Neil Young

Kristin Weber, Carter F. Smith, Tom Eizonas, Ali Sperry, 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 117th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 116, I repeat … 116, 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’ 117. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is someone who teaches criminal justice at MTSU (Go Blue Raiders!). He was in the US Army CID for over 22 years, serving 15 of those at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he and a loosely-organized group of investigators identified the growing gang problem in the early 1990’s. After the Army, he got a law degree and PhD. so you know we’re dealing with another slacker artist again, to be clear. He is a founding and still serving board member of the TN Gang Investigators Association and is a 3-time recipient of an award named for sociologists Frederic Milton Thrasher awarded by the National Gang Crime Research Center. You may recognize him from his appearances in the History Channel’s Gangland series, and you may be seeing him for the first time. Either way, it will be a pleasure. I’m talking about the extremely smart, kind, and talented Dr. Carter F. Smith.

Carter came prepared. He had a special event where he did a talk about his book a few days before East Side Storytellin’ and another one the day after. He had his notes, book, and photos to share with everyone present. Like I said, Carter was ready.

b/w photo of Monk Eastman

Carter jumped into his talk by giving the audience facts and proper context behind his research of gangs in the US military. He couldn’t have gone straight into the excerpts from his book, but he wanted us to get a clear picture of what is going on and how serious the matter is to our civilization as a whole going forward. That said, the historical context and figures he decided to talk more in depth about were truly fascinating to hear about. I knew a few of the figures, but the more unknown the characters were for me, the more impact they had had with the history of our country. I know there is at least two more book projects, whether Carter knows now or not, that he could squeeze out of these lemons.

After Carter set the scene of his book, he dove right in. He shared a few highlighted interviews he did while putting the book concept together and also while going down the wormhole of our criminal justice system and dangerous gangs located throughout our country. I instantly heard the back and forth dialogue as an old time radio show, and told this idea to Carter later for further tread on this book’s tire. Point being, I feel like Carter is only on the tip of the iceberg of this story and, although he’s done a fantastic job with absolutely everything he’s produced and shared so far, I’m hooked to hear more. You can take a listen to Carter on the recording below to hear just how on point he is with his research, writing, and delivery on this important topic.

Then, it was time for our featured music of the night. Our headlining musical guest is a Nashville-based indie artist whose songs are undeniably rooted in folk music, simple and true. Originally from Iowa and two musician parents who encouraged her to sing and create music from the time she could speak, her musical education was taught by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon, among others. She moved through Syracuse University and around Chicago before being pulled to Nashville via an all-girl band called Sweetwater Rose. I know we’ll speak more about that and everything else musical and life related later, but let’s not waste any more time than we have and get this girl to sing these amazing original songs while we have her here to ourselves. Fresh off of her 2017 release of “Crooked Feelings,” her third record so far, and joined on stage by her tremendously talented friend on the fiddle, Kristin Weber, I was super excited to finally introduce the one, the only, Ali Sperry.

Ali jumped right into her song “Crooked Feelings” off the newest album. I was instantly pulled in by the lyrics “treason if you won’t fight the war” and “I quit for love!” and “I’m gonna be alright.” I thought it was the perfect transition from the dark side of life and current events explained by Carter’s work into a much more comforting and hopeful future prompted by Ali’s words, melodies, and style. I said it a few times to Tom during the performance, but Ali reminded me of a folkish version of Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins. She was serving up the spoonfuls of sugar and it was helping us digest the real life medicine that already went down with Carter. I was feeling alive and okay.

Ali and Kristin were side by side on every note and harmony they dished to us. From the way they told the crowd to “Look at Me” with the lyric of “nobody loves you half as much as me” and “Pay attention.”, they had the entire room spellbound and in the palms of their hands. We even had two toddlers in the crowd who were recording the performance for future notes. It was very inspiring, to say the least.

Ali and Kristin ran through a solid handful of originals, from the inspiring song on hills about journeys going forward, to fictional tales and characters who Ali hopes is really real and happening somewhere in the world today, and finally wrapping up with some sad tunes and tributes to fallen friends and muses. One of the coolest moments of then night, for me, was when Ali and Kristin finished the set by covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ song Breakdown. You can hear it in the recording below, along with the rest of the set, but I will say that I thought it was perfect, timing and performance.

After the Tom Petty tribute ended, I was gifted with the chance to talk more about creative journeys and life passions with Ali and Carter. Both were as energetic and honest and positive as I’ve seen any duo of guests in all my time, and that says a lot since pretty much everyone I’ve had the chance to speak with is energetic, honest, and positive. You’ll hear it all in the recoding below, so I’ll save you from reading too much of my rambling post-show.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 117, the night we featured the likes of Carter F. Smith, Ali Sperry, and Kristin Weber at The Post East on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 at 1701 Fatherland. I’m no Yoko Ono, but I was not disappointed with a magical experience with all of these people and numbers aligning with the stars. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with all of your friends 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 Carter & Ali (and Kristin) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Carter’s writing here – www.gangsandthemilitary.com

You can listen to more of Ali’s music here – alisperry.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’ 118, the 5th anniversary show

Tuesday, November 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Dana Malone

singing- Solar Twin

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 117 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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Chuck Beard, Heath Haynes, Caitlin Rose, Chet Weise, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Heath Haynes, Caitlin Rose, Chet Weise, and Tom Eizonas

Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’.  Much like the 35 previous stellar shows, we’re all here, right HERE at the computer again, to provide you with ample amounts of awesomeness in the form of a local Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by amazing local musicians 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.  This is East Side Storytellin’ 36.  Let us begin.

The first featured guest of the evening is a musician, teacher, event planner extraordinaire, killer soccer player, poet, and basically anything and everything he wants to be.  He is the founder and leader of the legendary spoken word series called Poetry Sucks!  He is a former student and economics teacher at Auburn University, WAR EAGLE, a MFA in poetry grad of Murray State University, go Racers, currently an instructor of Literature and Composition at MTSU, go Blue Raiders, originally from Memphis, TN, go Memphis, and recently the co-creator and main man behind the Third Man Books release of Language Lessons, Volume 1, I was honored to finally track down “the cheetah” and introduce the man, no myth, the legend, Chet Weise.

Chet, with beer in hand and spunk all around, took to the stage like he always does.  He jumped right into letting the audience at hand know about where he had come from, before Nashville and with his poetry, and then let loose his words and poems out into the crowd like a lion escaped from the zoo.  The words went where they wanted, and every poem roared beyond the norm.  Even the birds took their cue within the essence of the poems being read, and the backstories that were told about each involving music and life surrounding Chet at the time that he wrote them in the first place.  Chet’s tempo, tone, and delivery of each of the poems that you can hear below were pitch perfect for fully appreciating what he had/has to say.  By the end of the performance, he even had the young kids in the crowd, of whom he edited a word here or there during the show because he’s just that nice of a guy, talking about poetry and language all around them.  The whole thing was quite impressive, as usual with Chet and his art of choice.

Chet talking over the birds with his bitchin’ poems

The second featured guest of the evening was a late and special addition to the bill.  It’s fitting that on a night when we featured an artist talking about his Third Man book, we also had a third person featured for the first time since our show’s inception.   Sticking with a solid literary connection, this artist wrote her first song at 16 as a substitution for a high school paper, and really hasn’t stopped since.  Quickly recognizing the power of music, melody, and her love or putting words to both in order to relay emotions and stories she wants to share with the world, this girl’s talent is obvious and we considered ourselves very lucky and honored to have her with us this particular night.  From Dead Flowers to Shanghai Cigarettes to Own Side Now to The Stand-In, to opening for Neil Young and The National, to appearing on the Grand Ole Opry, the applause seemed to never end for the inspiring local girl doing great, Ms. Caitlin Rose!

Caitlin, usually always with a band of good friends and solid musicians at her back on stage, was solo for the show with East Side Storytellin’.  She openly admitted, several times, that she was nervous as all get out, and that she wasn’t as totally confident in her guitar skills on her own because of a lack of practice doing so lately.  She was so innocent, humbled, and honest to the crowd that it felt like everyone there to see her perform did everything short of coming up on stage to give her hugs to show her support.  Every time the crowd would clap, she told them to stop because that didn’t help the situation.  The best part of her shyness on stage, and I don’t think I’m alone, was when she said something to the effect that, “At least I’m not like Cat Powers and hiding behind a table!  I’m out here doing it in front of y’all.”  What she said was true, and she was simply more than words.  With her songs, her talks in between, and her taking the time to step outside of her comfort zone to better herself as an artist along her way, everything about her was refreshing and welcomed by a genuinely caring crowd of observers.  I can’t really say more about how nice it was in words other than letting you listen to the experience below, if you weren’t there to hear it for yourself.  And just like that, Caitlin was finished with her short, stellar set for the night.

Caitlin being honest and awesome

The final featured artist of the evening was a guy who works all night every night so that you can have a good time.  He’s promised and delivered to do the same in about a quarter of an hour for East Side Storytellin’.  A Poetry Sucks! alum, born on February 17th, 1973 in Danville, Virginia, he learned to play guitar at 15 and the common theme of his life is that he’s played in a bunch of Rock n’ Roll bands everywhere he’s lived ever since.  A fellow liberal arts grad with a degree in English and a creative writing concentration that made his mom and dad happy as well as the tie-in with this show and East Side Story.  He did a stint as a minor league pro wrestling ring announcer, created the soon to be famous George Jones White Lightning Chili, has a 12 year old one-eyed dog, is a seasonal allergy sufferer like me, and unlike me, has played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame AND the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Yes, I’m talking about the one and only Heath Haynes!

Heath, having already told me that he had another gig on Broadway with his band after this show was over (along with another gig or two every single night of this week and more, as he detailed to everyone later), made himself comfortable with the great crowd instantly.  He strummed his chords through his own pa and played his songs like an electric modern americana crooner for the real Nashville crowd at hand (not ones you may see on reality shows galore).  It was interesting to note and hear that Heath had his first music experience and live performing experience in Nashville at this very location.  It wasn’t Mad Donna’s back then … it was actually called Radio Cafe back in the day.  I’m not sure if they had Drag Bingo or not, but it sure was nice to see Heath so happy to come full circle artistically and within his Nashville adventure up to this point as well.  Again, just like that, after a few great songs that everyone enjoyed, the live music ended.

Heath and a packed house from the back of the patio

I had some minutes left to spare for the full show, and since nobody was close to leaving or getting out of their seats after this show, I asked the guests back on stage to talk a little bit.  Staying true to their humble selves, I didn’t get too many personal words or talk out of the guests by the end of the show.  That was okay, they had already given so much of themselves by sharing their poems and songs throughout the night.  I was happy.  The crowd was happy.  And, to say that the show was finished, the guests were really happy to join the crowd and sit back and enjoy the beautiful night and gathering we had together at hand.  It really was something special.

So, without further ado, here is the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 36.  Please feel free to share it with everyone and your  mother and to listen over and over as many times as you want.  

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-36-chet

I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Chet Weise, Heath Haynes, and Caitlin Rose for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.  Please keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, for the recording and sound of the night, Clay Brunton for the art print, for Kevin at 5 Points Digital Imaging (http://5pdi.com) for printing those art prints,and to my lovely wife 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.

art by Clay Brunton printed by 5 Points Digital Imaging

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

But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

Featured guests- author of The Southern Foodie and The Tennessee food critic Chris Chamberlain (https://www.facebook.com/TheSouthernFoodie) and music by the great Zach Broocke (@zachbroocke).

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 36 show.  Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word.  Remember to be nice to one another out there.  Thanks and good night.  Much love.

More smiles and laughing than words for our conversation

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