Vanderbilt

Tom Eizonas, Susan McBride, Chuck Beard, and Mary Bragg

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 113th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 112, I repeat … 112, 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’ 113. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the night is someone who is an amazing artist but is an even better person. I first met her while we were both working at Oasis Center. Whenever anyone finds out that I worked at Oasis Center, they give me this look that I’m lucky and that that means I’m a special person. The truth is that I’m lucky to have met this friend there and she is truly a special person. She is the child of chronic church attending, God, drug, and alcohol addicted relatives (aren’t we all though), but she embraces a resurrection of sorts through confrontation of lethal theology. She is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt with her Master of Divinity (at the young age of 65, mind you), but her poetry is why she is featured tonight. Her work is a poignant prose styled picture of misery that sometimes gives way to humor. It is a testament to truth and strength found within us all. Without writing for days, let me say that it was an absolute honor to introduce my friend and talented artist, Susan McBride.

Susan went toe to toe with the immense and looming aftereffects of current events in our country that took place in Charlottesville this past weekend the only way she knows how, with honesty, insight, and love. She started her set with two long and family-related pieces that took everyone in the room on a roller coaster of emotions in the best of ways. The first story was about an unfortunate death and someone’s last meal. The second delved more in family characters and locations and was a superb trip via trains and rehab and possibly jail in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There were mentions of Elvis-like Bear Bryant sitings, and the volcano of emotions and actions blew its lid and overflowed with a young girl declaring to the family everything she knows is true from the bottom, top, and sides of her heart. It was some very powerful stuff! And not only did it have a cool name of Aunt Evelyn (I pronounced it as Evil Lean, which fit her character), Susan also had a main character by the name of Uncle Otis (shout out to my son without being an uncle thing).

Anyways, Susan ended her set with a short piece from God and Family that begged to bring up the thought of someone not asking to be born to these people she has as parents, always confronted with the right answers to the wrong questions … or something like that. It was, as the rest of her writing, heart wrenching and hit you straight to the core. Lucky for you, even if you were in the audience this given night, you can listen to Susan read it all over again and again in the link below. Be strong, and take the trip.

Our featured music of the night is an award-winning singer-songwriter who was born in THE Swainsboro, Georgia, but now calls Nashville home. The youngest of four children and a city full of cousins, she grew up listening by default and became a great observer from the get go. After finding herself and finding her own way of telling her stories via music, you can tell by such titles as SUGAR, TATTOOES & BRUISES, EDGE OF THIS TOWN, and her latest in LUCKY STRIKE, that this artist makes quite the layered stories within stories with her word and her melody skills. This songbird’s music explores the questions and search to discover our truest selves, the ones outside of our families and communities in which we are raised. More than happy to finally get her to become part of the East Side Storytellin’ family, it was perfect timing for everyone for me to introduce Mary Bragg to our stage.

Mary wasted no time in getting up to the microphone and letting everyone know just how special this timing and pairing was to her. She said something to the effect that, and I paraphrase in quotes, “These types of events, it often comes down to timing and availability, I know from experience, and it is truly amazing how all of Susan’s stories reflect and relate to my songs.” To which I yet again said under my breath, “Serendipity!” Yes, serendipity, indeed. Mary completely dropped everyone’s jaws with her voice from the heavens and the content from the depths of her soul. I’ll admit it here and now, my mom was in the crowd and she shed real tears during one of the songs … maybe two. It was that good and moving.

Mary broke out a lot of her “story” songs for the crowd and this set. She sang about wildfires, the 40 year love between her aunt and uncle (not sure if his name was Otis or not at the moment), bayou lullabies, and the title track from Lucky Strike, to name a few. She was in character as the melodic narrator of these epic tales, and you can actually feel the words if you listen carefully in between the notes in the recording below. Before she was to finish her set, Mary changed things up a bit on a lighter note and sang a song she co-wrote with her friend Becky Warren about two of my household’s favorite things (items that could be the perfect reflection of my marriage and love), ice cream and liquor. Mary finished the set with smiles and fun all around. Everyone was feeling better than before the show, and that’s all I could ever ask of anything we do.

After the music and the applause faded, I asked Mary and Susan to join me up front yet again to talk more about their own personal mantras and lessons they’ve learned about their personal stories and creativity in general. They both maintained the same honesty and openness and spunk that they showed while sharing their original art. Let me repeat this again, I couldn’t have asked for a better and more closely pair of strangers to be featured on this given Tuesday when we hosted #113. With so much weight in the world at the moment, it was more than refreshing to share an evening with two artists who live with so much love and care for others on and off the stage, every day they breathe. I don’t think it was just coincidence that this pairing hit the stage one a day that my mom told me before the show that it was a Catholic sacred day for Mary because I really feel like Mary Bragg and Susan McBride were delivering some powerful messages that those of us in attendance needed to be reminded of for that day. It was like we all went to church on a Tuesday … a church filled with more love and teach than judgement and preach.

But who am I to ramble on about everything that happened. I was merely a witness. And, again, lucky for you and those who weren’t there to witness it firsthand, go ahead and click the link below to listen to and share the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 113, a recording of Susan McBride and Mary Bragg doing what they do and did at The Post on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. It was truly an honor. 

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

You can read more of Susan’s writing here – http://approachingperfection-barnone.blogspot.com

You can listen to more of Mary’s music here – www.marybragg.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’ 114

Tuesday, September 5th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Destiny Birdsong

singing- Mike Hicks

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 113 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, Ciona Rouse, Amita Fukui, Chuck Beard

Tom Eizonas, Ciona Rouse, Amita Fukui, Chuck Beard

Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’. Similar to the 43 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. Unlike the 43 previous shows we’ve put together, all of them being amazing and straight from the heart. this particular show, with the two featured artists you are about to witness below, I’ll go ahead say that it was one of the most soulful show. I knew it, even before it started. For everyone that was there, get excited to experience the show again. For those that didn’t make it, don’t miss out on the shows to come after you read the below and listen to the wonderment that happened on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014. This was one of the greats. This was East Side Storytellin’ 44. Let us begin again.
The first featured guest of East Side Storytellin’ 44 is an artist’s artist. The life of a writer can often feel like a very individualistic and selfish act and dream to chase. The writer spends a ton of solitary time, creating stories and curating words together in a way that they believe will somehow move and change the world perspective of the future reader, not knowing if there will be a reader at the end other than the writer themselves. That said, this writer not only does a tremendous job with her own work, she also helps put together events and crowds to ensure that other local writers will have an appreciative audience and people to whom they can share their art. Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, a graduate from Columbia College in South Carolina with a BA in English, she spends a lot of her time as an excellent freelance writer and editor. She is the unforgettable host of the bi-monthly poetry experience called Writings on the Wall and the monthly poetry series called Lyrical Brew: An Evening of Local Poetry- where she invites new and well-known poets to showcase their work. Another inspirational concept she has created that continues to inspire me and others in the area and beyond is her “do the crazy thing” prints and mission that we talked about later in the show. But I restrained myself from rambling for hours about how special this lady is, and I was truly honored to be the host that introduced the ultimate literary host like none in the city or beyond … I’m talking about having the privilege of introducing the one and only Ciona Rouse!

Ciona had mentioned before the show that she was more than a little bit nervous because she hasn’t spent much time before trading in her hosting gigs to sharing her own work in public. I reassured her that she was going to be great and that a ton of loving friends and fans were coming to give her just the morale support that she needed to enjoy the night to the fullest. Lucky for me, both things came true: the crowd showed up in tidal waves of seats and love, and Ciona was breathtaking.

She started with a poem about the first time she kissed someone, a unique twist on kissing cousins. She had the crowd giggling and in the palm of her hands from the first words. Everyone felt at ease being in said palm, and Ciona knew exactly where to take us with her words and show instincts. She made a touching call of her own dream of a day when we could start painting our hearts every where we go so others can see them and be reminded of goodness in times of great despair or chaos (such as seen currently in Ferguson). Then, at one point, describing another fateful family event, Ciona dove into the depths of her memory and emotions to reveal a story about the birth and death of her favorite human being in the world, her favorite niece. I was touched beyond words, only speaking for my own feelings, but I do know that one or more people had to get up and get some tissues to wipe away the tears. I can’t say more about the poetry and Ciona’s excellence beyond just sharing the recording below, but I will say that it felt like the formula for the famous Jimmy V speech at the first ESPY’s show. If you’ve never heard the speech, do yourself a favor and click this link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E. Basically, Jim Valvano said, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.” On those lines, Ciona made me and everyone in the crowd laugh, think, and cry in our own ways. I’m not saying that every writer should follow or attempt to follow Ciona’s formula (mainly because no two writers are the same), but I do know that Ciona’s performance was remarkable and one heck of a start to the show I’m talking about from East Side Storytellin’ 44. When Ciona walked off the stage, the applause was louder than me telling people over the microphone to keep the applause going. I didn’t even need to say anything. Yeah; it was that good.

To follow the spoken words of Ciona, I had another Ace of Hearts up my scheduling sleeve. The second featured guest of the evening kicked off this month of September’s homage to talented friends of talented friends of my favorite music duo of Carolina Story. I first met this young man at a house concert that headlined East Side Storytellin’ alumnus Carolina Story. Ben Roberts introduced this guy as one of his best friends and muses in his musical journey to date. Any friend of Ben and Emily is someone with whom we should all should hope to to be friends. With just a guitar and voice, this guy filled up the entire house with good vibes and meaningful messages that stuck with me and everyone else for days after. Originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, then traveling to the University of North Texas to study philosophy, this guy formed a band with friends in Denver, Colorado called Whiskey King Coalition that blended flashes of funk, jazz, R & B, and Americana … a few of my favorite things. After touring the west coast, the south, and Nashville for several runs, he decided to make Nashville his next destination with only his family in tow. Another fun name and artist to the core, I was more than amped up to welcome the guitar, voice, heart, and example of awesome in the flesh, sir Amita Fukui.

Amita wasted no time in giving the crowd his heart-felt love and deep appreciation for taking time to listen to him perform in public for the first time in over two years. The stars had aligned perfectly, and Ciona had opened our ears, minds, and hearts perfectly to let Amita take us further than anyone expected when they woke up Tuesday, September 2nd, and after the storms rolled through in the afternoon. Amita jumped right into his first song and people were tapping their feet and moving in their seats. I love Amita’s music because it reminds me of the modern musical talents of Ben Harper with the gritty, gut-wrenching lyrics of personal and cultural awareness of Richie Havens (If you haven’t listened to a lot of either one, you should as soon as you listen to the recording of the show below).

Amita played two songs and then told the story about his family and the third song with one of the most catchy and inspirational lines I’ve heard in some time that had me singing by the end called Road Gospel, part 1. You’ll hear it below, and the songs before and after, but try not to be inspired more energetic about life all around than you were before reading this … just try!

As always, before you knew it, it was time for the music to end for the evening. I speak for everyone there when I say that we could and would have listened all night long to Amita and Ciona had they decided to continue. I am always amazed at how the combinations of these East Side Storytellin’ artists come together perfectly during their performances and reveal more coincidences than I ever expect when booking them. Honestly, there is a magic way beyond me or the store to get these amazing artists together. For this show, I made a few of these obvious points known before starting the creative conversation. Specifically, I made these two points:

1- When asked about a bio from both of these artists that don’t really have too much of a website presence, I found it very interesting that instead of sounding like most would by saying WHAT they do or have done, these two wrote beautiful, thought-provoking prose about who they are. One comment that Amita wrote perfectly described how I thought about both Amita and Ciona for the evening. He wrote, “I take my sound from the soulful, the blues men, the oppressed, the rock gods, the literary giants, the advantageous seekers of truth, and those that burn with the illuminating stance of defiance.”

2- Pulling from lines that I heard both say and sing during their performances that really struck me to my core, I told the crowd how wonderful it would be if we all listened to Amita and Ciona’s words, by painting our hearts everywhere we go and signing those paintings, not by our names, but with the signature quote of “move together is the only way to move!”

 

I really have no more words of just how beautiful and soulful this show was on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 with Ciona Rouse and Amita Fukui. If you weren’t there, I feel sorry for you. Again, don’t miss on the next shows to come. But, if I can offer any consolation to those who missed or an extra reminder of a gift for those who did come that night, here is the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 44 to share with every single friend you have, on and off Facebook. Enjoy, over and over again.

https://soundcloud.com/eastsidestorytn/sets/east-side-storytellin-44-ciona

 

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

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

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

You can read more of Ciona Rouse’s work – http://www.thecrazything.com/pages/about-us

I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, for the recording and sound of the night, Clay Brunton for the amazing art print, for Kevin Anthuis 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.  Side note, much love for the nice lid I get to sport and look professional from my friend Otis James!

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/

The hardest working man at East Side Storytellin’

But we are not finished.

The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …
Date- Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)
Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)- http://maddonnas.com

With poet Leslie LaChance and music by Taylor Corum. It will be another transcendent, soulful night not to miss.

That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 44 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

One more for the road!

One more for the road!

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