New York

Tom Eizonas, Susan McBride, Chuck Beard, and Mary Bragg

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 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’ 113. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the night is someone who is an amazing artist but is an even better person. I first met her while we were both working at Oasis Center. Whenever anyone finds out that I worked at Oasis Center, they give me this look that I’m lucky and that that means I’m a special person. The truth is that I’m lucky to have met this friend there and she is truly a special person. She is the child of chronic church attending, God, drug, and alcohol addicted relatives (aren’t we all though), but she embraces a resurrection of sorts through confrontation of lethal theology. She is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt with her Master of Divinity (at the young age of 65, mind you), but her poetry is why she is featured tonight. Her work is a poignant prose styled picture of misery that sometimes gives way to humor. It is a testament to truth and strength found within us all. Without writing for days, let me say that it was an absolute honor to introduce my friend and talented artist, Susan McBride.

Susan went toe to toe with the immense and looming aftereffects of current events in our country that took place in Charlottesville this past weekend the only way she knows how, with honesty, insight, and love. She started her set with two long and family-related pieces that took everyone in the room on a roller coaster of emotions in the best of ways. The first story was about an unfortunate death and someone’s last meal. The second delved more in family characters and locations and was a superb trip via trains and rehab and possibly jail in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There were mentions of Elvis-like Bear Bryant sitings, and the volcano of emotions and actions blew its lid and overflowed with a young girl declaring to the family everything she knows is true from the bottom, top, and sides of her heart. It was some very powerful stuff! And not only did it have a cool name of Aunt Evelyn (I pronounced it as Evil Lean, which fit her character), Susan also had a main character by the name of Uncle Otis (shout out to my son without being an uncle thing).

Anyways, Susan ended her set with a short piece from God and Family that begged to bring up the thought of someone not asking to be born to these people she has as parents, always confronted with the right answers to the wrong questions … or something like that. It was, as the rest of her writing, heart wrenching and hit you straight to the core. Lucky for you, even if you were in the audience this given night, you can listen to Susan read it all over again and again in the link below. Be strong, and take the trip.

Our featured music of the night is an award-winning singer-songwriter who was born in THE Swainsboro, Georgia, but now calls Nashville home. The youngest of four children and a city full of cousins, she grew up listening by default and became a great observer from the get go. After finding herself and finding her own way of telling her stories via music, you can tell by such titles as SUGAR, TATTOOES & BRUISES, EDGE OF THIS TOWN, and her latest in LUCKY STRIKE, that this artist makes quite the layered stories within stories with her word and her melody skills. This songbird’s music explores the questions and search to discover our truest selves, the ones outside of our families and communities in which we are raised. More than happy to finally get her to become part of the East Side Storytellin’ family, it was perfect timing for everyone for me to introduce Mary Bragg to our stage.

Mary wasted no time in getting up to the microphone and letting everyone know just how special this timing and pairing was to her. She said something to the effect that, and I paraphrase in quotes, “These types of events, it often comes down to timing and availability, I know from experience, and it is truly amazing how all of Susan’s stories reflect and relate to my songs.” To which I yet again said under my breath, “Serendipity!” Yes, serendipity, indeed. Mary completely dropped everyone’s jaws with her voice from the heavens and the content from the depths of her soul. I’ll admit it here and now, my mom was in the crowd and she shed real tears during one of the songs … maybe two. It was that good and moving.

Mary broke out a lot of her “story” songs for the crowd and this set. She sang about wildfires, the 40 year love between her aunt and uncle (not sure if his name was Otis or not at the moment), bayou lullabies, and the title track from Lucky Strike, to name a few. She was in character as the melodic narrator of these epic tales, and you can actually feel the words if you listen carefully in between the notes in the recording below. Before she was to finish her set, Mary changed things up a bit on a lighter note and sang a song she co-wrote with her friend Becky Warren about two of my household’s favorite things (items that could be the perfect reflection of my marriage and love), ice cream and liquor. Mary finished the set with smiles and fun all around. Everyone was feeling better than before the show, and that’s all I could ever ask of anything we do.

After the music and the applause faded, I asked Mary and Susan to join me up front yet again to talk more about their own personal mantras and lessons they’ve learned about their personal stories and creativity in general. They both maintained the same honesty and openness and spunk that they showed while sharing their original art. Let me repeat this again, I couldn’t have asked for a better and more closely pair of strangers to be featured on this given Tuesday when we hosted #113. With so much weight in the world at the moment, it was more than refreshing to share an evening with two artists who live with so much love and care for others on and off the stage, every day they breathe. I don’t think it was just coincidence that this pairing hit the stage one a day that my mom told me before the show that it was a Catholic sacred day for Mary because I really feel like Mary Bragg and Susan McBride were delivering some powerful messages that those of us in attendance needed to be reminded of for that day. It was like we all went to church on a Tuesday … a church filled with more love and teach than judgement and preach.

But who am I to ramble on about everything that happened. I was merely a witness. And, again, lucky for you and those who weren’t there to witness it firsthand, go ahead and click the link below to listen to and share the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 113, a recording of Susan McBride and Mary Bragg doing what they do and did at The Post on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. It was truly an honor. 

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

You can read more of Susan’s writing here – http://approachingperfection-barnone.blogspot.com

You can listen to more of Mary’s music here – www.marybragg.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’ 114

Tuesday, September 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Destiny Birdsong

singing- Mike Hicks

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 113 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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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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Pat McInerny, Kimberly Dana, Bill Crosby, Chuck Beard, Tom Eizonas, Mark North, and Mark Brown

Whether this is your first visit to our website or you are familiar with everything that East Side Story, Nashville’s only all-local bookstore, has to offer, we want to take a second to welcome you to East Side Storytellin’ for a very special occasion. We were beyond honored and thrilled to be asked by the fine people over at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum and Art for the second year in a row to put together a Children-themed show that would be featured within their Cheekwood in Bloom series. So like previous East Side Storytellin’ shows we at East Side Story have curated thus far (105 and counting), 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. Unlike the previous East Side Storytellin’ shows, with the exception of last year’s Cheekwood show (see here- http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-cheekwood-in-bloom-edition/), we added another something special the event that had never been donw before. So, without further ado, this is the recap and recording of a very special 2nd annual Cheekwood edition of East Side Storytellin’. Let us begin, again.

On Saturday, April 8th, 2017, I was one of the first guys on the scene to help set up for the show. Cheekwood reserved the perfect location for everything we wanted to make happen come together. The weather was perfect, yet again, and we had more sunshine than you could shake your leg at in any direction. Point being, the natural stage was already set for success. All of the signs pointed to a proper show like none other on a Spring Saturday in Music City.

The featured guests arrived early to set up their props, followed by my sound man Tom Eizonas and the ultimate man on the radio in Dave Eastman, and the Frist Learning Center & Contemporary Art Galleries setting and staff couldn’t have been more helpful for all involved.

But even before the East Side Storytellin’ show was set to go down, our Cheekwood guide, Meagan Rust, invited me and two other local children’s book authors to take part in instant classic readings along the enchanting trail she had set up for story time. She handed each of us a few books and gave the big group of kids with their parents the right direction to follow the path on the grounds to end up at three different locations for some quality reading sessions. I was honored to have the opportunity to share the local literary spotlight on Kimberly Dana (author of Pretty Dolls and a few more) and Mark North (author of The Day Anthony Counted to a Googol and counting) to join me at said spots. Each of us had the attention of the groups for about 15 minutes. We read through our own books and other classics Meagan had on stock that related to the nature found at Cheekwood. Whether the toy trains were humming by us or if the pollen added a few more sneezes into the mix, the overall lap around the path for story time with the kids and parents was a perfect appetizer for the East Side Storytellin’ stage.

The theme of the show was Cheekwood in Bloom: Drop Everything and Read! So we did just that. I’ll go ahead and introduce the featured guests before I reveal how the show transpired.

The first of the featured artists became a father in 2012, naming his son Noble. In my humble opinion, there are very few people in Nashville, or who I’ve been blessed to meet, who are half as noble as this artist. He is a good person and friend who constantly exercises, practices, and teaches his son and everyone around him about mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, acceptance, and other values that generate a peaceful, happy life. Together with his wife, Amy, he created the book from which he would share at Cheekwood. It is a book titled Zen Pig. It is a book and character that spreads the word about good morals and values for everyone, speaking wisdom and serving his town and neighbors. But Zen Pig is not just a book to read to kids. This author gives money back from each book sold to help an established non-profit organization in Africa fight poverty and provide clean water. You can find out more information about his efforts and his creativity at his website listed below, but it was truly an honor for me to introduce and bring to the Cheekwood platform my wonderful friend who embodies the word altruism with every breath he takes … I’m talking about the one and only Mark Brown.

Mark stepped up to the microphone and immediately had the smiling attention of every kid of every age in the crowd. He is like the original Pied Piper with a just and noble cause that follows his shadow. But seriously, Mark used the time and stage he was given to share the lessons of gratitude and compassion for the kids. He began the performance by saying a little prayer in the form of hitting a Buddhist singing bowl. It instantly reminded me of one of our beloved authors from the show we hosted at Cheekwood a year ago with Kaaren Engel. Kaaren passed away this past year due to complications with Cancer, but she was a practicing healer of this tradition and religion mixed with the arts. God, rest Kaaren’s soul.

Bringing us full circle again, I knew, with all my heart and soul, that this was going to be an epic show after Mark rang out the singing bowl prayer. I could literally feel it.

When the singing bowl had sung, Mark asked the audience to relay things they were grateful for on this given day. There were several great responses, because you know kids have all of the fun ideas and answers. I saw two parents tear up a little bit when their child stood up to be called on and share to the world that she was grateful for her parents’ love. This is the kind of vibe and setting when Mark and Zen Pig are at their best.

And from this new circle of trust and love, Mark jumped into his book and shared the story of Zen. Every kid, from my 15 month old who just loves to turn pages to the end of books and carry them back to where they came from to the oldest adult in the crowd holding the bags for her daughter and baby in stroller, were mesmerized by Marks words and presence. You don’t have to take my word for it. Look at the pictures above and below for yourself.

Mark literally could have stayed up on stage for hours and had everyone smiling the entire time. He’s just that kind of artist and person. But, as soon as he hit the final page, he threw out a Namaste and got a collective one thrown right back at him from the crowd. It had been a mutually enjoyed reading trip. And the party kept going, as many of those same people got up while the music was setting up shop so they could purchase one of Mark’s (as well as the other Mark and Kimberly’s) books at the merch table to take home with them after the overall experience.

Alan Young, Bill Crosby, Pat McInerny, Merissa Marx, and Don Kierce.

And speaking of music, the second featured artist of the show set up the stage and was ready to rock before I could sneeze three times fast. You may have seen and heard of this talented musician while he played at The Family Wash or even Cheekwood during his residency not too long ago. He is originally from New York, where he grew up fighting with his brothers and trying to make milk come out of his sister’s nows while telling jokes at the dinner table. He loved to ride bikes, watch tv, and listen to rock n’ roll. When his older brother bought a guitar, this guy played it more than his brother did and got really good at it. Fast forward to present day Nashville, and this guy was joined on stage by a crew of his talented friends to bring some music to life for our audience. It was my job and honor (I say that word a lot here and there because it is true) to introduce, alongside his bandmates (Alan Young, Pat McInerny, Merissa Marx, and Don Kierce) the very talented and the very nice man named Bill Crosby.

Bill, like Matt, jumped right into his set. He played rock n’ roll music for kids of all ages. His band played tight and they played steady. Every song had a fun, upbeat messages with quirks for smiles and laughs while the melodies felt like classic rock shows from the 70’s and 80’s at their finest. I did you not, these guys are probably the best I’ve ever heard at taking children themes and playing rhythms that would make any professional rock musician move their feet. It’s like the musical equivalent of the humor found in any and all Pixar movies from the past twenty years. Basically, the kids and the older kids who brought the kids all had an absolute blast.

Did I mention that the sun was shining down on all of us and everyone was out on the dance floor? Well, let me tell you that the sun was shining down on all of us and everyone was out on the dance floor. If you don’t believe me, again, take a look at the pictures above and below. You can listen to the actual recording of this Cheekwood dance party in the link below. Take note to enjoy, share, and mark your calendars and stay tuned for when we bring the Bloom edition party back to Cheekwood next Spring too. We feel blessed to be included and we take this gig very seriously, in the most heartfelt and fun way possible.

After the music faded with one last killer hook, the babies were ready for their naps and the adults were ready to relax at home as well. We broke down the stage and the merch table in record time, and we cleaned up our party so well there wasn’t even a trace – like nothing extraordinary had just taken place in that courtyard. But it had, and you could still feel the love and joy in the air, if not the echoes of the music cast over the rest of the grounds around us. Don’t believe me? Come again next year and test me. In the “nice” time, check out the recording of our show below. That’s the least we can do for those who came and missed out too.

Here is the edited recording of our very special 2nd Annual Cheekwood in Bloom edition of East Side Storytellin’ that took place on Saturday, April 8th, 2017 and featured Mark Brown alongside Bill Crosby and his band of friends.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-1

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Mark North, Kimberly Dana, Mark Brown, and Bill Crosby and his band of friends (Alan Young, Pat McInerny, Merissa Marx, and Don Kierce) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Mark North’s book here-

https://www.facebook.com/Mark-North-The-Day-Anthony-Counted-to-a-Googol-139747204266/

You can read more about Kimberly Dana’s books here-

http://kimberlydana.com

You can read more about Mark Brown’s Zen Pig series here-

www.zenpigbook.com

You can listen to more of Bill Crosby’s music here-

www.billcrosbymusic.com

You can check out everything else you need to know about Cheekwood here- www.cheekwood.org

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 and all of the kids, young and old, who came out here to support the show in person and online.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to everyone, especially Meagan Rust, at Cheekwood Botannical Garden for their hospitality and everything the do for this community all year round.

That said- that’s all for the 2nd Annual Cheekwood in Bloom edition of East Side Storytellin’. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Don’t forget to drop by East Side Story, located in the heart of 5 Points in East Nashville, and also the other various events and programs that we put together all year round. Also, please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

Chuck Beard

www.eastsidestorytn.com

**Here are a few pictures of my number one assistant, trying to get the best seat (or standing view) possible:

 

The East Side Storytellin’ breakdown crew (no baby labor laws in TN)

 

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Tom Eizonas, Matt Siffert, TJ Jarrett, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Thank YOU. Hello again. Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially and whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 97th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’. Like the 96, I repeat … 96, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy lives in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by a local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. So, without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 97. Let us begin, again.

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

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

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

I want to be good.

You have learned early what I have learned late.

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

They call this victory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to more of Matt’s music here – www.mattsiffert.com

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

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

I’d also like to show some extra love to Clay Brunton, for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show and being an all-around amazing human being, father, husband, brother, and friend. If you have time, please send extra positive thoughts and prayers to Clay and his family right now while one of his closest relatives faces a recovery from surgery and some other complications.

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

Our next show will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 98

Tuesday, January 3rd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Liza Kawaller (@lkawaller)

singing- Machaela-Catherine Nesler

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 97 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

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Tom Eizonas, Erica Wright, Daniel Seymour, Luke Amelang, Chuck Beard, and Jeff Blaney

Tom Eizonas, Erica Wright, Daniel Seymour, Luke Amelang, Chuck Beard, and Jeff Blaney

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 89th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 88, I repeat … 88, 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’ 89. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is gentlewoman and a scholar. She studied at Webb School, NYU, and Columbia University, to name a few. Her debut novel, The Red Chameleon, was one of O, The Magazine’s Best Books of Summer 2014, so you know this girl can write. She is also the author of a crime novel called, The Granite Moth, and the poetry collections Instructions for Killing the Jackal and All the Bayou Stories End with Drowned. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Drunken Boat, and Spinning Jenny, again, to name a few. She is the poetry editor and senior editor at Guernica Magazine and has taught creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College and NYU’s continuing studies program. Yes, she is quite the slacker. Born and raised in Wartrace, TN, I was beyond excited to introduce another great Tennessee girl done good in Erica Wright.

Erica was the first featured writer that has come to East Side Storytellin’ having been majorly published for her poetry and fiction work. There were a handful of fans of her poetry in the crowd, fellow local poets who have been featured on our show and others yet to come. That said, there was one fan of hers, one on crutches, who didn’t care what she read. She was her woo-hoo fangirl who excitedly awaited whatever Erica was bringing to the podium. I won’t reveal names or pictures of said fans, but I will say that the energy was perfect.

Erica chose to read from her latest novel, The Granite Moth. It is a novel set in New York, and it is a detective doozy. It begins with a float exploding during the famous Halloween Parade. Erica set the intro up with the backstory of the protagonist, an undercover police officer, who sees the explosion while her friend and his fellow drag queens from The Pink Parrot are performing. Let me just say, with Elton John cover songs and jugglers, it was quite the teaser for anyone and everyone to get her book (you can buy it at East Side Story, today, by the way).

Our featured musician is more than a unique voice in modern country music. He is also a mutual friend to one of my all-time favorite Nashvillians and artist, Carl Carbonell. We miss you, Carl. May you rest in Utah, your new home. Now, back to the musician at hand. This guy’s writing is based in the traditions of southern folk, blues, and traditional country. You can check out his albums, two and growing, called The Farm and In the Garden, respectively. From ballads of love and loss to swinging numbers about sasquatches and aliens, this guy is sure to fit in nicely with our East Side Storytellin’ family, always searching for the common thread of life that bonds us all together. Alongside his talented friends, Jeff Blaney and Daniel Seymour, it was an absolute honor to introduce the the new dad (father of one very special audience member, Emilia, experiencing her first concert outside of the womb), the one and only Luke Amelang!

Where Luke and the boys began the set with a song that was written by Luke as a message for himself and Nashville, his second song, I’ve Got It Made, is officially my new favorite jam and personal philosophy. You can hear the track below. Seriously, it is amazing and just what I needed to hear these days. But they didn’t stop there.

Luke and Daniel and Jeff, played songs about family farm dogs named Leroy, a beautiful and moving song written about Luke’s mother, God rest her soul, and then went into the less serious but just as poignant song about media not covering the sasquatches and aliens in his backyard (more stories to come from that in the future for sure). It was a set that was filled with love, family, dogs, the unnatural and unbelievable, and everything in between. And, not only did it sound like a mix between the best jazz you’ll hear in this city and the best old country music sounds that once put this city on the map but randomly finds its way on the country radio these days, it was perfect.

After the music ended, I was yet again granted the opportunity to gather the featured artists on stage together to have them share some fun stories of inspiration and connections. As always, there was another unexpected and serendipitous factor to the pairing. Luke had lived in Houston, Texas and Erica is moving there with her boyfriend in a week. So, on top of amazing stories and songs shared on one stage, they have that going for each other moving forward. But seriously, you’d be hard-pressed to find two artists so talented and yet so humbled about their craft and willing to share the love with their friends and creative counterparts. Do yourself a favor and listen to the recording of the show below and then click their official links to check out more of their art (as well as Carl’s too).

So, here it is. The edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 89. Tuesday, August 16, 2016, the night that Erica Wright and Luke Amelang and gang impressed us all, like we were children like Emilia taking in good art for the first time. Feel free to share and enjoy, over and over again.

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

You can read more of Erica’s writing here – ericawright.typepad.com

You can listen to more of Luke’s music here – www.lukeamelang.com

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



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

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show.

art print by Clay Brunton

art print by Clay Brunton

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 90

Tuesday, September 6th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Jennifer Justus

singing- American Watermelon

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 89 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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East Side Storytellin’ 79: the night when Luke and Zach, 2 fathers-to-be, dropped new life into The Post

March 20, 2016

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 79th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 78, I repeat … 78, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 69: When W.S. Lyon brought the Hurricane Party and Andrew Leahey blew our minds with heart and songs and Thirty Tigers by his side

October 25, 2015

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 69th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 68 previous shows East Side Story has put together, […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 68: Waking up God and Nashville and everything great with Christine Hall and Aaron Lee Tasjan

October 18, 2015

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to the recap 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 68th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 67 previous shows East Side Story has put together, […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 54: The night Ariel and Korby mixed history, fiction, emotion, and talent into one epic evening for all

February 7, 2015

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU and hello again! Welcome to another recap and recording of quite the monumental event at Riverwood Mansion that went down on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015. With Unbound Arts at the helm of another beautifully planned evening, let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly remind you that we celebrated […]

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East Side Storytelllin’ 49: When Alecia and Alissa met and set the night on Wildflower

November 24, 2014

Thank YOU, hello, and welcome to another fun East Side Storytellin’. If you’ve been living in a cave, good for you … you’ve probably missed the fact that we just rounded out 2 years and 48 other East Side Storytellin’ shows up to this point. Cave or not, welcome to the 49th episode. Like the […]

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