage with just a ukulele in tow and a world of stories and melodies to share, bright and loud. And with all of the doom and gloom surrounding our world in the news these days, it was nice for Abbey to kick things off in her set with the happier side of her song collection to date. She smiled and said that she would go from happy to sad throughout her time at The Post, and we were sitting, thankful and ready to listen.

Abbey sang songs about Mr. Right Guy (where love is everywhere if we look because it’s as simple as just being an animal instinct), taking chances on me (a sweet but not so sweet song because it was about an ex-boyfriend), and then she dove into the dark. I don’t necessarily mean total blackness though. When I say dark, I just mean that she dove into her songs involving death. Actually, it was more light and illuminating, as she broke out with concepts of what it may be like on the other side of life and relating it specifically to a bar on the river Styx that you can’t leave once you get in (but the drinks are forever flowing and your pretty bones will be just fine). Entrancing stuff, to say the least.

She then dove into a beautiful song about laying a lover down and layering the lyrics with the story of the metaphor of putting things to rest. She explained it better than I will now, before she sang her songs, but the meaning and wonder of life lesson cycles totally reminded me of the beautiful documentary I saw recently by the name of Samsara (you can check the trailer HERE). Abbey pushes the boundaries of thoughts and volume within the words she sings in ways that allow you to appreciate the singular moment we live in but at the same time reflect and feel the deeper meaning beyond the surface of the present. Marinate on that for a moment.

Before Abbey closed her set with an unfinished song about love letters in the works, she belted out a vision of a song titled Phoenix. Inspired by the story of her good friend battling Cancer, she did what only a best friend could do to help a trying situation and inspire the friend being tested by reminding them of their purpose and strength. Again, like most of these songs, I cannot give them the justice they deserve as much as just you taking the time to listen to Abbey sing them so great for yourself. You can check them out in the recording link below of the show. Side note, if you or anyone you know is battling Cancer at the moment or did before or just got diagnosed, please refer everyone to Gilda’s Club Nashville. It is FREE support, and it is a magical place for those who need magic. And who doesn’t need magic in their lives? Check out Gilda’s Club Nashville HERE.

But before I get to the recording, I would like to say that once again I felt blessed to take a few candid moments of the artists’ and crowd’s time to talk a little more about the passion and practices behind the show curtain and what has made these guys inspired enough to make the decision to live their lives as artists. It’s not an easy road, even for the most well-known artists out there, so we all need a reminder that we are not alone in this deal. Like those who came before, Abbey and Christopher shared their hopes, fears, lessons learned, happy times, battles with adversity, all the while being completely honest by saying that they are still just literally making things up as they go. Lucky for us, they are doing exactly what they need and want to be doing, and they see the signs and realize that the learning and the process is all happening when it is supposed to be happening. Nothing was more evident of this than when Abbey made a comment post-show that she was at one of Christopher’s first public readings of his work across town years before this particular paring came into fruition. It’s stuff like that that reminds me everything we are doing here is worthwhile and makes a positive change in the world beyond our immediate comprehension. So, here’s to more positive signs and changes in the New Year together!

So here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 122, the night when Christopher Pilny and Abbey Moss brought light, life, death, humor, and a good heart to a New Year. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, January  2, 2018. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

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

You can read more of Christopher’s writing here- christopherpilny.com

You can listen to more of Abbey’s music here – www.abbeymoss.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’ 123
Tuesday, January 16th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- John Winston Heacock
singing- Madison Pepper (Peppersaid)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 122 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

{ 0 comments }

Anna Harris, Joe B. Ingle, India Ramey, Chuck Beard, 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 121st epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 120, I repeat … 120, 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’ 121. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a United Church of Christ minister, reverend actually, respected author and public speaker. He is a leading voice in faith-based opposition to the death penalty. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary, has been the chaplain to dozens of people on death row over the past 40 years across the South (which is quite impressive since he is only 41 years old). It’s almost like he was born to do this. I first met him at East Side Story, where he allowed me the opportunity to promote and sell one of his books titled “Slouching Toward Tyranny: Mass Incarcerations, Death Sentences, and Racism.” As you can imagine, it is not a very light read, but I believe it is something everyone should check out. It was always an honor to talk book shop and life in general with this guy, and I knew this special night wasn’t going to be any different for everyone present. I’m talking about the man, the legend, Reverend Joe B. Ingle!

Joe took to the stage with his calm confidence, and prefaced his reading by telling everyone in the crowd about the various published books he had written on the table laid out in front of the podium so others could get a good idea about his work if they didn’t know about it already. Joe is very humble about his work and activism, but don’t think for one second that that makes him shy about sharing his mission and purpose within the cause. Instead of dabbling in each of his poignant non-fictional books about the prison system and examples of the wrongfulness of the death sentence in general, Joe took this opportunity and his time to share with us a new project that is autobiographical throughout. As mentioned in the title line to this blog, this work has been titled “Beauty & Madness: Growing Up Southern.” I, and others in the crowd, was instantly hooked from the start.

With a Shakespearian aspect of material and delivery, Joe jumped right into his intro and the first chapter of his youth. Set in the winter of 1954, about 30 miles outside of the Research Triangle of North Carolina, Joe threw us in the middle of a very personal basketball game and halftime show that involved his sister and his father predominantly. We didn’t find out the final score of the game or how his sister Kaye running on the court during play in the first half affected Joe’s play in the second. Instead, we were privy to a gut-wrenching account of a childhood and family trauma that few have experienced and that I can only imagine. I’m talking about the race to save a father who was in pain and in need of emergency help. I’m talking about the death of a patriarch in one night but also told and experienced in a childhood haze of slow motion trauma.

One, meaning I, had to wonder if this experience with death, up close and very personal, had an astounding affect on Joe to later pursue a passion of helping relieve others facing man-made death sentences in horrid prison conditions. I can only think that it didn’t hurt that inclination. That said, Joe was the utmost professional as he read from something so honest and personal that a lesser person would have been sobbing and ripping the pages out during the reading. Let’s just say, I’m not sure that I could’ve had the strength to share that with anyone had it been me at this moment, no matter how long ago it took place. I value Joe’s friendship and courage to live the story and mission that has been delivered on his plate. We are all better for having listened to Joe, that’s for sure.

Our featured music of the night is fresh off of firing on all cylinders with her magical third album and national debut, “Snake Handler.” She is the perfect combination of Americana noire and southern-gothic songwriting, with a twist of something awesome that hasn’t been labeled yet. Fitting for the post-reading tonight, her album is filled with stories of Pentecostal churches, broken households, crooked family trees, forgotten pockets of the Deep South, and domestic violence. But don’t you worry, nobody is going to get hurt by listening to her music, even if it self-proclaimed metal music that comes out country (t-shirt idea in the making). Before coming to Nashville, this lady worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Montgomery, Alabama. Recently acknowledged for her latest record by Rolling Stone as someone to know, and being accompanied by her talented friends Anna Harris and Javi Jones (East Side Storytellin’ alumni in their own right), I was more than honored and excited to welcome the always amazing India Ramey to the show family.

India is another one of those dynamite storytellers and entertainers who will sneak up on stage without trying to grab your attention and then explode your world with awesome once she starts singing and sharing her talents on a live mic (she could probably still explode your world singing unplugged too). She opened her set with the her recent title track of “Snake Handler”, prefacing the song by stating it is a literal and figurative tale of everyone dealing with the snakes in their head too. It was about facing arrogance and ignorance  while not showing any weaknesses on your journey. Playing a solid 6 chords with fierce strokes that could break any of the guitar strings at any moment and gifting us all with a voice and words that derive from somewhere inside her soul that is deeper than most will go and when it does reach you, it echoes into your own face like it’s been shot out of a cavern or cannon and crashes into your reality over and over again like waves when the tide rolls in on the shore (had to get one Roll Tide! comment for the Alabama shout out, but it’s all true).

Starting with the story about handling snakes, she then followed suit with our mutual ESS’ alumnus friend and magical storyteller Rayvon Pettis by sharing a song written about the TVA outside of Alabama and Georgia combined territory. An absolute beautifully haunting tale about the living and the dead drifting away and the relationship and respect the living have for those used and/or forgotten and misplaced in transition with a song titled “Drown Town”. You’ll hear it in the recording below, but the sheer amount of layers and personal histories packed into every one of India’s songs is both breathtaking and inspiring to anyone trying to convey meaningful material in any medium these days. You know when you can package surface with substance that is both equally wonderful and moving, that is a sure fire recipe for quality art. I know I’m starting to sound like India’s publicist, but I’m honestly just a fan and friend. She is that good. Besides, she doesn’t need a publicist, when she’s that good. Instead of tooting her own horn in between songs, she actually surprised me and everyone in the crowd and in the band when she asked Anna to step out of the backing light to lead the set with a song of her own called “Rapture City” … a song that had never seen the light of day or had been performed in public to that point in time. Like India’s songs, Anna didn’t hesitate to blow us all away with the tone and importance of every single word, melody, and message she wanted to convey in her short time there. Again, you can listen to it below, and see how shocked and surprised she was before she threw that to the side and rocked us all in this picture.

Before and after Anna did her thing, India claimed her thrown of a shining star that Nashville needs here and now by sharing two songs. One was her antithesis to Bro-Country and how those big phonies really don’t know what it’s like to find joy in small towns because they’ve never really lived in small towns and were poor (like most of their listeners who chug beer from solo cups to escape realities). It gave me the feeling of say a rapper trying to sound harder than they really know because of just trying to sell records (think comparing Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line to that of Rick Ross and you’ll see what I’m saying). Anyways, it was terrific. India and the gang finished the set with a song about a family redemption story about saying goodbye to her not so great father before his death. Again, not planning or curating any of the material from India or Joe, this is as serendipitous as life can get without misusing that term. And, again with India, she knocked it out of the park while taking one last walk off victory lap around the bases for the night. Take a listen to it all below, and let me know what you think for yourself. Prepare to be amazed.

And like every show I put together, I was able to get both Joe and India back on stage together to share some more personal stories, answers, and what ended up being shared praise for their own newfound friendship and respect for each other’s personal journey. India spoke about how important her husband letting the family uplift everything they had been working on for a decade and moving to Nashville to start a new path and friendships changed everything. Then Joe told his wife and India’s husband to stand up to be recognized for the solid teamwork for making every dream work to date for the featured artists.

Neither of these artists displaying an ego to write home about, these two artists join the ranks of people who are doing very important things for others to find their own purpose and happiness in this life, all the while doing everything they can to not waste any time or energy they can share with others while also making the most of their lives as well. It was a natural back and forth of meaningful and very relatable answers that everyone in the crowd could follow along and learn from with ease. I was merely tossing the ball on the court and letting these two professionals enjoy hitting it back and forth like a fun tennis match where nobody was counting score and there was nothing more than love. Like the majority of these show pairings, I should add that I totally could see these two doing more together in the near future, be it helping to add volume and unity with protests against a corrupt prison system and laws, or just helping others find their way back on their right paths. Point being, it was an honor to share the stage and a very special evening with these too kindred and fearless and altruistic souls. It’s very easy to smile and feel hope for humanity when around this crew.

So here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 121 the night when Joe Ingle and India Ramey (alongside Anna Harris and Javi Jones) allowed us to explore the wonder and awe and redemption of every Southern tragedy. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, December 19, 2017. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

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

You can listen to more of India’s music here – http://indiaramey.com

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



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

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

Our next show will be
East Side Storytellin’ 122
Tuesday, January 2nd
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Christopher Pilny
singing- Abbey Moss

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 121 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

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

Tom Eizonas, Rob Stewart, Dale J, Ashley Roth, Phill Thompson, 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 119th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 118, I repeat … 118, 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 recap and recording of the East Side Storytellin’ 119. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a writer, mother, and animal activist that currently calls Nashville home. Her work has appeared in decomP magazine, Moonsick Magazine, 100 Word Story, Sobotka Literary Orphans, and others. She is currently seeking representation for her first novel, The Great Jazz Baby. I first met her when she brought and sold her children’s book Tiny Tallulah and The Trouble With Zoos at East Side Story. She later slayed a cool crowd with some original poetry outside of East Side Story near the end of our retail run. No matter if its words for kids or adults, this artist knows what she is doing and where she is going. I have no doubt she’ll get proper representation soon, maybe sooner after later once this recap and recording gets out there. Regardless of literary politics, I was as happy as Poppy on Trolls to introduce the pinker than pink and always smiling Ashley Roth.

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

Ashley was good friends with about 80% of the packed house, so it wasn’t uncommon to have to wait a few seconds to let the applause and chants of her name from the crowd to calm down before anyone could speak on the mic. Obviously, from the smiles above and below, Ashley was ecstatic to be featured and present for the occasion. She decided to divide her time by thirds to share a little bit of a few projects. The first was a previously published work titled Mice. Holiday-themed and timed, it was a wild story about family, some alive but some gone without being forgotten, and mice in the house that resembled those found in Cinderella. At times, it was haunting. But it was refreshing, from the details of the smells and setting, all of the time. Plus, I love the name Mabel. The second piece was something to be published soon in Sobotka called Adolescent. It was a special 90’s reflection, with two female friends conversing about their likes and dislikes that eventually ended up being a who can top the other person by describing how they would best fantasize their suicide to be more like Kurt Cobain (and definitely not Team Amy Grant). Again, the references, the details of smells and sights, were all spot on.

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

Then Ashley closed her reading by giving us a professional tease of her book The Great Jazz Baby. I forget the byline that she gave later in the evening, for all listening publishers and agents (you can catch it in the recording below), but it was a vintage time lapse of an original Ashley Roth story. The characters were instantly intriguing and easy to draw anyone and everyone in, and the conversations were as witty and appealing as all get out. Plus, ever since The NeverEnding Story, I have loved the name Sebastian for any fictional character too. I personally can’t wait to read the entire story, if she lets me before it’s in published print.

Our featured music of the night is a dear friend of Ashley’s and a stellar musician in his own right. He is an experimental folk artist who often uses amplified acoustic instruments, strange projected visuals, and a stomp box created from an upside-down dresser drawer (that he brought for the special occasion), among other things. He tells original stories, inspired from odd observations and humor. He has been described as a fun mix of Frank Zappa, Bill Hicks, Tom Waits, and a touch of Butthole Surfers. His latest album will be called Eye Dropper, but he’s here tonight to share some new and old things to inspire our days. Alongside his very talented friends Rob (not Rod) Stewart and Phill (maybe I’ve been watching An American Tail too many times with my son lately and called Phill Phillie) Thompson, I was delighted to introduce the man, the legend, the talented Dale J.

Dale, like Ashley, jumped right into his groove on stage, becoming instant friends with anyone who wasn’t already his friend before the show started. It didn’t take me long at all to recognize that Dale has a very special condition where he only speaks the truth. I was all ears. From the shout-outs to the West Virginia wine, to the announcement of the fake band name Viking Swimming Pool (I think it’s a keeper), to introducing the band and thanking Ashley, me, Tom, and everyone else to coming out for the show before even playing the first note, I was strapped in for an unforgettable experience. Dale and the crew didn’t disappoint.

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

They played and combo of thick and groovy melodies for each jam and intricately weaved in and out of tempos and typos and thoughts and dreams and stories upon stories in and out of song that left my mind reeling from the depths of metaphors that Dale was slinging on stage like some sling spare change on the side walk. Again, I was picking everything up and I wasn’t alone. Everyone, on stage and off, was having a good time and using their presence to the max.

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

 

The stories about pet lizards (aka Little Man), a pet who was more family and some people consider their biological families, asking boys where the fear comes from despite knowing they’ve been here before, or being king of the basement steps, being fine down there (here), or trying to settle in when going home, I think I have enough inspirational material to write my next short story to keep me in check. Point being, these stories weren’t just contained in the music. Dale continued his wonderful tales of truth after the music faded and Ashley and I joined him on stage for a talk for the show’s closure.

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

We again waited for the joyous chants of Ashley’s name from her fans to subside before we really got into some quality talks. Dale continued to talk more about how his mind works within creativity, making his own art, and the act of sharing it with others. Ashley was able to stress how important becoming a parent was for her to her craft and being able to share that with others too. You can listen to the conversation and everything we recorded below, so I won’t keep you here long. I will say, though, that the entire evening felt like one of those nights I know I’ve had (I’m pretty sure you have too) where you were surrounded by good friends having the best of talks long into the night and early morning. You know, the type where your friends share things from their journals or stories from their pasts or goals in the future or songs they’ve written or grabbing a random instrument laying around in the room and playing it wildly and perfectly, even if you didn’t know they could actually play that instrument they put together on the fly. Again, point being, it was one of those nights where magic happened between kindred spirits and random tidbits of truth are dropped and you wake up the next morning wondering if it all actually really happened and you try to remember every single magical detail or truth dropped to apply it to you day and then you remember it was really real and the magic is already inside you and didn’t go over your head (it hit and stuck on your heart). So yeah.

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

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

Go ahead and get you a taste of the magic we all experienced with Ashley Roth and Dale J (and Rob not Rod Stewart & Phill the Phillie Fievel Mousekewitz Thompson) by listening to this edited recording of East Side Stortyellin’ 119 that we hosted at The Post East on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. It was an honor and one-of-a-kind night. Enjoy and share this link, over and over again, with family, friends, and complete strangers over this holiday weekend. Also, remember to be thankful for at least two things today, on top of being nice to one another.

You can read more of Ashley’s writing here – www.ashleynroth.com

Credit to @davidrobetfarmerie
www.instagram.com/davidrobertfarmerie

You can listen to more of Dale’s music here – facebook.com/dalej369

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

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

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

Our next show will be
East Side Storytellin’ 120
Tuesday, December 5th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Michael McRay
singing- Emma Dilemma

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 119 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

{ 0 comments }

Shane Tutmarc, Dave Eastman, Dana Malone, Chuck Beard, 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 5th anniversary and 118th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 117, I repeat … 117, 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’ 118. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is as Nashville as you can be without being born here. She has been living and writing here since 1990. After a full-time career as a publications editor, PR director, and speechwriter, then teaching writing at TSU and Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, she has produced podcast series before it was the cool thing for everyone to do, and she has been one of the biggest supporters of all local writing programs and writers alongside Chance Chambers. She currently co-hosts Writings on the Wall with our fellow favorite muse in Ciona Rouse, and she was featured to share some of her original work for a change. I could talk for days about her accomplishments, but I just let her work do the talking. I’m talking about my very talented friend, Dana Malone!

photo by @davidrobertfarmerie

Dana knew what she wanted to get across and she dove right into her words. She explained that she would read from parts of a personal creative essay and then finish with an excerpt from a poem. The passage from the essay she threw us into was all about her Appalachian roots. She painted such a bright and vivid and original painting of her life with characters and scenes that literally came alive after being spoken and lit up the room like Christmas. Some of my favorite lines were when she talked about digging her hands in the Appalachian mud and having that provide the fuel for divinity school and other things left undone and also when she compared the movie Carrie and being covered with pig’s blood with that of religious cleansing … something obviously written by a man.

photo by @davidrobertfarmerie

Seriously though, it was a biographic escapade like view I’ve seen with my eyes and mind open. The pace was fast and frantic but perfect at the same time. She kept us on the edge of our seats with imagery, action, and personal depth & grace. There were lessons to be shared and learned, and who can’t relate to the thought that no good mother wants her child to burn in hell? I mean, this girl was on fire. She closed her set with a poem that relayed the fact that love is enough. Again, my words can’t really give Dana’s words justice. Take a listen to the recording below.

Our featured music of the night is a Seattle born Nashvillian who is a singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who has already appeared once on the East Side Storytellin’ stage alongside his life muse Tanya Montana, but was primed to help promote his latest creation of awesome. He is someone who, like Dana, is always smiling and helping others become better artists, friends, and humans in general, by being supportive and himself. His most recent creative project was brought forth from a painful place, like most great art, it seems. After grieving the loss of his best friend, this guy found solace in creating these new songs. Most people know him as Shane Tutmarc, but this night we referred to him as Solar Twin.

photo by @davidrobertfarmerie

To preface this music and this set, the original Solar Twin project is filled with multiple layers of sounds, melodies, instruments, loops, and vocals. For this given set, it was just Shane and his guitar. He told the crowd that he had put off my invitation to be on this show and this format for months because he didn’t know if he could pull it off just right in his heart and mind. I’m telling you right now, he did. He started with a song about being tired of waking up, and on the 5th anniversary that not only marked a time before the chaos now when we started our first show 5 years ago on a very different US Election night … it matched the mutual feeling a lot of people are having right now with politics and world news in general. It’s been a tidal wave of a year so far. I was thankful to have Shane and Dana begin the transition of 2017 into the next year.

photo by @davidrobertfarmerie

Shane spoke in detail about the way he wrote each song in this project versus prior records. He made things simple and relatable. As I sat and heard the way he gently sank his vocals into small scream-like melodies to emphasize the words and the melodies, he reminded me of two legends who I musically appreciate more than most. Take a listen to the sounds of Shane’s voice, and you too may be able to hear the song-child of a young Kurt Cobain and young John Lennon. It takes a skill that few have to change their voice in that tone to reach that emotion and frailty but at the same time coming through as a life force to be reckoned with and noticed. Shane has that magic about him and his music. He is thoughtful, articulate, passionate, and skillful enough to make his wondrous ideas into beautiful and fragile realities. One big example, as he discussed for the final song, was writing and performing a song for a documentary about the heroine epidemic in his hometown of Seattle. It will make you cry sad tears for the subject matter and happy tears for the beauty of the song at the same time. Again, Shane has that magic.

photo by Chance Chambers

I forgot to mention that my main man, the original voice of WAMB, Sir Dave Eastman, was on hand in the crowd to open this special occasion and to witness another round of awesome that we’ve put together. I can’t say enough great things about the 5 years and over 250 local artists who have shared the stage with Tom and me … sharing their creative gifts, stories, and doing it all with fearlessness and honesty seldom matched in any other show I’ve ever been to in person. This special night and round was no different. Shane and Dana took the time to follow up their reading/singing with a few candid moments of answering some personal questions I dished their way. There was a common theme of salvation between the art that both of them shared, and that same message of salvation was evident when they spoke to me beyond the page and guitar.  I don’t want to spoil the answers and art for you, so go ahead and listen to the show in the link below so you know what I’m talking about. Again, as always, I felt humbled and blessed.

I hope to see y’all at the next 5 years of shows coming up. We are just getting started with this idea.

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

Here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 118, the night we featured Dana Malone & Solar Twin at The Post East on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Please feel free to listen to and share it with everyone you know, over and over again.

You can listen to more of Solar Twin’s music here – solartwinmusic.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



And speaking of other shows, here is a special compilation compiled by Tom Eizonas that features at least one song from each show we produced in the 5th year of this show’s being (shows 97-117, to be exact). As before, feel free to explore each of these tracks and shows from hence they came, over and over again. Many thanks to each and every artist who has donated their time and talents to this idea so far. Like I said before, we are just getting started. 

photo by Chance Chambers

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 like to give one huge shout out to Tonya and Chris for making The Post so welcoming and positively life-changing for the East Nashville community at large.

But how can I forget the include a picture of my trusty roadie crew of Steve Simpson and Chance Chambers. They have made more shows than anyone not named Chuck or Tom, and they are not only always engaged and supporting us by recruiting countless friends on and off-line to attend these shows too, they also help me break down the set so I can get more quality time at home with my family than if I had to do so by myself. They are as kind and true of friends as a person could ever have, and I get to call them my own. They are like brothers, and they are amazing. I just wanted to give a special thanks to them as well. The show is what it is because of you two too. Here’s to many many more, together.

Chance, Steve, and Chuck = the crew.

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 119
Tuesday, November 21st
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Ashley Roth
singing- Dale J. Gordon

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 118 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

one more shot of Solar Twin and me for the road, because we finally made it happen.

{ 0 comments }

East Side Storytellin’ 117 – When Carter F. Smith described the worst of humanity and Ali Sperry brought us back to life

October 21, 2017

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 117th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 116, I repeat … 116, previous shows East Side Story has put together, […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 116: When James Collins and Abigail Flowers changed our Learning to fly aftermath into learning to walk and dream and smile again

October 8, 2017

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 116th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 115, I repeat … 115, previous shows East Side Story has put […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 115: When Every man with a J brought their A game for art’s sake

September 24, 2017

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 recap and recording of the 115th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 114, I repeat … 114, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 114: The day Destiny Birdsong and Mike Hicks started a new, open, and direct conversation via art

September 10, 2017

Thank you for visiting this blog. If you are a return visitor, 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  114th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 113, I repeat … […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 113: When Susan McBride & Mary Bragg brought God & family into the light from the dark

August 19, 2017

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 113th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 112, I repeat … 112, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take […]

Read the full article →