Welcome to another wonderful collaboration between East Side Story and The Post. This is the recap and recording of the 64th epic edition of East Side Storytellin’! Like the 63 previous shows East Side Story has put together, this show contains 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’ 64. Let us begin, again.
The first featured guest of the night was a Southern Belle by birth and a New Englander by heart. Born and raised in Alabama (Roll Tide), she was first published in the Birmingham News at the age of 16. A graduate of The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Roll Tide) with a BA in Literature and Creative Writing, her work has appeared in a variety of literary journals beyond being published in the San Diego Poetry Annual, Torrid Literary Journal, and Steady Moon Press. Not only a poet, she had 3 plays performed at her alma mater (Roll Tide). Her poetry and prose concentrate on taking what the world sees as ugly and making it beautiful, giving a voice to the voiceless, an honest human connection. She is author of the chapbook titled Easter Shoes, a brilliant book that you can purchase at East Side Story. Everyone in the crowd gave a big Roll Tide welcome to the one and only Amanda Gayle Oliver Hendricks.
Amanda prefaced her poetry with a small true tale about killing some flies in her writing studio with her bare hands (with one finger actually). It was not a long story, but the emotions attached to it and relayed to the crowd were poignant and powerful and something out of the norm to feel close with without expecting it at all. That story pretty much set up the rest of Amanda’s poems that she shared with everyone. There were poems about Medusa, Tony the Nashville homeless man, camp boyfriends and birthdays, random adventures about becoming a woman on the go, a recipe for peace, and a killer poem that interwove the childhood song Ring Around the Rosie with original lines that were beautifully framed and delivered. But that’s what Amanda is all about = taking everything going on in her world at any given time and unveiling her creative interpretation of what she sees into something everyone can relate to regardless if they thought they would normally relate to it with Amanda’s help or not. Another great example was Amanda’s poem about the music and life and death of Selena Quintanilla (the singer portrayed in a so-so movie by Jenninfer Lopez before her first wave of plastic surgery). Everyone in the crowd was at home and in awe of the way Amanda took words like bitty bitty bum bum and moved them into something that we could all relate into our own daily lives. Amanda finished her performance after giving a delightful tale about a squirrel who eats green tomatoes and revealing the poison of acorns. It was filled with random elements but perfect timing, ideas, and a genius combination and curation of words. It was what Amanda does better than most. And then she was finished with her set.
The featured musician of the night was a Virginia native who has quickly made Nashville her home. Enamored with words and songs, she craftfully and carefully and constantly finds ways to beautifully blend her personal writing with her coy, dusky soprano voice across genres of folk, Americana, and alt-country. With original songs that wrap the truths of life up into personal vignettes of clever wordplay and catchy hooks, it was not a big surprise to many of her friends and fans when she won the grand prize for American Songwriter Magazine’s 2013 songwriter competition and also the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest songwriter competition later that same year. Beyond competitions, this artist is all about making great art. She is well-respected, followed by, and covered by many of her talented contemporaries near and far. She recently released her first full-length solo debut titled Somehow, which has been called both magical and meditative, basically a breath of fresh air. Again, everyone was up to giving another big round of applause to welcome the tremendously talented Caroline Spence.
Caroline mentiond after the show that while she was listening to Amanda’s poems that she felt some nerves in her stomach about going up on stage similarly to how she felt about sharing her own poetry and prose during college while studying literature. She didn’t talk about killing any flies, but she did jump right into singing an instant classic song about how trains cry such painful sounds. It was the coolest lonesome train song ever played at The Post. Basically, she kept the audience’s attention from Amanda’s prose and then raised her own bar with her guitar.
Caroline had a fun way of telling stories about her admiration for Buddy Miller’s songwriting and fateful shows that only take place in Nashville these days and how it all helps to let her know she is doing what she needs to be doing at exactly the right place and time she needs to be doing it = meaning her original songs. It was funny how she picked Buddy Miller as a personal example because he usually plays with Patty Griffin whenever the two of them are playing around town at the same time and Caroline had the tone of Patty with the perspective of her honest lyrics as well. Being that she is about 30 years younger, at least, than Patty Griffin, it gave people hope to think that everyone will have more than a handful more decades of being able to listen to and appreciate the stories yet to come from Caroline via her music.
Back to her music, Caroline sang stories about softball, told everyone about her making every word count in her songs (memories of past literature professor notes) and also never sticking to a set list once she gets started. The most powerful song was the last one, her ode to Buddy Miller’s classic style, called Mint Condition. You see, this song was written about all of the good things and people and times Caroline had in her 20’s instead of the stereotypical pondering just the mistakes or lessons learned after surviving that decade of life. One of the things she mentioned for inspiration was her grandparents’ love for each other.
In the end, Caroline and Amanda were a perfect match for a perfect night. Each of them talked about how they continue to learn and be inspired by great teachers, artists, and friends, all of which you can listen to below in the edited recording.
Now, here is the recording of East Side Storytellin’ 64. Please remember to share it with all of your friends and family after you listen to it over and over again.
You can read more about Amanda’s writing here- https://anythingbutsilent.wordpress.com
You can listen to more of Caroline’s music here- http://www.carolinespencemusic.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
The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …
East Side Storytellin’ 65
Tuesday, August 18th
7pm at The Post (1701 Fatherland Street)
reading- Nadia Bruce- Rawlings (www.facebook.com/NadiaBruceRawlingsWriter)
singing- Eryn McHugh (www.soundcloud.com/erynmchugh)
That said- that’s all for East Side Storytellin’ 64 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.