Susannah Felts

Tom Eizonas, Nick Rossi, Zach Ryan, 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 111th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 110, I repeat … 110, 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’ 111. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is not just an amazing writer and human being, he is also a publisher of beautiful weirdos. It’s true, this guy, alongside Eric Benick, started the oober-awesome Ursus Americanus Press. With several hit projects in the bag and more on the horizon, this guy barely has time to do anything else … but alas, he persisted. When this guy isn’t eating too much sugar, spending too much time on his phone, or staying up too late for no reason, he endlessly churns out original stories on the page, over the interwebs, on countless white t-shirts, and more. His diligent work ethic is only matched by his positive attitude and energy for everyone around him. To say that he has a lot of friends and literary peers would be the understatement of the year. He has a busy year ahead with a move and work appearing in MESMER, Souvenir Lit, MAYDAY magazine, Chicago Literati, Vanilla Sex Magazine, and a few bathrooms around Nashville. He also writes and plays in a band called Choovanski. Point being, this guy rocks. It was truly an honor to introduce the man, the legend, Nick Rossi!

Nick took to the microphone like a caged animal who had been drinking caffeine all day while trying to decide if he needed to make brand new prose and poetry ready for a reading or if he should just rely on his old and trusted friends. I believe he ended up drinking a few pony high life’s and doing a little bit of both. All in all, Nick was in his zone. He apologized for his Chicago voice, gave a multitude of personal shout outs throughout the reading and night, and set the mood of the event perfectly with his tales of life on the road and not so light material that felt right at home for this day and age.

photo by Chance Chambers

I though Nick did a beautiful job of tying together the three stages of his Nashville experience. He shared a poem that explained why he decided to first come to Nashville (he apologized for the lack of edits for parts he claimed that sucked but everyone else in the room agreed that his words and reading did everything but suck). He spoke about the places he had come from and where he is going soon. Somewhere in the middle, he shed light and a deep perspective of privilege that he and so many of us other white males live with on the daily in this country, all the while sharing vivid examples and imagery of references with the abuse towards African Americans in this world. Like Nick’s shirts, his words and thoughts are extremely powerful. The sooner you get in the groove of how to digest the manner in which he races through his words, thoughts, and pages, the better you are to understand the pure heart and passion for literature and life and connecting with other people that Nick exudes on the daily. It’s all right there in his work. You can hear it as plain as day right there in the recording below.

Our featured music of the night is someone who has been playing music regularly since the age of 11. He’s chased his dream under a multitude of names and across several genres, but he’s still truckin’ and searching for his truth. After spending years doing the solo artist thing, his current project is The Wanderers (not to be confused the That Thing You Do’s The Oneders). Drawing inspiration from sounds and folks like Tom Waits, David Lynch, Chet Baker, and Dick Dale, The Wanderers just finished a record due to be released in late September. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait until September to here this guy play his great music. Via a wonderful connection and introduction with our mutual friend Shane Tutmarc, I was thrilled to finally be able to shed a spotlight on the one and only Zach Ryan!

I recently watched a segment of CBS Sunday Morning that featured John Mellencamp. They were talking about how Mellencamp had originally moved to New York City on a visual art scholarship but then got a record deal as soon as he got there. When he first played an original song for the suits at the label, he didn’t believe they heard any of his words and could just tell from the first five seconds of his playing that he had that special something. Mellencamp later mentioned in the interview that he really believes you can tell when a person has that special something of talent in any creative medium in the first few moments. Fast forward to hearing and seeing Zach Ryan play the guitar at The Post and I was not alone to be completely blown away by his virtuoso skill and sounds and musicianship that struck us all like lightning in the first few chords he played and sang. Again, you can hear what I’m talking about it the recording below.

Zach’s music is guitar driven and guitar led, and surrounded with the air of cinema. Some of the people in the crowd mentioned that he looked like the great actor Robert Mitchum, and I said I’d love to hear Zach play his melodies to old Robert Mitchum movies that are filmed out West and have the uncertainty of death and dark subject matter … almost like a not-so-funny but still as brilliant version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’m sure there are a million great references that came out of this specific show from the music and story themes, but nobody could deny that Zach was on the top of his game, even without the extra players in his band. Zach, like Nick, came correct to the show with some stories and melodies that took our breath away and blew our minds at the same time.

During the conversation portion of the show, we learned that both Nick and Zach had roommates by the name of Carl (with a C, not a K, because that’s much cooler) … shout out to Carl Carbonell. What was not planned before the show and with the pairing but was acknowledged by Zach very early into his set was that the darker subject matter shared by each unprompted or pre-curated artist reflected like a perfectly symmetric swampy sunset that made you appreciate the glow of the sun descending but at the same time scared you to death about what was hiding in the dark to come. Not to make you jittery while reading this, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. There was plenty to smile about, during the talking and the reading and singing. In fact, one of Zach’s happy songs was about a man finding joy in moving away and getting away with murder. You really need to take a listen to it below to get where I’m coming from about loving these guys so much.

photo by Chance Chambers

It was my pleasure and an honor to share the stage and shed the spotlight on this unique pair of troubadours. I do want to add a little note here for the sake of big transitions and moves for Nick Rossi. He told me when I booked him for the show that this would be fitting  for him since East Side Storytellin’ was one of the first literary events he attended when he moved to town and it would be one of his final public readings (outside of a fun Life is Boring reading event the Friday before he moved later that week). In between those two shows, Nick has become a beacon for the literary community at large and we were lucky enough to promote and share his books and journals while we ran the retail portion of the first chapter of East Side Story. We are gonna miss him, but we are thankful he will continue being awesome in Chicago and connecting our Nashville family with people and ideas beyond the city limits for years to come. Plus he is going to come back and visit often. Plus plus he is going to hire me when he gets his white t-shirt company off the ground and going. This will happen.

That said, before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Nick and Zach for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us. These are two of the good ones doing great things and both are just getting started. The best is yet to come.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 111, a show when we were lucky to feature the likes of Nick Rossi and Zach Ryan at The Post on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Feel free to listen to this one and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’ll thank me afterwards.

You can read more of Nick’s writing here – www.ursusamericanuslit.com

You can listen to more of Zack’s music here – zachryansongs.bandcamp.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’ 112

Tuesday, August 1st

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Eric Benick

singing- Kira Hooks

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 111 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

{ 0 comments }

Tom Eizonas, Jon Latham, Joshua Moore, and Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Jon Latham, Joshua Moore, 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 85th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 84, I repeat … 84, 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’ 85. Let us begin, again.

You may not know this but our first featured artist of this show is Black Batman. I’m not kidding, but let’s keep that secret … or not. He is also a 2014 graduate of Eureka College where he studied creative writing and biology pre-med. Recipient of the Ronald W. Reagan Fellowship, he had a brief stint as an oncological researcher at the legendary Tuskegee University, but decided to put his med school goals on hold in order to follow his heart … and his passion for creative writing and poetry specifically. He is not only a member at the Porch Writers’ Collective, he’s also the head facilitator of their Poetry Book Club. He typically spends most days working, writing, reading, and prepping his grad-school applications and his post grad self. A world traveling poet and professional, we are honored and ecstatic to finally introduce this man to the East Side Storytellin’ family. Please give your attention and a big round of applause for the likes of Joshua Moore.

photo credit by Chance Chambers

photo credit by Chance Chambers

Joshua took to the mic without any pages to read from. He wore his original words on his heart and his heart on the sleeves of his traditional attire. His clothes, his words, his tone, and his stories were all beautiful. It’s not every day when Tom Eizonas is sitting next to me and mentions that this writer really has a wonderful speaking talent, but it happened on this night. It’s true. You’ll hear Joshua’s voice and smooth delivery in the recording below, but it had me thinking of how to describe his reading experience while I was listening in the front row. The best way I could come up to describe it was that he had a voice of a dream. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not speaking in cliches and saying Joshua’s voice is dreamy and leaving it at that. What I am saying is that the smooth delivery and depth of emotion and personal stories involved within the layers of Joshua’s poems are like what I imagine traveling through dreams would be like. I may be rambling, but take a listen below and let me know how you would describe the reading.

Joshua prefaced each of his five poems with detailed accounts of where they came from and what he believed inspired him to write them. The first couple were about family, history, and society. None of them were happy or cheery, but all were very insightful into how this artist views and connects the world.

Before leaving the stage, Joshua talked a little bit about his work with The Porch and also about his fun with poetry on demand. Again, I’ll let him explain himself in the recording, but I thought everything he shared, inside and out of his creative writing, was simply amazing. They way he presented his material and the material itself, is something quite extraordinary to experience and behold. I suggest you read more of his stuff and make it a point to hear it read live as frequently as possible.

Our featured musician, like everyone we’ve had on this show before, is a very talented singer/songwriter. Unlike everyone else who has been on the show before him, he was born in Greenwood, South Carolina and raised in Marietta, Georgia. He believes that a song is more important than the singer and the audience is the judge, jury, and executioner who decide a song’s fate. Let’s pardon this guy and give his music a real chance to be fully appreciated and loved, shall we? I was tremendously honored and humbled to introduce the one and only Jon Latham.

photo credit by Chance Chambers

photo credit by Chance Chambers

Jon jumped right into his ballad about a classmate in 5th grade named Katie Rutledge. What sounded like a short story of an introduction turned into a killer tune that reflected just how cool the combination of love and love loss and rock ‘n roll can be. But that kind of embodies what Jon Latham is about. He mentioned at one point that his songs resemble books by Nicholas Sparks – meaning every Nicholas Sparks book is a Nicholas Sparks book. But, although Jon is a fan of Mr. Sparks’ work, I don’t think I’m alone in being a huge fan of Jon and thinking he is much better than the former mentioned. I know, at the very least, that Darrin Bradbury would think so because he has been parading around town for quite some time declaring Jon Latham the greatest songwriter in Nashville today. I wouldn’t object.

Jon’s stories before and during the songs perfectly matched the tone of Joshua’s poetry, in my mind. Jon made cultural references to other song titles and performances he has been lucky to experience and transformed them into something new and fresh and songs that felt like they were instant hits and yet old classics at the same time. My personal favorites were when he made the comment about “that was audience participation” and also the Billy Ocean reference. There is not enough references for Billy Ocean these days.

But seriously, Jon eventually did get the audience to participate with his final song, singing together and chanting in rhythm as if we were in the middle of Ascend Amphitheater singing along with The Lumineers. Beyond Jon talking about his experiences of trials and tribulations with his past in love in regards to bad dating and bad health, the golden ticket with Jon is the bright light of humanity that shines through from his endurance, honesty, and ability to transform any shitty experience (i.e.- cheating death in the hospital and dreaming of an ex-girlfriend singing Bob Dylan that turns out to be his dad playing Bob Dylan tunes beside his bed when he finally wakes up) into brilliant music and stories we can all relate to and deeply appreciate. Point being, he walks the walk, talks the talk, and sings the truth like few I’ve encountered.

Before I let these two great artists leave the stage, I had them articulate a little more about what makes them tick with their creativity and their creative journeys and friends and family within Nashville. I particularly loved Jon’s quote about how now he feels more like Nashville has become his home when he’s away even more than his original hometown. Again, I can’t object to that because it is the same for me in a lot of ways and I have many people like Joshua and Jon to thank for said feeling. Both of these guys will continue to make an indelible mark on Nashville’s creative scene for many years to come, but I am beyond thankful I had the chance to see them do their thing at the same bat time and the same bat channel. Take a listen below and check it out for yourself.

So here it is, the edited version of East Side Storytellin’ 85, featuring the poems of Joshua Moore and the songs of Jon Latham at The Post on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016. Prepare to have your mind, body, and soul blown away and put back together again better than ever. Trust me. You’re welcome. Enjoy the ride:

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

You can listen to more of Jon’s music here – www.reverbnation.com/jonlatham

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’ 86

Tuesday, July 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay (www.facebook.com/lagnajitam)

singing- Matt Walberg (thelivingsituation.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 85 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

mE

one more of Jon shining bright for the road

one more of Jon shining bright for the road

{ 0 comments }

Chuck Beard, Kate Parrish, Sarah Carter, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Kate Parrish, Sarah Carter, 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 76th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 75, I repeat … 75, 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’ 76. Let us begin, again.

Welcome to the 2nd ever, not so annual, Down from the Mountain show involving personal ties to Sewanee, the University of the South. People who attended the 1st in February of 2013 may remember us sharing a lovely night of literature by Kevin Wilson and music by the talented Amanda Shires (sharing the stage with then fiancé Jason Isbell. You can check out that show recap and recording to refresh your memory right here – http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-8-when-sewanee-left-the-mountain-for-the-city/). Coming back to February 2016, we’ve decided to celebrate the Sewanee School of Letters in a most appropriate blue valentine inspired show with current students, and the talent and heart of the show was just as inspiring. The pending tornado warning and constant rain outside of the show set the mood of the show just as much as the packed crowd filling every seat in the house.

The first featured guest of the night is a dear friend and MFA candidate at the Sewanee School of Letters. This scribe is specializing in nonfiction while also keeping herself busy as a freelancer for publications such as Teen Vogue and Nashville Lifestyles, to name a few. As if that wasn’t enough, she blogs at the very inspiring www.aimingforokay.com. A native Nashvillian, born and raised, you will see her promoting writing and local authors as much as anyone I know. She is a regular at The Porch Writers’ Collective and also helps right the ship that is the Rivendell Writers’ Colony as well. It was an honor to introduce the person was first thought of this special blue valentine idea, the wonderful Miss Kate Parrish.

photo credit - Katie McDougall

photo credit – Katie McDougall

Kate grabbed the microphone and the attention of the crowd by thanking all who braved the storms to attend the show. She thanked everyone from Sewanee and The Porch. Then she thanked all of her ex-boyfriends who have continued to give her material and fuel her fire to write nonfiction stories that help her creativity and story grow. When she started in on her first story, I immediately crowned her the Taylor Swift of creative memoirs.

Kate had a command of the language and a delightful poetic way of twisting memories and moments into relatable and yet transcendent scenes for any who has ever experienced love and heartache to relate with. Her first story, Lean Cuisine, was set in the middle of sad times for all involved amidst the backdrop of a grocery store check-out line. As the reading progressed, I could feel the deteriorating light above the cashier dim and flicker with the solid line and fact that in the end we eat our meals alone.

In her second essay, Gone Like That, she had me at the first line of Do you know how to a kill a man with your bare hands? She captivated a room full of people with talk about baby birds, canoes, combat training, and deaths that are slow and quick. You know, just like any relationship you’ve had in the past but written and read in a way you’ve never heard before. Kate has a gift for taking her experiences and relaying them to people in a way that they feel déjà vu at the same time they are learning something new about themselves and those around them. I was not the only one moved by her performance.

The featured musician of the night is someone who is a very close friend of our featured author and is also fellow student at the prestigious Sewanee School of Letters program striving for an MFA degree, specializing in non-fiction. Keeping it real here, this lady is a high school English teacher who currently lives in Lebanon, TN. She is an autoharpist and aspiring folklorist. A self-described audiophile and lover of Appalachian ballads, she applies her Virginia roots to her performances of tradition song and her creative writing. She spends most of her free time writing inspirational phrases for found hair on her Instagram project called @braidisms of which we discussed during the interview portion of the show, but, again, it was an absolute privilege for me to welcome another SOL’er into the East Side Storytellin’ fold with the lovely Sarah Carter.

photo credit to Bonnie Bishop

photo credit – Bonnie Bishop

Sarah, if you’ve never met her before, is no stranger to anyone. She has the ability to break the ice and make you feel like you’ve been close friends with her since grade school. She has an immense love for research and everything Appalachian and the prepared set list she unraveled to the attentive crowd was one for the ages. Not only did she explain the stories and names and people behind every single track, but this was honestly the first time anyone had ever played traditional songs and mentioned what modern hip hop song that each track resembled. Like I said, Sarah broke the ice and made everyone feel right at home for the night.

There were tracks where she strummed her harp and others where she went full acapella on us, original Opry style. Both deliveries were breathtaking and took me beyond The Post and threw me in some sort of Appalachian back porch setting surrounded by family and friends on a sunny summer day, which was very fitting since I was spending the evening around dearly beloved summertime friends from Sewanee (not that we aren’t friends all the year round, but we have spent summers in classrooms together getting all educated and what not).

Now, before I forget, I must remind everyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to attend this event in person that all of these songs (save one where she admitted beforehand with a smile that nobody died in that one) Sarah performed were classics and absolute heartbreakers. She probably could have gotten a pretty good sponsorship from Kleenex if she wanted to try before hand. The songs were sad, but the singing and performing was anything but. Sarah, like Kate, has a real gift for conveying meanings behind stories, whether they are hers or her translation.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have the feature guests back on stage to share more stories behind their art and their creativity. Both Kate and Sarah were such a delight. I thought it was appropriate to throw some curveballs their way in terms of asking personal preferences and insights into their passion for hip hop artistry and how that matched with their dreams and craft. They aced with flying colors and if one person smiled and laughed and enjoyed themselves while listening to Kate and Sarah then over a 100 did as well.

Oh, and one more thing, Sarah surprised us all with an extra track at the end of the show that was totally all her, an original like few I’ve ever heard while combining the style of her favorites and then childhood terms like punk and Zelda and other things. It is called Bravery and it is, like Sarah, AWEsome! You can hear it in the link below.

Again, as always, I’m just going to let the recording of the show speak for itself because I tend to ramble and gush over these wonderful human beings once I get going on here.  Don’t be a judge. Just listen and enjoy.

So here is the edited recording of East Side Stoytellin’ 76 that featured the words of Kate Parrish and the music from Sarah Carter and the wit and humor and heart of both at The Post on Tuesday, February 2nd in the middle of a tornado watch while celebrating a Sewanee reunion and a blue Valentine all in one. Now if this doesn’t get your heart beating than I don’t know what will. Enjoy and feel free to like and share and listen over and over again!

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

You can read more about Kate’s writing here- aimingforokay.com

You can listen to more of Sarah’s musings here – www.instagram.com/braidisms

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

One addition on the fly, I’d love to give a very special shout out to all of the Sewanee family mates who came out to the show to support our fellow Tigers, and also Carmen and Michael Thompson at the Rivendell Writers Colony, AND April Alvarez and John Grammer for accepting all of us and helping make us better writers and people in general.

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 round of East Side Storytellin’ will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 77 

Tuesday, February 16th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading-  Bill Brown (www.stilljournal.net/bill-brown-poetry.php)

singing- Darrin Bradbury (www.darrinbradbury.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 76 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

A great shot by Jessica Bates

A great shot by Jessica Bates

{ 0 comments }

Eric Reed, Ariel Lawhon, Shannon Marie Smith, Lucas Leigh, Korby Lenker, Jennifer Anderson, Tom Eizonas, and Chuck Beard

Eric Reed, Ariel Lawhon, Shannon Marie Smith, Lucas Leigh, Korby Lenker, Jennifer Anderson, Tom Eizonas, and Chuck Beard

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 the 54th spectacular edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 53 previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all arrived at Riverwood Mansion 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 East Side Storytellin’ 54. Let us begin, again.

Wait, before I talk about how the event started, I should remind you that the guests knew what their pre-ordered tickets got them on top of another killer East Side Storytellin’ show. Everyone arrived with smiles beaming and knowing they had the chance to meander around the mansion and experience a wonderful, historical trip through a house like few others near or far. Riverwood Mansion, if you haven’t seen it in person, is a treat to enjoy.

And speaking of treats, one of the coolest things we did for this epic series of events on Welcome Lane (so appropriately titled) was to involve a Riverwood Mansion chef, Eric Reed, to create something very special for the night. He had contacted the featured guests before the show and planned a 4-course meal to add to the mix. Eric greeted the packed and seated crowd with pleasantries. Then, without skipping a beat, he described the food and its inspiration in the order that it would be served.

1.
Andouille
Crustini
Creole Aioli
Carter Creek Greens Micro Carrot
2.
Field Greens
Cuban Bean Purée
Sugar Cane Vinaigrette
3.
Smoked Pork Loin
Pommes Pavé
Caramelized Red Onion
Avocado Crema
4.
Profiterole
Chocolate Ganache

(You’re mouth may be watering as you read right now. If not, listen to it from the chef’s mouth again here- https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/east-side-storytellin-54-7)

Our photographer, who usually takes a picture of all of the courses, ate the rest before taking said picture this time. It was THAT good!

Our photographer, who usually takes a picture of all of the courses, ate the rest before taking said picture this time. It was THAT good!

When the plates hit the table, East Side Storytellin’ 54 began. Here it is, for you to remember and plan ahead for the next.

The first featured guest of the evening was a woman who lives and breathes stories every day of her life. She is the co-founder of the wildly popular online book club called She Reads (http://www.shereads.org). She is a successful novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside of Nashville with her loving husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her debut novel was published by Doubleday and is called The Wife The Maid And The Mistress. She believes that a good story is the shortest distance to the human heart. The excited crowd gave this featured artist a huge heartfelt and much deserved round of applause. Her name? Well, since I was honored to introduce her for this event, I’ll do it again … it is the one and only Ariel Lawhon!

Ariel took to the stage with book and water in tow (actually, I served up the water while pulling off more than the average host, gladly) and she was right at home in the lovely mansion with attentive and gracious people looking back at her. Before she jumped into a quality excerpt of her book, she first wowed the audience with the backstory of how the book came to be. It was the crossroads of yet another story where fact met fiction and a talented writer heard a story worth working on in her own head and creating for other interested parties to imagine what happened in a true-life mystery for the ages. As always, I’ll let the recording below with the reading and talks serve its purpose and clear the air of any further mystery I would inevitably dilute Ariel’s masterpiece with, but she built up the origin of her book and the mystery behind the original story and how it all unfolded off the page in a way that would make every crime show writer on television be a wee bit jealous. I should know. My wife watches a ton of those shows.

That said, Ariel finished off her talks with a reading of the beginning of her book. It was a perfect teaser for everyone in attendance to get excited about purchasing the book at East Side Story after the fact. Ariel was a tremendous reader, and her passion for stories in general was glowing from the stage through her words and delivery. It was quite the start of the show.

And, before you knew what hit you, it was time for the musical portion of the show. The featured musician of the night was also a talented author, but this night we were all about his musical talents. He has opened for the likes of Willie Nelson, Nickel Creek, Keith Urban, and Tristan Prettyman to name a few. He is a past winner of the Merlefest folk songwriting contest as well as the Kerrville Folk Festival’s elite New Folk songwriting competition. Lucky for anyone wanting to contest him this particular evening, I was happy to say that he had no competition in sight. Author of the book titled Medium Hero And Other Stories (which you can purchase at East Side Story as well), joined by his amazingly talented and dear friend Lucas Leigh, the festive crowd gave a big round of applause and appropriate Nashville homecoming fresh off of Korby Lenker’s Winter 2015 Pacific Northwest Mostly Tour for the man himself, Sir Korby Lenker.

Korby and Lucas were like peanut butter and jelly. Seriously, they combined melodies into a funk, folk, history meets the future of stories and sounds while everyone in the room was completely present. I couldn’t hear a fork or knife drop one. From the get-go, with the Ah-Oh song, to the deep and breezy April May tune a few songs later, it was as mesmerizing as the mansion itself. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, Korby told a story about one of the books that really rocked his world about Sitting Bull and followed that up with not only a history lesson worthy of a cool college professor but also with a song that cut to the core of the meaning of our society and life in general for every being in the house and beyond. Saying it was amazing does it no justice, but it was amazing!

After the music was finished, finishing with a happy song of sorts, I was able to get Ariel and Korby on stage alone to share some further thoughts and ideas about their creative paths and why they do what they love to do. You can catch that lovely moment, including the serendipitous non-Nashville moment of when Korby first met Lucas and more about how Ariel grew up inside and left a real-life hippie commune, on the recording as well. Anyways, I’ll let the recording speak for itself to give these great artists the credit they deserve. It was so pleasant and priceless.

So, as promised, here is the edited version of Unbound Arts presents: East Side Storytellin’ 54 with Ariel Lawhon and Korby Lenker (featuring Lucas Leigh). Enjoy it over and over and share it with a friend or two:

  • Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Ariel Lawhon and Korby Lenker (and Lucas Leigh) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Ariel Lawhon- http://www.ariellawhon.com

You can listen to more from Korby Lenkerhttp://www.korbylenker.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’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 the show.

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

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 the crew at Riverwood Mansion: the special event’s chef- Eric Reed, also Shannon Marie Smith and Jennifer Anderson, for allowing us to celebrate East Side Storytellin’ in such a fun place and way.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event presented by Unbound Arts will be …

Tuesday, February 17th

East Side Storytellin’ 55

Riverwood Mansion (1833 Welcome Lane)

7pm

reading- Matthew Leavitt Brown (www.riversonnet.org

singing- Lilly Hiatt (www.lillyhiatt.com)

For more information: Email chuck@eastsidestorytn.com or unboundartsnashville@gmail.com to see about purchasing tickets.

OR

Purchase your tickets and share with friends here (you can note that the next shows at Riverwood Mansion will be 2-tiered and lower prices for even more people to join the fun-

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/unbound-arts-presents-east-side-storytellin-tickets-15643772946?aff=erellivorg

Read more information about the location and all involved in this limited run of shows here-

www.eastsidestorytn.com

www.facebook.com/unboundarts

www.riverwoodmansion.com

That’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 54 and another fabulous event here at Riverwood Mansion with Unbound Arts. 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. Thanks and good day your way.

Much love,

mE

{ 0 comments }

Michael Kelsh, Lauren Hagan, Katie McDougall, Chuck Beard, Mark Winchester, Tom Eizonas

Michael Kelsh, Lauren Hagan, Katie McDougall, Chuck Beard, Mark Winchester, Tom Eizonas

Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’.  Wait, before I get started here, recognize and reflect that we have done 40 (I repeat, FORTY) East Side Storytellin’ shows NOW!  Crazy stuff, and it keeps on getting better and better for everyone involved.

I mean … 40 shows, y’all!!!!!!!

Similar to the 39 previous shows we’ve put together from East Side Story, we’ve come together here to get you cultured up just right in the form of a local 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.  This is East Side Storytellin’ 40.  Let us begin.

The first featured guest of this momentous show was another native Nashvillian author that has been writing stories, crafting novels, scribbling in journals, and teaching, reading, selling, and breathing literature for over 20 years (very cool since she is only 22 years old).  Recently, as we’ll discuss more later in the recorded link below, she has teamed up with fellow fiction writer and East Side Storyteliln’ alum Susannah Felts in co-founding The Porch Writers’ Collective.  She has an MFA in fiction writing from Colorado State University and her short stokes have appeared in BarcelonaReview.com and Storyglossia.com.  An award winning writer and author of the novel “The Color Wheel”- available for you at East Side Story, I was very excited, alongside a packed room of other people at Mad Donna’s, to welcome Katie McDougall to the stage.

Katie commanded the crowds attention with her smile, confidence, and prose.  She quickly dove into four sections of her latest release, breaking down each excerpt with precision and explanation before reading through the pages like wildfire.  It was eloquent, exciting, and a page-turner to say the least.  She executed the reading like a pro, and I think she was even more excited to get off the stage to give the spotlight to her good friend and her music.

The second featured guest of the show was also a native Nashvillian.  A graduate of Sewanee, THE University of the South, she lives quite the healthy double life.  By day she is helping bring hope to our future in the minds of kids as an elementary school teacher (having done so for 16 years, again … fascinating because she is only 22 years young), but by night she is a talented musician (taking the plunge for her true passions of singing, playing guitar, writing songs, and performing around 2001).  This spring she took another creative plunge, with the help of some musical friends, and released her first album of original songs titled “Pine.”  The crowd couldn’t contain themselves, especially the mother of the musician (which I met before the show and instantly loved), when asked to give a round of applause for LULU, aka Lauren Hagen!

Lauren took to the stage with two of her talented musical friends that helped her record her latest album.  Michael Kelsh grabbed his numerous electric guitars and banjo while Mark Winchester leaned on his gi-normous stand-up base guitar, and they went to town with Laurens sweet pickin’ and words.  It felt like I was back in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, listening to Johnny Cash’s back-up band playing live music in Nashville for June Carter.  It was quite refreshing to say the least.  The words, the humility, the honesty, and the pure joy of playing personal music that told stories and conveyed authentic musical storytelling was pretty amazing.  I could have sat there in the crowd and listened to Lauren and the gang all night long.  But, as always, everything changes … the music had to end.

I managed to get the girls back on stage for a little bit of Q & A.  You can listen to the entire show and the interview below, but I just have to say that these guests were as sweet as apple pie on the 4th of July (not the sad 4th that Lauren sang about though).  I believe everyone had a wonderful time, and it might have been the first 40th birthday party I’ve been to where ladies didn’t cry.  I’d call that a huge success, if I say so myself.

That said, here is the recording for the 40th East Side Storytellin’ show.  Enjoy it over and over and share it with all of your friends and your mother’s friends too:

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-40-katie

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Katie McDougall and Lauren Hagan (as well as Michael Welsh and Mark Winchester) for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more from Katie McDougallhttp://katie-mcdougall.squarespace.com

Lauren promises to have a website soon, very soon!

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, for the recording and sound of the night, Clay Brunton for the art print, for Kevin at 5 Points Digital Imaging (http://5pdi.com) for printing those art prints,and to my lovely wife and everyone that came out live to support the show … and to everyone who has helped continue to spread the word and support the show online afterwards.

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

But we are not finished!!!! 40 is the new 20, right?

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

Date- Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)

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

With poet Amy Wright ((http://www.apsu.edu/zone3.) and musician Sara Marie Thompson (http://slateandsable.blogspot.com).

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 40 show.  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.

chUck

art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis of 5 Points Digital Imaging  *note to self- the year is 2014.

art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis of 5 Points Digital Imaging *note to self- the year is 2014.

{ 0 comments }

East Side Storytellin’ 15 – Where Mr. Mojo Risin’ finally found a brain and the Watkins lady too

June 6, 2013

Hello again and welcome back to another recap for another amazing East Side Stortyellin’ show that was experienced on the evening of Tuesday, June 4th, in the most lovely of Nashville weather with some of the coolest people around.  To preface a lovely evening without stress, I should let you know why I changed my […]

Read the full article →

East Side Storytellin’ 14 – Where The2ndHand and East Side Story came alive

May 30, 2013

East Side Storytellin’ 14 was going to be something new for me.  It was the first show that I knew for sure that my loving and always supporting wife would not be attending because she was on a business trip of sorts.  The day of the show, May 21st, first appeared to be rocky and […]

Read the full article →