All his life, Luther Gaunt has heard songs in his head songs of sweet evil and blue ruckus, odes to ghosts, drinking hymns. In search of his past, he hits the road with his band, the Long Gone Daddies, and his grandfather's guitar, Cassie.
While his band mates just want to make it big when they get to Memphis, Luther retraces the steps of his father and grandfather, who each made the same journey with the same guitar years earlier. Malcolm Gaunt could have been Elvis that white man who could sing black if he hadn't gotten himself shot by a vengeful husban
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-19
- Reviewer: Staff
This lyrical multigenerational musicians tale marks veteran newspaperman Williams’s impressive first novel. Luther Gaunt is the young front man and lyricist for the rock-’n’-roll band Long Gone Daddies, their name derived from an early Hank Williams song. Luther comes from a family of talented but frustrated musicians. His grandfather Malcolm, “a white man could sing black,” was fatally shot in a married woman’s bed, and his father, who took after his father when it came to women, stuck around just long enough to teach his son guitar chords. Inspired by his family’s colorful musical tradition, Luther views his destiny as making it big without losing his integrity and finds a willing ally when Delia Shook and her “endless legs” joins the band. A femme fatale fired with ambition, she seduces Luther, usurps control of Long Gone Daddies, and coerces Luther to write her the megahit song, “I Don’t Melt,” just in time for a transformative gig in Memphis. The historical backdrop, including a cameo by young Elvis as a busboy, adds delightful texture and rich depth to Williams’s fictional account of the early days of rock ’n’ roll. (Mar. 5)