Zach Ryan

Tom Eizonas, Nick Rossi, Zach Ryan, and Chuck Beard

Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU. Hello Again! Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. Let me be the first to officially, whole-heartedly welcome you to the 111th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 110, I repeat … 110, previous shows East Side Story has put together, we all decided to take a break from our busy schedules all over town in order to sit back and relax and get everyone cultured up just right in the form of a Nashville writer reading from original prose, followed by an amazing local musician performing and talking about their original music, and then a round-up creative conversation with all featured guests of this event to talk about their individual journeys and personal ties to Nashville. Without further ado, fulfilling the entertainment portion of your day, this is East Side Storytellin’ 111. Let us begin, again.

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

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

photo by Chance Chambers

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

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

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

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

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

photo by Chance Chambers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our next show will be

East Side Storytellin’ 112

Tuesday, August 1st

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Eric Benick

singing- Kira Hooks

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

Much love,

mE

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Tom Eizonas, Lance Umenhofer, Dylan Lancaster, 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 110th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 109, I repeat … 109, 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’ 110. Let us begin, again.

Our first featured artist of the evening is such a regenerate. In fact, he’s such a regenerate, he started his own club called The Regenerates. He not only started that, but he also started a publishing company called April Gloaming Publishing. To be such a liberator, it is shocking to find out that he is so enslaved to the written word. During the day he sits at his computer and reads submissions and plots the next moves for April Gloaming Publishing. But, during the night, he is like a pseudo-Batman, patrolling the streets of Nashville talking and friending writers and artists alike, but not in a creepy way. Aside from other day jobs and awesome things ahead, this guy spends most of his days helping himself and others to have fun and take names. Author of And the Soft Wind Blows, the entire room joined me in giving a huge round of applause for the one and only Lance Umenhofer.

Lance calmly strutted to the podium and embarked on a creative reading and journey through a new story based in letters written by a fictional character abbreviated to HRC and his journal while fighting the war in Vietnam. It was gritty, intense, passionate, ugly, bloody, violent, maddening, vivid, colorful, and everything you’d ever expected to experience when hearing something set in the war backdrop of Vietnam. Lance did it all with a stern, straight face, an immense respect for the battle and all those who fought in it, and the whole thing just came across as something majestic, powerful, transcendent, and very relevant to the day and time he read it (the day after July 4th).

Lance did not preface the reading much before everyone filling in the seats about it being a tale about Vietnam. One of my friends who happened to have served during that time and was present for the entire reading later told me that he would have waited a bit before coming in the show if he had known beforehand. That wasn’t a diss to the reading, but actually quite the compliment when the friend stayed and paid attention to the entire set. Also, the day before the reading, I had dinner with a family friend who I never knew served our country during that same time until he flooded me with personal accounts of his experience with Vietnam over the course of a home-cooked meal. I listened with open ears, heart, and mind as this friend shared stories that his wife said he never mentioned before even to her. I distinctly remember asking myself why I was the person sitting there to be lucky enough for someone to share such personal things that obviously needed to be let go in the public. Fast forward to one day later and I was ready and fully prepared to totally take in Lance’s prose about gluttony and appreciate it in all its wonder. Now that I have prefaced you to the reading and recording, I beg that you give Lance’s words and fascinating story similar time and respect. It is well worth your experience.

Now, our featured music of the night is someone who, simply put, writes songs. His songs remind you that rock is, at its most pure and basic, just a person and a guitar, a story and some questions. I first met him while I was cutting East Side Storytellin’s teeth at the place formerly known as Mad Donna’s, RIP. Cutting his teeth in Kalamazoo, he played in country-rock bands alongside local punk outfits, listening to Springsteen records on repeat and living across from a graveyard. I too lived across from a graveyard at one point, but that was neither here nor there. This guy pens and sings songs that sound like elegies of his past self. His recent debut is a patchwork of 1960’s American poetry mixed with sharp guitar licks and faded record store finds. I once knew him as a thoughtful server and, much is the case for most servers in Nashville, I was honored to know him as an artist and introduce him to others on our show. I’m talking about the very talented Dylan Lancaster.

Dylan, like Lance, slowly approached the microphone and jumped right into his set like you do. He admitted that he was a little bit jittery because he had changed his normal gig routine from drinking a few beers to appropriately drinking a wee bit much of coffee at the establishment at hand. It may have given him jitters on the inside and out, but we couldn’t tell any difference in play because it was spectacular. Dylan is someone with a similar literature and music background that you find in most of the prolific Nashville musicians you already know and love. His sense of storytelling and craft in the lyrics is just as important as choosing the melodies that move your feet. Whether it was a song about Beaver Island (the King of Beaver Island actually), a time when his car broke down in Southern Indiana, or a solid advert telling others it’s not very cool to drink and drive, each song is a short story that takes you on just as many ups as downs in between.

Dylan likes to label his music and himself as a sad bastard type. I didn’t hear as much as I heard a new genre called country punk. You see, Dylan came from a Michigan scene where punk was just as prevalent as country is to Nashville. In my opinion, Dylan is the perfect pairing of both combined. I personally can’t wait to see Dylan play again and with a band of friends around him to elevate his lyrics and melodies even more than by himself. He may sing about some times that he can’t win, but I beg to write you now and say that we’re all winning because Dylan is writing and and playing his art his own way. And no, I’m not making a cut from Dylan’s record sales, if you’re wondering. I honestly believe he is on to something really special with what he has going on.

That said, I think that this pairing of Lance and Dylan is, as Lance would say it this night and I say it almost every show, serendipitous. These two guys know pretty much every good artist in the city on a friend level, and they both do pretty much everything and anything they can dream and think up in every creative scene imaginable. They are both just at the beginning stages of their works, with the effort, audience, and promise that the good stuff they are making now will only get better the more they share it (and that says a lot considering how good they are now). They are both humble and givers to the creative community-at-large, and I am honored to call them both friends. You can hear how honest and articulate and sharing they are if you take a few minutes to listen to the conversation we had together in the recording. Again, it is well worth your experience. I’ll stop beating around the bush with praises and words. Just listen to the damn recording.

So, here it is … the edited recording of East Side Storytellin’ 110. It was an extraordinary snapshot of Nashville and America today (July 5, 2017) recorded at The Post East for a packed house of awesome people. Feel free to listen to this link and share this post over and over again with everyone you know. Thank you in advance.

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

You can read more of Lance’s writing here –  www.aprilgloaming.com

You can listen to more of Dylan’s music here – www.dylanjameslancaster.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 love to give another big shout out for the very talented photographer and friend David Robert Farmerie. A man who just gets it, and he captures the most beautiful pictures of artists that I’ve ever seen = fact.

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to give one last shout out to Tonya and Chris and the rest of the staff at The Post 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’ 111

Tuesday, July 18th

at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street) at 7pm

reading- Nick Rossi

singing- Zach Ryan

That said, that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 110 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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