The Porch

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 –

You can listen to more of Zack’s music here –

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here –

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,



Jennifer Anderson, Debbie Sutton, Chuck Beard, Shannon Marie Smith, Walker Bass, Joshua Dent, Kirabelle, and Tom Eizonas

Jennifer Anderson, Debbie Sutton, Chuck Beard, Shannon Marie Smith, Walker Bass, Joshua Dent, Kirabelle, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Good morning, afternoon, or evening (depending on when you read this) and welcome to a monumental event at hand. With Unbound Arts at the helm of a beautifully planned and enjoyed evening, let me be one of the first to recap and share that this was not just the 1st event East Side Story experienced at Riverwood Mansion, this was the 52nd spectacular edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 51 previous shows we had put together before, we all arrived at Riverwood Mansion, described below 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, fulfilling – to the max – the entertainment portion of the night, this was East Side Storytellin’ 52. Let us begin, again.

Image courtesy of Emily Harper Beard

Image courtesy of Emily Harper Beard

If you haven’t been to Riverwood Mansion before, you really need to make it a point to take a visit. Unbound Arts will be hosting multiple pop-up events every month, on top of the glamorous weddings that you may or may not already be invited to as well. Either way, you need to take the time to get lost in the history and wonder that Riverwood Mansion possesses. All of the featured artists and guests piling in before the show actually started were able to spend time wandering about throughout the upstairs and downstairs rooms and really take quite the trip on a cold Tuesday night in January. People were dressed nice and it was more than fancy for all involved. It was a treat even before the food and entertainment began.

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

Speaking of treats, before we get to the show, one of the coolest things we did for this epic undertaking like none before was to involve the Riverwood Mansion owner/chef, Debbie Sutton, to create something very special for the night. She had contacted the featured guests before the show and planned a 4 course meal to add to the mix. Before the show began, I introduced Jennifer Anderson of Unbound Arts to talk about the venue and then introduce Debbie. Debbie greeted the packed and seated crowd with pleasantries. Then, without skipping a beat, she described the food and its inspiration in the order that it would be served.

1st – A Southern play on Cici Bean Soup, made with good ol’ White Beans.
2nd – Fried Green Tomato Parmesan with Angel Hair Pasta
3rd – Chicken Marsala, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Slow Cooked Green Beans
4th – Buttermilk Red Velvet Gelato

Images courtesy of Emily Harper Beard. Images are the four courses mentioned above and made by Debbie Sutton of 8 Lavender Lane Catering and Event Planning

I was sitting next to Tom stage right and it sounded like a firework show of OOO’s and AHH’s behind us. I kid you not, the crowd exploded into jubilation like a group of Black Friday shoppers at midnight after Debbie detailed the desert for the night. It was totally amazing all around. You could sense the wonder and inspiration in the air. Basically, everyone who bought a ticket and attended was served some of the best and unique food anywhere in town that evening … fact. So, on top of the show below, now you know what you missed and why you need to get a ticket for the next show before it sells out!

Now, here is the show … East Side Storytellin’ 52.

The first featured guest of the evening is a man of few words but a man that is admired by many because the words he does share always count and matter so much to everyone in his life. He is a local poet who received a certificate from the MTSU’s Writer’s Loft in January of 2013, where people like Jeff Hardin and Kory Wells were his mentors. He has been a guest host at Poetry in the Brew and was recently featured at Poet’s Corner at Scarritt-Bennett this past October. He has been published in the journals Blast Furnace, Number One, Third Wednesday, and Nashville Arts Magazine (to name a few and counting). Beyond his stellar writing and performing track record among his writing peers, this guy has “thru-hiked” the Appalachian Trail twice (both being 6 month endeavors). He also studies and practices Mindfulness, something we all should do better at taking notes and implementing into our own lives. It was an honor and great feeling to introduce this man to kick off 2015 in style and I was not alone in giving a mindful and heart-filled welcome to the stage to the likes of the one and only Walker Bass!

Image courtesy of Chance Chambers

Image courtesy of Chance Chambers

Walker didn’t even bother starting his soup because he was ready to read. He walked through the crowd, filled with a handful of past East Side Storytellin’ alumni and regular supporters, and made his way to the spotlight below the beautiful chandelier. Honestly, the set-up was impeccable and dreamy for any event coordinator of any sort. Back to Walker, he kicked things off with his one and only sonnet. He described how difficult those can be at times, and that was the only moment difficult was mention or expressed throughout his readings because he really knocked the performance out of the park (or mansion, as it was). Walker has an innate presence and skill to exude a calm aura but at the same time cut to the core and revealing the depths of life for all to see how he sees the world. The poem about the bathroom door telling him where to go and what to do was simply awe-inspiring. Like most of the other talented Nashville poets that have taken the East Side Storytellin’ stage, I can’t do them justice with the recap after the fact. You really do need to just listen to the recording below to get the full effect (and come in person if you don’t want it edited at all and to feel it live).

Image courtesy of Emily Harper Beard

Image courtesy of Emily Harper Beard

Before Walker took his seat for his food and applause, he did something I’ve always wanted to have happen at the shows and never has occurred up to this show. He asked the musicians, Kirabelle and Joshua Dent, to come on stage and play their instruments to accompany his words. The style of his poetry and the sheer talent of the instrumentalists for this moment fit like a charm. Actually, it was more than a charm or charming. It was perfect.

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

We took a short break to let Walker sit down and enjoy the music of the night and for the musicians to get set up. The featured musician of the night was yet another person that I discovered while perusing the pictures and recap from the artists festival this past year with Float Nashville (an organization that all of you should take time to look up and check out this year). Born into an eclectic musical family of Welsh, Scots, English, and Italian ancestry, this female phenome is a blend of Folk, Pop, and Jazz mixed with a fine sense of pitch and humor, intonation and elegance. She can play the guitar, banjolele, ukulele, and the piano (probably not at the same time though, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she did). She was recently featured on the Firebreathmas 2014 album called “All I Got for Christmas” and you can buy more of her tunes online in the form of “Songs for Baby Beans” and “Wildwood Flower.” It has been written that this lady sounds like Norah Jones and Regina Spektor spun on a 40′s record player. Like Riverwood Mansion and the overall setting of this particular event we found ourselves in that night, she brings a fresh energy to an old sound. Joined by her good friend and cellist Joshua Dent, the loving crowd put their hands together and showed big love for Kirabelle!

Image courtesy of Emily Harper Beard

Image courtesy of Emily Harper Beard

Kirabelle, a born professional musician and experienced Vaudeville act, instantly lit up the faces and smiles for all eating their 2nd or 3rd course at that point. She mentioned that she had managed to stuff some of the goodness in her mouth before taking the stage, and that she was honored to be a part of such a magical night. Joshua, one of the best jazz cellist I’ve ever seen play live, kept Kirabelle’s humor and stories in check with his constant chuckles and improv sounds from behind. It was quite the duo to kick off the new year with new sounds.

In a city filled with country, it was nice beyond words to fill the antebellum house with sounds of folk jazz (yes, Kirabelle coined it that way). Her voice was like something Boardwalk Empire would have dreamed about showcasing, and I know my wife was not alone in wanting to capture her sound for our newest very old record player at our house. Everything about Kirabelle’s performance was a nod of respect to musical ancestry and yet making it new in a way that was comfortable and exciting and breathtaking for all in the crowd. She did fit in two covers- Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell’s “You Are My Sunshine.” Both were so poignant, original, and … seriously, yet again I cannot give these people justice in a recap. You simply must listen to the show below and make plans to see these shows live so you don’t miss a minute of awesome.

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

Before Kirabelle and Joshua put down their instruments, they left us with a very cool, introspective original that displayed feelings of love and longing but in a way with such skill and sound that I’ve never quite heard anything like it before. This was something special y’all!

After the music stopped, I managed to get Kirabelle and Walker back on stage to share some personal thoughts on creativity and their paths to Nashville and beyond. I’ll just stop talking now, and let the recording do them and the show justice. I could ramble for days here if allowed.

So, as promised, here is the edited version of Unbound Arts presents: East Side Storytellin’ 52 with Kirabelle (featuring Joshua Dent) and Walker Bass. 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 Walker and Kirabelle for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Walker Bass

You can listen to more from Kirabelle

You can listen to this show, edited, soon, alongside the previous shows too, on our website,, at our In Our Own Words Tab – see here –

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 ( to celebrate Unbound Arts presents: East Side Storytellin’ 52.

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

Unbound Arts presents: East Side Storytellin’ 52 at Riverwood Mansion- art by Clay Brunton, printed by Kevin Anthuis of 5 Points Digital Imaging

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.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to the crew at Riverwood Mansion: the owner and chef- Debbie Sutton, the PR master of Shannon Marie Smith, and the event guru 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 …

East Side Storytellin’ 53

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Riverwood Mansion (1833 Welcome Lane)


author- Roschelle Ridenhour (

musician- Justin Collins (

For more information: Email or to see about purchasing tickets.


Purchase your tickets and share with friends here-

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

That’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 52 and the official beginning of a wonderfully fun run of events here at Riverwood Mansion. 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,



See y'all at the next show! Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

See y’all at the next show!
Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

From my family to yours ... Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart

From my family to yours …
Image courtesy of Elizabeth Stewart