Hello everyone, and welcome to another great round of East Side Storytellin’. Similar to the 40, yes 40, 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. This is East Side Storytellin’ 41. Let us begin.
On Tuesday, July 15th, in the middle of a million and one writing assignments for Sewanee, I found the perfect combination of words, sounds, winds, sun, and friends to make my life perfect. All of those factors came together beyond my control, as most everything is in this life, but I was not alone in witnessing a calm and peace that is seldom seen or experienced in this city outside in July. By the end of this East Side Storytellin’, I wasn’t lying when I said the performance of the featured artists of the evening was better than church on Sunday. In fact, I would argue, if you want, that it was better than church any day of the week. These ladies were/are that good.
The first featured guest of the night was pretty amazing. Originally from Virginia, she was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, received her MA at the University of Colorado, Boulder, earned her PhD. in Creative Writing from the University of Denver, and is an associate professor of creating writing at Austin Peay State University (since 2007). She is the Nonfiction Editor of Zone 3 Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Brevity, DIAGRAM, Drunken Boat, Kenyon Review Online, Tupelo Quarterly, American Letters & Commentary, New Millennium Writing, and Quarterly West. She is spotlighted tonight because she’s the author of several chapbooks: Farm, There Are No New Ways To Kill A Man, The Garden Will Give You A Fat Lip (which won the 2012 Pavement Saw Chapbook Contest), and the latest titled Cracker crumbs in the bed, rhinestones. I was just one of the many people in the crowd that were ecstatic to listen to poetry by the one and only Amy Wright.
Amy, a teacher by trade, took the crowd to school. She shared insightful prose about bugs, house hunting, hunger, counter-culture crackerisms & home in Virginia, and life in general. She didn’t have any musical instruments playing in the background as she read her poems, but the wind blew through and moved the bamboo on the other side of the fence, swaying to and fro with the tempo of the words. The sun, after melting us for weeks, chilled out, took mercy on us, and the cool air also helped elevate Amy’s poignant, hot poems above the chill crowd. Is that poetic enough to describe the climate that Amy brought to the party on July 15th? It was a lot of fun. People poured into the patio the entire time she was talking.
Then, the second featured guest of the show was also from Virginia. It always happens once a year so far that we have an all Virginia show. She was another one of those talented people that I first met when they showed up at my front doorsteps, not at the bookstore but at my house. She is friends with East Side Storytellin’ alumnus The Rough & Tumble, and came with them to play a very cool show in my house. We changed our dining room into quite the music room that night and had several groups perform. This lady played alongside another East Side Storytellin’ alumnus in Adam Hill, after rocking Eastside Avenue with her former band called Twain Blue. When not playing amazing music in a house near you, you might have seen her at Dose Coffee and Tea or The National Underground Nashville, living out her Music City dream while paying the bills and dues like many under appreciated talented musicians in town. She’s americana that flirts with the blues. She is a brilliant musician on the rise, deserving of being on the radio worldwide and billboards too. The featured musician of this show was Sara Marie Thompson.
Sara, not one to steal the limelight, brought along two very talented musicians in Becca Mancari and Ian Ferguson. Again, I can’t say enough how cool this event was for me. I had a front row seat to amazing. Ian played the guitar with ease, Becca backed Sara’s vocals like a charm, and Sara sang and played with a conviction well beyond her years. At one point, after listening to the recording on Tom’s headphones, I leaned over and told him that it sounded like a stripped down female version of The Allman Brothers Band. Yes, it was that good. Amazing is a strong word, and I may say it on here a lot, but I only say it when I feel it. When Sara and her friends were playing on the patio that night, I was feeling it. And, I was far from being alone. I heard people clap in between and during the songs, throwing their hands in the air at times to testify the goodness of the experience at hand. It was really something to witness.
After the music stopped, I had Amy return to the stage, partly because I didn’t want to get on the microphone after the awesome sounds that the musicians made and partly because I knew several other fans of Amy strolled in a few minutes before she finished her initial set. It was the least the show could do, asking her to come on stage again and breaking precedence. This was a special night all around.
I managed to get a few more words out of Sara and Amy together, helping them share more plugs about their projects, processes, and wise words from their own experiences for the past, present, and future. You can here all of that jazz below, and I highly suggest you take the time to listen to these ladies. They are well worth your time. Trust mE.
Well, if you weren’t there with us for the live show, lucky for you we recorded it right here. Feel free to listen to it over and over and over again and share it with your friends, family, and little dog too. This show gets down to the heart of what I’m trying to do with this show and experience. Enjoy!
Before I say goodbye for this round of fun, I’d like to give a big round of thanks for Amy Wright and Sara Marie Thompson (and Becca Mancari & Ian Ferguson)for sharing their stories, talents, and time with us.
You can read more from Amy Wright- http://www.apsu.edu/zone3
You can listen to more of Sara Marie Thompson – http://slateandsable.blogspot.com/
I’ll keep the gratitude going for Tom Eizonas, for the recording and sound of the night, Clay Brunton for the 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.
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/
But we are not finished.
The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …
Date- Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)
Location- Mad Donna’s (1313 Woodland Street)- http://maddonnas.com
That’s all for the East Side Storytellin’ 41 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.