North Carolina

Phill Thompson, Rob Stewart, Emma Louise Berkey, Chuck Beard, Michael McRay, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 120th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 119, I repeat … 119, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is East Side Storytellin’ 120. Let us begin, again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit to Steve Simpson

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

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

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

You can listen to more of Emma’s music here –www.emmadilemmasongs.com

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

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

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 121
Tuesday, December 19th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- Joseph Ingle
singing- India Ramey

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 120 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there. I repeat. Please remember to be nice to one another.

Much love,
mE

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Tom Eizonas, Alicia Michilli, Jenna Dorian, 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 109th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 108, I repeat … 108, 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’ 109. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a powerhouse female artist who originally hails from the mountains of North Carolina where she was raised in an unstructured classroom from home by her mother, an author and nutritionist. Spending tons of time outdoors during her childhood, her early education and upbringing plays a heavy influence on her style and voice. She’s the featured author tonight because her first novella, You Holy Screaming Symphony, has been a treasure at East Side Story for some time now. She has also published works of short fiction and poetry in various magazines such as Perjus and others, and she is an active member of our friends at The Porch Writers’ Collective. Let me just say it. It was an honor to finally spotlight and introduce the very talented Jenna Dorian.

Jenna brought an unrelated trilogy of readings to the stage, and she was ready to roll as soon as I got out of the way. She appeared to be as equally honored to be involved with the show as I was to introduce her. She is an amazingly talented writer, with a work ethic like few around, and she’s just getting started. So, when she stared her set, she let the audience know pretty much everything she was thinking, about the moment and the material.

With a smile on her face and her heart on her sleeve, she went through the levels of her artist insecurities while revealing her true mission of discovering her comedic writing voice someday but settling knee deep into her sad characters and situations for the time being. After she read an excerpt from her novella, she addressed the crowd directly when she called out the comedic genius of Patrick Shaffner. She had recognized him from visiting the Third Coast Comedy Improv night (you should check them out as much as you can). They had some witty banter before Jenna jumped heart first into an original, sad tale about the first time a mother left her … a flash creative non-fiction piece (because that is a thing, as she recently discovered and relayed). Then, when she had the crowd right where she wanted them at full attention, she went into a slightly emotional, very deep story about the grieving of love and life loss between a marriage and the dream of a baby never to be. Like I told you, this girl is great. You can hear the stories in the recording below, but know that the way she casually and candidly throws her joy and secondary thoughts of an outside personal narrator in between the sad notes of her prose really makes for such a delightful and instant classic way to digest Jenna’s art in person. It kinda makes me want her to do an audio book version of her writing in the same style.

Our featured music of the night is someone I first saw sing alongside my wife a few years ago at The Fontanel. Let me clarify, she was not actually singing beside my wife. My wife was beside me in the crowd but equally blown away. This special lady was on stage singing alongside her long time hero, Keb’ Mo’ for his monthly Blues Jam at The Fontanel. It was also the night when we first were introduced to the musician like none other named Mike Hicks. You should check him out pronto. Anyways, back to the musician at hand. This young star on the rise moved to Music City from Motown. With Detroit roots, it may not surprise you to hear a beautiful blend of R&B and Soul from this lady once she gets going. She has a voice as powerful as Etta, Aretha, Ella, and Billie, to name a few of her singular named heroes. She released her first EP in 2015 and did a spell on the national television show America’s Got Talent too. I’m not sure if everyone in the house was as ready as I was for the second powerhouse female with the voice way beyond any of Wonder Woman’s skills, but there was no turning back after saying all of this good stuff and finally aligning up the stars to book this lady. I’m talking about the unforgettable soulstress, Alicia Michilli!

With the same natural nervousness and self-degrading personality as Jenna, Alicia approached the crowd with her guitar strapped over the shoulder and her heart on her sleeve as well. If you had never seen her perform, you might think she was a nervous, fresh out of college, intern at her first day on the job inside a cubicle who stepped out with the new team to do karaoke for the first time. And, as if it had been proclaimed and written in the good book, then Alicia started to sing. Everything changed after that first note.

Alicia mentioned before the show that she has the look of an angel but the mouth of a sailor. You may notice more than one edit in the dialogue of the recording. All that said, I’ll go ahead and say it that Alicia has the look of an angel but a voice of a soul goddess. It is not only a gift from the heavens that she trains and takes care of like a baby, it is a gift for anyone who gets a chance to hear her share it aloud. I could ramble and compliment this artist for a week straight, as you can tell from the first paragraph or two here, but I’ll let the angel do the singing in the recording below.


Like Jenna, Alicia is her toughest critic. I get it. We all need to be our own toughest critis, but in the end we know there are a ton of haters and critics out in the world. So for tonight, in this shared moment, there was nothing but love and appreciation for every personal note and lyric we witnessed. I can’t speak for everyone else in the room, but I know I was just as close to happy tears as Alicia said she was after she sang the song written for and about her recently passed grandfather. If you can’t relate with and instantly fall in love with that song and the way she sang it from the heart, I’d tell you that you need to make an appointment with the closest doctor to examine if you still have one beating. I’m serious. Take a listen to her final happy song and tell me that isn’t the most soulful and, pun intended, heartfelt heartbeat lyrics you’ve ever heard. I was humming it for hours after the show.

But as soon as Alicia was getting revved up and totally in her wheelhouse with the crowd, everyone in the palm of her hands really, she was finished and ready to talk alongside her new best friend in Jenna. Let me know after you listen to the show if you don’t think they are long lost sisters. Yet again, the non-formula of pairing artists has worked its magic and formally introduced two artists who were born to work together and appreciate the talents they both share. It was obvious to me, as the self-declared translator of their personal answers to my general questions, that these two will do something else going forward. They both had smiles and laughs for days, and they are both as ego-free, talented, humbled, and giving of their positivity as anyone I’ve met in quite some time. This evening, this combo, this event was something special to behold. I feel extremely blessed to have been a small part in this sweet picture.

So here it is, the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 109, featuring the Wonder Women dynamic duo of Jenna Dorian and Alicia Michilli at The Post East on June 20, 2017. It was a night to remember, one nobody will soon forget. Please share this link and enjoy it for yourself, 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 Jenna and Alicia for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more of Jenna’s writing here – jcdorian.com

You can listen to more of Alicia’s music here – aliciamichilli.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’ 110

WEDNESDAY, July 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Lance Umenhofer

singing- Dylan Lancaster

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 109 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, W.S. Lyon, Andrew Leahey, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, W.S. Lyon, Andrew Leahey, 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 69th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 68 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 of East Side Storytellin’ 69. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was (and still is) one of the coolest writers I’ve met while living in Nashville (and I say this without seeing him regularly in person or reading much of his work or hearing him read all of the time … point being, when I do see him or hear his words, his writing is always a breath of fresh air). The self-professed ambassador-at-large at Woodland Wine Merchant, this young man grew up along the North Carolina coast, and then later lived in New York where he worked in development on both documentary and narrative features which screened on PBS and Toronto and Sundance and other festivals around the world. In 2012 he founded a creative writing workshop on death row (which has no association whatsoever with Suge Knight) and he has uncovered and tapped into some of the deepest narratives I’ve ever read in the process. As the editor of the anthology from the death row writing called So I Can Live and with his own work recently appearing on the blog Philanthropic and busy as all get out currently pursuing his MFA in fiction at Vanderbilt University, it was an honor to final introduce the wonderful Mr. Scott (W.S.) Lyon!

Scott is a pure writer and an excellent reader and finds his comfort in front of a crowd by sticking to his words on paper and/or talking praise of other people. To kick off the show, he jumped head and heart first into the one piece he wanted to share for the evening. He prefaced the reading by saying that it would probably become the first story in the anthology that he is currently in the middle of making for his MFA thesis. Titled Hurricane Party, it was something to behold.

With his writing technique and mission for the thesis adjusted to a clearer focus by a recent enlightening discussion with award-winning author Charles Baxter (who shared his ideas and essays on fiction craft and how great books should ask a spiritual question in the beginning whether you find the answers by the end or not), Scott prepared a most excellent version of a story he’s created. Hurricane Party, to me, was an endearing and brilliant homecoming, a poignant tale between two brothers exchanging memories, emotions, conversation, family drama, and extracurricular illegal activities surrounded by the strong winds of a prevailing storm. It, like the original stories I’ve heard and read from Scott before, was so refreshing. The delivery and pauses and poetic license with which Scott relayed his words weaved in a beautiful sense of awe and order instantly placed the entire audience in just the right position to immerse themselves into the characters and settings in a way to perfectly experience everything he was dishing. He does that every time he reads his work and it is truly a gift.

I won’t share any more about Hurricane Party other than my short review of the reading above because I’d like for you to directly experience it firsthand for the first time when you purchase the final book as soon as Scott finishes the anthology. But know this, after the reading, the stage and the listening crowd was set and ready to take the night and art even further into the territory of something extraordinary.

The featured music of the night was a Nashville-based artist that has survived his own personal death sentence and has gone on to create some of the most impactful music of his career up to this point. A little over 2 years ago, this man completed what some would call a career in a single year – four national tours, a Daytrotter session, an appearance at the Americana Music Festival, and the release of a critically acclaimed EP, but that was also when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The doctors told him to have surgery and then take a break from his band and music for a bit. He did have surgery, but the break from his band didn’t last quite so long. Then, two years exactly to the date of this very show actually, there was a local benefit show at the Mercy Lounge featuring performances from his talented Nashville friends, including East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Jason Isbell, and he quickly wrote new songs that combined his recent brush with death into beautiful tunes stacked with vocal harmonies, dual guitar leads, B33 organ and super-sized hooks and created a full-length album with producer and former drummer of Wilco in Ken Coomer. Sporting a fresh Lockeland Springsteen baseball t-shirt with the huge news of recently signing with the incredible Thirty Tigers and releasing his newest album titled Skyline in Central Time early next year, a mutual friend of many of our East Side Storytellin’ family of artists (one of them being the fantastic Lauren Farrah who was in the crowd, fully present and making art to promote the show minutes before it started AND who connected me to this guest in the first place) and the namesake and leader behind Andrew Leahey & the Homestead, the entire crowd erupted in applause for the one and only Andrew Leahey!

Andrew, with a tall glass of cold water and a fresh set list by his side, walked up to the microphone casually and collectively picking the flow of the show right where Scott’s story ended and continued the same cool momentum through the finish line. He started with a brand new song, so new in fact that he had never shared it live before. Then he threw in what will become the first track from his new album, just like Scott had shared with the first story in his anthology. Not giving a play-by-play but sort of giving a play-by-play, Andrew jumped from the first two songs into telling the story behind his third about going to church in New York to try and woo a girl once that didn’t work out. The song, as all before and after, was great and worked out just fine for everyone. Above all else, Andrew noticed and mentioned that it was nice to play in front of a listening crowd (something that always comes up each and every East Side Storytellin’ show so far and counting) and to have the opportunity to share stories that he doesn’t normally have the chance to do during any other shows on tour.

In between talking about his life-changing and perspective-changing incident with his brain tumor in the past and telling more stories behind the music for the first time, Andrew played some of the most relaxing and insightful music I’ve heard in a minute. With storybook lyrics like John Cougar Mellancamp in the early 80’s, he brought an honest and openly emotional voice that, to me, resembled a young Willie Nelson but stronger and more confident in his purpose and direction beyond the songs. I heard this comparison more than most in the final track of the night.

After Andrew shared a few more songs to round out the set, I was fortunate to have him and Scott back up to the microphone for a candid talk about their creative journeys and personal gems they wanted to give to the supportive crowd. Two things that I distinctly thought were perfectly put were the following: Andrew spoke more about what the brain tumor experience did to him, both professionally with the story behind being accepted into the Thirty Tigers family and personally with how he never takes music and every moment with his family and friends for granted, and, secondly, with Scott talking about what the MFA experience has meant to his writing and how he sees it positively changing his creative mindset and individual approach to creating his work going forward into the future. Obviously I can’t say it better or clearer than they did in the recording that you can totally check out below, but all I want to say to end this recap is that I was once again blown away by the talent of the guests, their stories and art, their humility and appreciation for being included in this special idea and program in front of a caring audience, and that these two guys made my world in East Nashville even better than it was before I witnessed them do their thing for the show at hand. For all of this and more, I say many many thanks to Scott (W.S.) Lyon and Andrew Leahey.

So, without getting too sappy here, I want to give you the link of the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 69 that featured W.S. Lyon and Andrew Leahey at The Post on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015. It was another for the ages and books and all that jazz. Please listen and share the following link with everyone you know and maybe a few strangers too. It is that good. These guys are that good. And we thank them and you for being a part of this Nashville trip. Enjoy!

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for W.S. Lyon and Andrew Leahey for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about W.S. Lyon’s writing here- www.akashicbooks.com/william-scott-lyon-a-pathos-in-prison/

You can listen to more of Andrew Leahey’s music here- www.andrewleaheymusic.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 by Clay Brunton

art by Clay Brunton

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

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be our very special 3rd anniversary show …

East Side Storytellin’ 70

Tuesday, November 3rd

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Rita Bullwinkel (www.ritabullwinkel.com)

singing- a VERY special guest who needs no introduction and has promised to make it the performance of a lifetime.

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 69 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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Jewly Hight, Angaleena Presley, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas.

Jewly Hight, Angaleena Presley, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas.

Thank YOU for visiting this page, hello, and welcome to another fun edition of East Side Storytellin’. You have found yourself smack dab in a reflection of a big celebration for quite the milestone. This is our 50th show. I repeat. This is our 50th show! Just 50 more until 100 and possible syndication, and 49 more than our first show, if my math is right, right? Either way you look at it, welcome to the 50th episode. Like the 49 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’ve all arrived at this spot, here and now, to get y’all 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, this is the recap and recording for East Side Storytellin’ 50. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of this evening was someone who has written about popular music for more than a dozen outlets- including American Songwriter, Relix, Nashville Public Radio, the Nashville Scene, Paste, No Depression, and more than six others. In a town flooded by talented songwriters, this lady is someone that bridges the stories of the singers and the people they are when not performing behind the microphone to the fans and everyone listening to appreciate the entire picture surrounding the music industry and why it is still so special for this town and in general. Born in North Carolina and raised in Florida, she earned a master’s degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. So, basically, you would be correct in thinking that this lady puts a lot of soul and southern goodness into all of her prose when she’s writing about music, the meaning of things, and pretty much anything she sets her heart on penning. Author of her debut book, “Right by Her Roots: Americana Women and Their Songs” (of which you can purchase over at East Side Story whenever you fancy) I was thrilled to finally get this writer on the show and to introduce the always awesome Miss Jewly Hight.

50 reading far

Jewly took to the stage in some killer pink boots and a copy of her book and other writings. She thanked the crowd and dove right into reading from the ending of her first book. She read from a portion that wonderfully explained the core of the stories hat made up the “Roots” project. The next excerpt, with her book aside, came from a story that Jewly wrote and was featured in an issue of Oxford American last year. Oddly enough, and coincidentally without probably know about the events at Mad Donna’s after the conclusion of our show, it was about Drag Queens and music and parties. I know that Tom and I weren’t the only ones in the crowd who took delight in the theme amidst our surroundings. Needless to say, it was perfect and fitting beyond words.

Jewly finished her reading by sharing bits and pieces from an interview that she did with the featured musician of the night in a prior gig. It was a perfect introduction to the musical portion of the show and surreal, at the same time, for me knowing that we would have an interview sandwich of sorts for the evening for a fun change to the usual format. Either way, Jewly was as thoughtful and insightful delivering her exquisite prose as her writing itself. I’m a big fan of her writing and you should too. Come to the store and buy her book, for starters … like NOW!

Now, back to the show, the featured music of the night kept the blue streak alive. The second featured artist in a row who was born in my own bluegrass state of Kentucky, this girl made her grand debut in a place called Beauty, Kentucky (I had to look it up on a map too). She’d like for you to know that she is a direct descendent of the original feuding McCoys, a graduate of both the school of hard knocks and college, a former cashier at both Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie, and is also known from time to time as a member of the Platinum-selling group Pistol Annies (alongside Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe). Hot off her recent release of her much-anticipated debut album, called “American Middle Class,” everyone erupted in applause for the one, the only, Angaleena Presley.

Angaleena jumped right into the role she says is what she was born to do, singer-songwriter extraordinaire. She also went on to say that she feels she was born to write songs and perform them because she isn’t good at anything else, but nobody believed her on that note. That said, it was quite refreshing for everyone to here Angaleena go into great introspective depth for each song and really share the details, the personal backstory details at that, for every song she sang.

When she talked about her lovely hometown of Beauty, not to be confused with the lovely town of Lovely, KY, I was totally blown away with the description details and wordsmithing she angled for some of the unique lyrics of “Dry County Blues.”  It was the first time in my life that I had ever heard the term “pillbilly,” but I understood exactly what she was relaying. That’s one of the best things, one best thing of many, about Angaleena and how she performed (as she always does, how Jewly later told me too). She paints a perfect picture of where she came from and how she grew up (not only detailing the location, setting, and specific characters, but also how she perceived everything as it happened), but the way she sings from her heart with immense skill and heart is easily felt by anyone listening with a heartbeat (even the drunk sailor in the background, aka Captain Morgan, of whom you can hear in the recording a time or two showing his love and Angaleena giving some right back).  I’m telling you, it was an all-around, storytelling’ session like few others. My words can’t fully justify what everyone there witnessed. It was that special.

After Angaleena sang her fair share of songs, including one from the days of the Pistol Annies, I was fortunate yet again to have the featured guests join me on stage for a quick Q & A. As you can listen below in the link of the show, it turned into quite the contest to see who could answer each question with the most entertainment value and honesty (or two shades of to the left of honesty in some cases to make the story just that much better of an answer in an attempt to win that round). Basically, Mark Twain would have been proud and thoroughly enjoyed the charisma and character and content that both of our featured guests of East Side Storytellin’ 50 provided to everyone for a very special night.

Angaleena must have won this round with an answer that made me laugh out loud and rolled Jewly to her side #winning

With all of these words above us, I’d now like to present to you the golden opportunity to listen to the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 50. You can listen to it countless times by just re-clicking it, over and over, and you can share it with as many people on and off-line as humanly possible. In fact, why don’t you share it with as many people as you can and let me know how many humanly possible is. There might be a prize for the winner. Either way, enjoy this prized link right here and now:

art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging

art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging

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

You can read more from Jewly Hight here – www.twitter.com/rightbyherroots

You can listen to more from Angaleena Presley here – http://www.angaleenapresley.com

 

I’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork for the prints made by Kevin Anthuis at 5 Points Digital Imaging (http://5pdi.com) to celebrate tonight’s show.

 

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, Otis James for my wicked cool hat, 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.

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/

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But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

EAST SIDE STORYTELLIN’ 51

TUESDAY, December 16th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

Need information or details about Mad Donna’s, call  615-226-1617. Otherwise, it is first come, first available seats.

Who will be featured- poet Tiana Clark (www.tianaclark.com) and music by Deli (www.facebook.com/delicolortempo)

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That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 50 show. I repeat. That’s it for East Side Storytellin’ 50! Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word. Remember to be nice to one another out there. Thanks and good day your way.

Much love,

mE

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