Tonya Lewis

Lisa Dordal, Chuck Beard, Alayna Renae, Ashton Kimbrough, and Tom Eizonas.

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 123rd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 122, I repeat … 122, 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’ 123. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a consummate student, teacher, writer, poet, and all-around great person. She spent a good portion of her youth studying at the College of Wooster, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and creative writing and poetry at Vanderbilt University before deciding to pay it all back by becoming a well-respected lecturer in English at Vanderbilt University today. When not helping everyone else becoming better thinkers and writers, she does find time to do her own excellent work. That is why she is here tonight. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Robert Watson Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in various journals such as Best New Poets 2015, Cave Wall, CALYX, Ninth Letter, Rove Poetry, The Greensboro Review, Vinyl Poetry, Nimrod, storySouth, Connotation Press, Public Pool, and The Feminist Wire. I first met her when she let me promote and sell her first published paperback by the name of Commemoration, and she’s here tonight to share some work from her latest work, her 1st full-length collection of poetry titled Mosaic of the Dark. It was truly an honor to help pre-release the first full-length collection and give a proper spotlight on the one and only Lisa Dordal!

Lisa is another one of those artists who is small in stature and gives off the impression of being reserved, but she transforms herself into a formidable force of nature once she opens her mouth and starts sharing her powerful and poetic prose. And when I say that she turns into a force of nature, wouldn’t you know that she had a background echo of thunder at just the right moments of her reading from the storms outside. It really couldn’t have been better timing for Lisa to share her words at East Side Storytellin’.

Lisa opened her set with a dual-themed, deeply personal poem called Commemoration. It was one part a feminist response to the Virgin Mary’s conception and birth of Jesus and the other part a reaction to comments made by a visiting poet to the feminist response. The creative mathematical formula between the two was something more insightful and loud as a Sunday sermon for the ages. It got everyone perked up to full attention and ready for more. Lisa wasted no time from there to jump onto the mom poems. And when I say mom poems, I’m talking about work from Lisa that is inspired by her own mother. It is a figure in Lisa’s life that comes up regularly in what might originally seem the most irregular places, but, like the rest of Lisa’s work, it just fits and feels right.

One of my favorite prefaces to her poems was the title of the Last Poem about my Mother … for 3 Weeks. But the reading was more than just deep thoughts and worldly views from a daughter’s perspective. Lisa dove into themes of hauntings via house flies and ice men, winning wars despite having generals who drank too much, and other points inspired by transitions with drinking, sexuality, and traumatic life experiences. One such poem was inspired by seeing the news of a woman in New Delhi who was tortured, raped, and murdered on a bus after she had watched the movie Life of Pi with her boyfriend. The depths of horror revealed in such tales, while juxtaposed with Lisa’s honest, direct, not holding anything back, and empathetic energy within her punctuation, original insight, and delivery, all combine into something that allows the reader and listening audience to calmly walk up to the fine line of where sanity and death meet and reflect on life in a way that few artists and art can, in my humble opinion. Maybe it was the rain and the thunder and the lighting and everything else combined above that put me in such a trance, but I’m guessing that the talent and wonder of Lisa Dordal that can’t be defined in words has something to do with it.

Our featured music of the night is a mutual friend of one of our most enthusiastic East Side Storytellin’ alumnus in Ally Brown. This girl, our guest and not Ally, hails from sunny Orlando, Florida. A neo-soulite with a contemporary sound that follows the ever-changing fusion of Jazz and Neo-Soul, she often captures the attention of any audience with her versatile and original style. Since moving to Music City, she has released 3 singles via Firebreath Records and has held a residency at a local venue where she hosted a weekly jazz jam. Currently, she is working on her first album to be released any minute. Alongside her talented friend Ashton Kimbrough, the stage and crowd was set in the exact way it needed to be in order to properly digest the musical stylings of the amazing Alayna Renae!

I could actually hear Ashton continually playing soft keys in the background as I made my way to the mic to introduce the musical crew. I would later tell the crowd that I wanted to create a Kickstarter to raise enough money to pay Ashton to put wheels on his seat and keyboard and give him a salary to follow me around every single moment and everywhere while playing melodies to the tone of the day and moment. Everyone laughed, but I was serious … at least with wanting Ashton to follow me around and play his music. He is that good, y’all. The thing is, if that proposition were to  happen, Ashton would raise the bar for the moment every day that I would have to up my life game to make it look like a good pair. I say this because not everyone would be able to mesh and match with Ashton on the vocal side of music. Alayna Renae not only matches Ashton like two identical images in an old school game of memory, she totally surpasses any expectation of any vocal pairing I’ve come to East Side Storytellin’ with before this night. Again, she is that good, y’all.


With the busy fingers and musical canvas Ashton painted on the fly, Alayna pulled out all of the stops with her lyrics, stories, and emotions laid out for all to hear. It was as if she opened her private journal and poured out every emotion, life lesson, and any note that helped her to become the human she is today out on the floor for all to see. Whether it was talking about living life day by day or telling it how it is with your friends and loved ones, Alayna took a second to step back and then run  forwards with all of her might. Man, it was such a night. I’m not going to say anything else about the music because I want you to just listen to the recording and the talks below so you can get a glimpse of where I am coming from after experiencing everything I did on this special evening.

After the music faded, I again hosted a conversation with the featured artists. With two mics at the appropriate level, I kinda felt like all I had to do was drop the question like a tennis ball on the stage and let Lisa and Alayna knock it back and forth. The answers and smiles and honesty were as chill and amazing as a Championship match at Wimbledon on a Sunday afternoon. Again, you really just need to listen to the recording and hear for yourself. You will learn a lot about these artists and even more about yourself. Trust me. I know I am a better person already after being around these three.

So here it is, after writing and talking about it throughout the text above, this is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 123, the night when Lisa Dordal, Alyana Renae, and Ashton Kimbrough brought the calm and the storm. This was recorded at The Post East on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. Feel free to listen to this link and share it with everyone you know, over and over again. You’re welcome.

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

You can read more about Lisa’s work here- lisadordal.com
You can listen to more of Alayna’s music here – www.alaynarenae.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’ 124
Tuesday, February 20th
at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm
reading- K. H. A. O. S. (KHAOS NOBULLSHIT)
singing- Bentley Caldwell

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 123 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there. I repeat, please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,
mE

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Tom Eizonas, Dustin Lowman, Leeah Vickers, and Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Dustin Lowman, Leeah Vickers, 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 93rd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 92, I repeat … 92, 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 recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 93. Let us begin, again.

The first featured artist of the night is a poet, storyteller, and author = basically the perfect trifecta for East Side Storytellin’. She paints tapestries with words and inspirational stories and perceptions from life’s ever-winding journey. Her book Free to Fly is available to purchase at East Side Story. It is a peek into the soul of a free spirit spreading her wings and embracing the world around her. Love, hope, and freedom are constant messages at the heart of this collection. By day, she teaches literacy and creative writing to 6th graders. By night, she is a superhero of words, a prominent voice that has been featured all over town for quite some time. You may have seen her featured at the monthly Poetry in the Brew, but tonight she is all ours. I’m talking about the extremely talented Leeah Vickers.

Leeah kicked off the show by calling one of her dearest friends, Canille Turner. I’m serious, Leeah phoned a writer friend like she was a contestant on Who Wants to be a Poetic Millionaire. Instead of asking Canille for random answers, Leeah and Canille performed an original collaborative poem they had written and last shared over four years ago. Like learning to ride a bike again, they fell during practice a few times but nailed it when the spotlights and microphones were shining. It was honest, raw, and delightful all around. It was another first for East Side Storytellin’, to have an interactive phone call on speaker, but it was well worth the magic that these women threw down. Listen to the recording for yourself below.

How do you follow up a phone call with a bestie? Well, Leeah hung up and then dialed up her best impersonation of a timid poet who took two seconds to get into her groove of words and then totally rock the house without skipping a beat. She pretty much knew every word by heart, from the poem for her mother to driving a car to work, but she used her book and her phone and even the microphone as separate pieces of her theatrics. She put a spell on the crowd and an exclamation mark on the day. Leeah even killed it when she paused in between her prose. Seriously, take a listen to her performance below and come to the bookstore to get a copy for yourself as soon as you can, while you still can.

Our featured music of the night is someone who has been a very dear friend of East Side Story and East Side Storytellin’ for a good while. He is a writer and a singer/songwriter on the rise. He is a folksinger hitting hard on the heels of Bob Dylan, plus all of his millions of musical disciples. He is a composer of originals and coverer of all-admired materials. With two records out and counting, Folk Songs and Thunder 1: Calamitous Foe, this artist is another featured guest who constantly finds different mediums and outlets to get his creativity into the world, free to fly if you will. I’m talking about my good friend, Dustin Lowman.

Dustin was instantly classic Dustin. He had his guitar, harmonica, cool clothes, confidence to fill the room, and a voice that flooded it. He started his set with a Hank Sr. take on I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. It instantly felt like the perfect score to the reading that Leeah shared moments before. I knew we were in for a treat.

Dustin followed Hank with a few of originals of his own. His own take of birds flying by when he is Close to You, a pins and needles panic button pressed for Trying to Find Work, a self defining motto of I’ll Try Anything, to Searching for his Twin, and also a unique melodic trip on Joyful to Obtuse. In between laying down the tracks to a brilliant original set of tunes, Dustin took the time to pay homage to one of his creative heroes in Dylan with the track You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When When You Go. All in all, like I mentioned before, it was a brilliant set that was heartfelt by every heart in the building.

After Dustin played his final track, I got Leeah and him back on stage together to share a few special comments and commentary behind their creative scenes of producing such wondrous music and prose. They were both very insightful, energetic, complementary of one another, and an excellent pairing for a night or nights that have been shook up by the funky moon as of late. Point being, these two artists were just what I and so many people needed to hear on this given night. The final conversation also offered one of the top 5 moments in East Side Storytellin’ history for me = when the CD dropped out of the case on accident. You really had to be there to fully appreciate the moment, but, again, you can listen to the recording for the genuine happiness and fun surrounding said CD fall.

Photo by Chance Chambers

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 93 that featured Leeah Vickers and Dustin Lowman at The Post on Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Please listen to it and share with everyone you know, over and over again.

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

You can read more of Leeah’s writing here – www.leeahvickers.com

You can listen to more of Dustin’s music here – dustin-lowman.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 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.

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’ 94

Tuesday, November 1st

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Kyle Martindale (https://twitter.com/kyle_martindale)

singing- Jessica Martindale (http://jessicamartindale.com)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 93 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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Blu Sanders, Andrew R. Adkins, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Blu Sanders, Andrew R. Adkins, Chuck Beard, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 92nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 91, I repeat … 91, 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’ 92. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is a man born with what I believe is the coolest name ever in Bluford. He grew up in West Texas on the border in El Paso, got his business degree from the University of Texas (hook’em horns), and has been successfully making a living as a musician for the past 15 years in Austin, New York City, and Nashville. In 2010, he left Nashville for El Paso to become the caretaker for his father who was battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. His first book, The Forty One, which you can purchase tonight or later at East Side Story, is a tale about the 18-months of that time period between a father and his son, a terminal disease, and a dusty old car- racing to restore it and take his father for one final ride before he dies. Ready to roll with his first-ever official public reading for The Forty One, it was an honor to introduce the ultimate musician/author in Blu Sanders.

Blu took the stage and immediately said he was going to say all of the things that I said before I said them so now he didn’t have to and instead he was read to read from the selected excerpts he had prepared. He said he was going to read the intro and the final page of his book and fill in the gaps in between, without spoiling a good read. The Forty One title is significant because his father’s car was a 1941 Chevrolet beauty that had spent years collecting dust and untapped memories. Blu kicked things off by telling us what the car really was: a relic that represented finishing what you start, family, and love, among other priceless things. As for the reading, Blu was comfortable in the driver’s seat, taking us along for quite the ride down memory lane.

photo credit to Chance Chambers

photo credit to Chance Chambers

One of the most fascinating things I thought about while Blu was reading was the beautiful, yet completely tragic, symbolism between a father and his son bringing the family car back to life at the same time the father is slipping away. I’m pretty sure everyone and their mother in the crowd was thinking about and appreciating their own fathers, alive and gone, throughout the evening. Everyone was deeply connected to every word and following wherever Blu took us. Blu not only told us specifics about car parts and incidents that helped shape the time period written about in the book, but he also broke down the layered elements of communication, or lack thereof at times, between he and his dad and how they were built before and during this stage of their lives … only to see many of those walls break down in the process of learning more about themselves and the relationship they were to have with one another. Point being, the creative examination of the Sanders’ father/son dynamic was on full display, open and honest, raw and exposed, and something wonderful for everybody to relate with while reflecting on their own personal fatherly journey. In the end, Blu parked the car and the reading fresh, new and improved for the next ride with a future crowd to be named later. With the car, the book, and the reading, Blu found something he could be extremely proud of moving forward. We all hope to do the same.

Our featured musician of the night is a singer/songwriter who has written and recorded songs that have been acclaimed by critics from Paste Magazine, American Songwriter, No Depression Magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and many others. His music has been featured on ABC, DirecTV, MTV, USA Network, and many others as well. A former member of the Dualtone recording group called Mellow Down Easy and Werewolf Heart Records’ Lions for Real. Fresh off his latest album, Glass Castles, he is always ready to play a little bit of Americana, Blues, and Country with a few shades of Folk-Rock. Again, I was honored and super excited to introduce someone I’ve been creatively following for some time in Andrew R. Adkins.

I know I say it off and on during or after most, if not every, East Side Storytellin’ show, but the serendipity of the theme of this particular show was brought together by something greater than myself. Yes, I book the pairings. But, Andrew and Blu, two guys who didn’t meet one another until an hour before the show, didn’t plan ahead on sharing projects that were both from the heart and themed about the history and lessons learned from their fathers. Wouldn’t you know, Andrew’s Glass Castles was just that, more or less a concept album with the concept being the story of his dad. I just love it when life happens the way it’s supposed to be without trying to fake or force things.

photo credit to Chance Chambers

photo credit to Chance Chambers

Andrew sang about coal mines in Eastern Kentucky, hard life in West Virginia, and just about everything in between. It was also refreshing to hear a musician actually fit in the word facetious properly into an original song. The writer in me jumped for joy with that one for sure. But my feelings aside, the facts are that Andrew also laid everything out on the line with his lyrics, melodies, and rhythmic guitar rifts that perfectly allowed his messages to come across unhindered and in excellent shape for all those listening in the crowd to take it all in and also reflect on each song as they were delivered. And after setting us all up with family-inspired tracks of conquering adversity, embracing love, and doing your best to leave an inspired legacy, Andrew kicked the rest of the walls down with a full-blown inspiration anthem (one that once brought together fans of 50 Shades of Grey and The Jonas Brothers of all things – true story, listen to the recording  below for more details). He finished with a call for us all to be the people we are meant to be … indestructible.

After the music ended, I was again fortunate to have both of the featured artists share the stage to share some deeper insight into the passion and drive for doing what they have done and continue to do artistically. Blu shared more about how the living and making of the book helped shape him into the person and artist he is today. Andrew explained how his family background has helped him articulate what he’s trying to do creatively via music. Both Blu and Andrew were so easy to talk with and connect to on this respect for our fathers level. This, like most shows we put together, was another case that it was exactly what I yearned to hear from the universe at just the right time. You can hear more of why and how I felt this way by listening to the edited recording of the show below for yourself. Do yourself a favor and listen to it now.

But, before you click the show link below, I would be remiss if I didn’t make a personal note and mention the fact that Nashville lost one of its greatest assets this past week. You probably never saw her name on any billboards over Broadway or caught any of her artwork on CMT or the show Nashville, but this person meant more to Nashville than most I’ve met. I’m talking about the one and only Kaaren Engel. A friend, mother, daughter, artist, author, sculptor, restorative yogi, and person with the least amount of ego and the biggest heart in the 615 = fact. East Side Story is blessed to carry her book Herman’s Journey, and we were very fortunate to showcase it and her and friends at Cheekwood this past spring with a very special East Side Storytellin’ show for kids of all ages. You can see her website and the Cheekwood show link here- www.kaarenengel.com AND http://eastsidestorytn.com/east-side-storytellin-cheekwood-in-bloom-edition/

http://www.kaarenengel.com/why-words-matter/

http://www.kaarenengel.com/why-words-matter/

We all hope to honor your legacy, your friendship, your creativity, and your love until we meet again, Kaaren.

So here it is, the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 92 that featured Blu Sanders and Andrew R. Adkins at The Post on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Please listen to it and share with everyone you know, over and over again.

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

You can read more about Blu’s writing here- www.blusanders.com

You can listen to more of Andrew’s music here – www.AndrewAdkins.net

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.

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’ 93

Tuesday, October 18th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading-  Leeah Vickers (www.leeahvickers.com)

singing- Dustin Lowman (https://dustin-lowman.bandcamp.com/)

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 92 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

Much love,

mE

 

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Chuck Beard, Brian Rogers, Tony Keats, Jennifer Justus, Kyle Walsh, Brian Pitts, and Tom Eizonas

Chuck Beard, Brian Rogers, Tony Keats, Jennifer Justus, Kyle Walsh, Brian Pitts, and Tom Eizonas

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 90th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 89, I repeat … 89, 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’ 90. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is someone who writes about food and life, telling stories that help us see other perspectives while reminding us of our common humanity. Her formal training in food writing came from creating her own curriculum at Boston University with courses of Journalism and Gastronomy, a cultural study of food founded by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. She worked as food culture and lifestyles reporter at The Tennessean for 6 years before a successful dive into freelance work that has been featured in Time, Serious Eats, and Southern Living, to name a few. She is the author of Nashville Eats and The Food Lovers’ Guide to Nashville. I didn’t think she was going to read from one of her favorite stories of covering a nudist community or traveling with an unsigned rock band, but I had been wrong before. I’m talking about the one and only Jennifer Justus, ya’ll.

photo by Chance Chambers

photo by Chance Chambers

Jennifer asked me during the pre-show set up if she could read one short story before the music and then another one after the band. As usual, I agreed. Nobody knows art like the artists who make it. Jennifer had a better feel for presenting her work that I or anyone else. She kicked things off with a pre-published work that involves Nashville hot chicken and the first date she had with her now, newly wedded, husband (Tony Keats, the same fella leading the featured band of this evening. See picture below and you can instantly see they were made for one another to be happy.)

Photo by Chance Chambers

Photo by Chance Chambers

Anyways, Jennifer read her story with humor and confidence that was radiating from the page. You can listen to hit below or Google it online, but it is a tremendous tale about an epic break-up story. No. They didn’t break up and get back together before being married. Jennifer read the story about a break-up from vegetarianism and random relationship insecurities. As with my favorite stories by Jennifer written so far, food is the springboard of her stories to much deeper meaning and life questions. The only big question I had by the end of the first story was what “steak night” is planned for September. You’ll understand what I mean after you read/hear it. Look. Jennifer is so talented at what she does that none of her stories need any condiments added to her original thoughts and words.

Our featured music of the night is a self-proclaimed band of seasoned players. A four-piece band based in Nashville, TN, with influences from artists like The Band and Leon Russell, some of our big pink personal favorites, they bring a cool, funky southern sound. Hot off a six-song EP this spring, they’re recording a new record for early 2017. Anything but ragtag slackers, each member has played in numerous projects supporting Nashville artists before coming together as this group officially in 2015. Tom and I agreed that at least once a year it’s tradition to bring in a full-size band to get really loud. Tonight, it was the likes of Brian Pitts, Tony Keats, Kyle Walsh, and Brian Rogers joining creative forces and rocking East Nashville as the group American Watermelon.

Photo by Chance Chambers

Photo by Chance Chambers

American Watermelon, was exactly what I thought it would be … awesome! These guys did have elements of The Band, when they were jamming in the middle of the songs and seamlessly transitioning between rhythms of rock, country, americana, and jazz. You could tell they have been playing a very long time individually, and that they have a great feel for where each person fills in the circle of their music when playing together. I loved each and every one of their songs, but Down South (maybe their 5th track) was my favorite. Story of my life, “Do it wrong until I do it right.” Seriously, I can’t do these guys justice (Jennifer pun here) with a wordy recap of their set or song stories. Do yourself a favor and give the entire set a listen. Then let me know what you think your favorite tune is.

Photo by Steve Simpson

Photo by Steve Simpson

After the music ended, Jennifer took the stage once again and read from a brand new story, maybe even finished hours before the show for all I know. It was a poignant, revealing and heartfelt and deeply personal, tale about a friend having a baby while coming to grips with her own decision never to have one herself. As much pressure as there is around for people to have babies, from friends and family and beyond, I think there are even more pressures or false assumptions thrown at individuals who choose not to procreate. Jennifer hits the topic right on its head, all the while tackling a humorous account of reliving a first hand experience with a close friend having her second (accompanied by the father of the child, a sibling of the child, the mother of the child, a chocolate cake for the family, and a dog named Waylon). Whether you have a child or plan to or not, this story will speak to you in a great way. Again, Jennifer is so immensely talented at what she does.

Photo by Tom Eizonas

Photo by Tom Eizonas

So before I called it a night, I was fortunate enough to have the still honeymooning couple, Tony and Jennifer, up on stage to speak for everyone involved in the night. It was a fun exchange of questions and answers, and I think we hit a solid groove or honesty, candid personal notes, and shout-outs to friends and family in the crowd throughout. Once again, everyone who attended was touched by the stories and talents shared by every individual who hit the stage. Ninety shows in, and it never gets old. Nashville has heart and talent and everything what’s nice about this world.

So, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 90 that went down on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. It was a night that featured classic, unforgettable stories and songs by Jennifer Justus and American Watermelon. Feel free to share and enjoy, over and over again.

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

You can read more about Jennifer’s writing here- jenniferjustuswrites.com

You can listen to more of American Watermelon’s music here – www.facebook.com/americanwatermelon

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 design by Clay Brunton

art design 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’ 91

Tuesday, September 20th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Sally Anderson 

singing- The Daily Fare

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 90 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

I don't normally post pictures of me solo, but I like this one taken by Chance Chambers. And any time I can give credit to my friend and talented wordsmith, Chance Chambers, I'm gonna do it.

I don’t normally post pictures of me solo, but I like this one taken by Chance Chambers. And any time I can give credit to my friend and talented wordsmith, Chance Chambers, I’m gonna do it.

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

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

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to recap and recording of the 89th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 88, I repeat … 88, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is the recap and recording of East Side Storytellin’ 89. Let us begin, again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

art print by Clay Brunton

art print by Clay Brunton

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 90

Tuesday, September 6th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Jennifer Justus

singing- American Watermelon

That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 89 and another fabulous event at The Post with East Side Story at the helm. Thanks for coming out and sharing the good word and giving some love to all of these great Nashville artists and our creative ideas. Please remember to be nice to one another out there.

much love,

mE

 

 

 

 

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East Side Storytellin’ 88: When Barry Jones and Woodferd brought the soccer connection along with beautiful stories

August 6, 2016

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the recap and recording of the 88th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 87, I repeat … 87, previous shows East Side Story […]

Read the full article →

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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 […]

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May 18, 2016

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to recap and recording of the 83rd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 82, I repeat … 82, previous shows East Side Story has put […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 82: When VeerajaR and Becca Mancari defined JOY in East Nashville

May 9, 2016

Hello again and welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially and whole-heartedly welcome you to the 82nd epic edition of East Side Storytellin’. Like the previous 81 previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from […]

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East Side Storytellin’ 81: The night the northern star and the southern street poet made Nashville shine

April 24, 2016

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU and hello again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially and whole-heartedly welcome you to the 81st epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 80, I repeat … 80, previous shows East Side Story has put together, […]

Read the full article →