Tom Petty

Kristin Weber, Carter F. Smith, Tom Eizonas, Ali Sperry, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 117th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 116, I repeat … 116, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 117. Let us begin, again.

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

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

b/w photo of Monk Eastman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to more of Ali’s music here – alisperry.com

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

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

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 118, the 5th anniversary show

Tuesday, November 7th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Dana Malone

singing- Solar Twin

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 117 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

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Aaron Lee Tasjan, Chuck Beard, Christine Hall, and Tom Eizonas

Aaron Lee Tasjan, Chuck Beard, Christine Hall, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to the recap and recording of another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 68th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 67 previous shows East Side Story has put together, 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’ 68. Let us begin, again.

The first featured guest of the night was a performance poet that lives, writes, and gardens in Nashville, TN. A child from Queensbury, New York and a child of American mythology – tool girl calendars, Bible stories, and science fiction to name a few – she ventures into intimate subjects with ease in her own prose. She has been a featured artist in Out & About Nashville, The Brophisticate’s “In the Corner Back by the Woodpile” podcast, in Calliope Magazine’s inaugural issue, and a portion of her book “Waking God” (of which you can purchase at East Side Story) appeared on Nashville MTA buses in 2013 as part of Metro Arts and Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion. She can be found at a plethora of art events around town, taking notes for her first novel or simply staring at cracks in the sidewalk. The person who currently carries the brightest torch for the monthly series Poetry in the Brew, it was an honor to introduce the one and only Christine Hall, y’all!

Christine prefaced her reading to the audience by saying that she had politely asked her children to give her peace and quiet this particular afternoon in order for her to properly get in a good spot before the show and they did the exact opposite for her and that ended up being okay because they brought up a lot of “feelings” for her to use instead of peace and quiet. Christine cleared her throat and then wasted no time at all clearing her soul for all to listen and feel. I don’t know if you have ever heard Christine perform her poetry, but you will never forget it if you do.

Christine stared directly into the depths of her words and let it all out with raw emotion and volume that would be uncontested by most authors I’ve ever seen read. She cried out something about Emmanuel to kick things off and by the time she got into the middle of her second poem that brought to light several instances of missing people and so-called monsters (Nelly excluded), she was visibly shaking as she was throwing down her prose for all to witness. It was very intense and very powerful for all to sit on the edge of their seats and take in.

Christine split her time between sharing poems from her book and from other social reactionary topics she has been busy pining over as of late and it was all a beautiful blend of heavy materials and concepts we all need to chew on more often than most do. She finished with one of my favorite poems of hers of the night about her take on feminism and it perfectly reflected why it is that Christine writes poetry = because there are some ideas and thoughts and other stuff that she can’t keep inside nor does she want to keep it to herself. Point being, as I said before, Christine let it all out and figuratively dropped the mike by the end to a full room of applause and appreciation.

And then the music of the night totally flipped the room on its head and heart.

The featured music of the night was a charmingly self-deprecating underdog of an East Nashville songwriter and everyone I’m friends with absolutely love a charmingly self-deprecating underdog of any sorts. Connected and brought to my attention by our mutual friend Gary Branigan, the co-founder of the awesome East Nashville indie label Palaver Records, this young man was celebrating the grand release of his first full length album called “In the Blazes” this day, there and then on the spot! This guy was born in O-H-I-O, playing the guitar at age 11 in his first band, learning by ear mainly to sing Oasis songs and get middle-school chicks (which isn’t as creepy as it sounds when you know he was of middle school age at the time). He went on to cut his teeth in teenage garage bands and joining the high school jazz ensemble (because you saw that one coming, right?). The jazz led him to receiving a jazz-guitar scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He quickly ditched the academia route by jumping back into the rock & roll scene in a band called Semi-Precious Weapons who found some solid success. He moved on from that group and another one called Madison Square Gardeners to become one of the most sought after hired gun guitarists around. In 2014, after playing a bunch of solo acoustic gigs on the side, this guy put out his first EP called “Crooked River Burning” and reached #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart. On this special night he was with us to rock his big release “In the Blazes” and blaze his way to the top of the charts and into our music-loving hearts. Ladies and gentlemen, it was truly an honor to share the name and amazing talents of the likes of Aaron Lee Tasjan!

Aaron stepped up to the microphone with a guitar that read “This was a huge deal” (of which you can listen to the backstory during the interview portion and link below) and it was quite evident after just a few chords that this performance before us was indeed going to be a huge F’n deal. Before I get started here, let me just say that Aaron’s set and the set by Kat Milk Blu in the most recent show before this were hands down better than any musical performances I’ve seen in Nashville at The Ryman or most other big and small venues around in a long time. Seriously, it was and he is that good.

That said, Aaron started his set instantly making everyone laugh and listen because he said the first song was about getting someone not to walk away and listen to him and it was called “Don’t walk away, I’m talking to you.” And then he blew our minds. Before every song, he was the most delightful and natural storyteller I’ve ever heard perform. He said that he is friends with Todd Snider and fans of John Prine, but I would say he is already on that caliber of performers and just gonna get even better. To preface his second song, one titled “Get Gone” (one from his new album), he told us about a recent show in New York where the X-Men and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart introduced himself and sat in the front row because his wife is a singer in Europe and was cutting that particular track for her first album. Bad news is that Patrick Stewart fell asleep during the show (too much whiskey), but the good news is that his wife’s cut of Aaron’s song is on the top of the charts as of last week. You Google her at Sunny Ozell. But back to Aaron. He then told of a killer revenge song story about a bad crowd experience with one particular dick at a Cat Power show in Nashville when playing the new “Bitch Can’t Sing.” And then he went old school, being that I’m from KY and he is from OH, and talked about his song inspired by one of his friends saying that Ohio is home of the most US Presidents and astronauts because it is filled with the most liars and people who want to get as far away from Ohio as humanly possible. I’m serious … I could go on and on all day and night about how brilliant this guy is with storytelling and his songs. I mentioned at one point that I’m looking forward to seeing Aaron read his original prose at Poetry in the Brew and other storytelling events around town.

And as great as the first part and middle of the set was, I was totally trying to find out in my head how we can start the Aaron Lee Tasjan fan club (if there isn’t one yet) by the end of his time playing this night because he had a 1-2-3 punch to finish the set like few I’ve heard before. He played “Living Proof” while giving nods to Tom Petty and correctly spelling Lynyrd Skynyrd every time despite never remembering how many L’s are in Van Halen, then mentioned taking drugs on the West Coast with Ohio and East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Tim Easton while writing a song called $66 blues inspired by a piano melody of Jerry Lee Lewis proportions, and finished it all with a song about the streets of Galilee that perfectly came full circle with Christine’s beginning of Emmanuel but then had an excerpt that was similar to David Alan Coe’s perfect Country & Western song but was even better and more personal and relatable. Can you tell that I’m a fan of Aaron’s music and artistry yet?

Before I give you the link of the edited recording of the show, I’d like to mention that one of the most poignant lines I’ve heard in my interviews for the show came during this show’s interview session. First, Christine spoke again about why she writes and writes poetry specifically because she can’t hold it in, and then Aaron, when prompted to say what he learned about his first taste of music business money and fame and how that helps him define what he does now and what success means to him … he went on about a solid 5-10 answer that came directly from the heart about what he defines as creativity and the point of art in general and it was remarkable. I’m thinking of transcribing it later and seeing if we should make prints with it. I’ll let you know if I and we do.

But, lucky for you, you don’t have to wait for that print or feel bad if you missed this show in person because here it is … East Side Storytellin’ 68, edited but not too much after featuring Christine Hall and Aaron Lee Tasjan on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015, at The Post with a room full of love and life. Enjoy and share it over and over again until we break the internet in a great way.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-68 

Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Christine Hall and Aaron Lee Tasjan for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.

You can read more about Christine Hall’s writing here- www.facebook.com/ChristineHallisapoet

You can listen to more from Aaron Lee Tasjan here- www.aaronleetasjan.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’d also like to show much love to Clay Brunton for the beautiful artwork online to promote the show.

art by Clay Brunton

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.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …

East Side Storytellin’ 69

Tuesday, October 20th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- W.S. Lyon 

singing- Andrew Leahey (andrewleaheymusic.com)

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 68 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 for the road

one more for the road

 

 

 

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