“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 [who] 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.” publisher weekly
The Blue Guitar (M)
by Ann Ireland
“At the International Classical Guitar Competition in Montreal, top-flight musicians fly in from all over the world to compete in a gruelling week. A career can be made or lost here, and the slightest mishap–a lapse of memory, a shaking right hand, a broken fingernail–can ruin years of preparation. More than a decade ago Toby made the finals in a similar competition but suffered a breakdown and is only now venturing back into the fray. Middle-aged Lucy is tired of playing bar mitzvahs and weddings and is determined to perform the recital of her life. Trace is a kayaking teenager from the West Coast who seems careless in her talent. Judges and contestants alike battle and scheme to achieve what they most desire here. There is much more than pretty music being performed on this stage.”- publisher
“Perfectly named, Gray explores the difficult transition into adulthood and the indelible mark a first love can leave. Drawing heavily from author Wentz’s own life, the novel tells the story of Pete, a musician in Chicago who leaves college early to pursue his passion for music. As his band begins to find acclaim, Pete struggles with his difficult relationship with his girlfriend, a woman he knows he loves. Gray does not provide easy answers. Pete openly struggles with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. He falls into negative behavior patterns, gets out, and then falls back into them again, ultimately attempting to take his own life. In raw and emotional prose, the first-person narrative puts the reader directly inside Pete’s mind and in the middle of his struggles to make sense of his relationship with his girlfriend, his blossoming stardom, and his feelings of loss and isolation. Fans of Wentz’s band, Fall Out Boy, as well as those who enjoyed Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (1995), will respond to this affecting read.” – Booklist
“Jimmy Rabbitte is back. The man who invented the Commitments back in the 1980s is now 47, with a loving wife, 4 kids… and bowel cancer. He isn’t dying, he thinks, but he might be. Jimmy still loves his music, and he still loves to hustle–his new thing is finding old bands and then finding the people who loved them enough to pay money online for their resurrected singles and albums. On his path through Dublin, between chemo and work he meets two of the Commitments–Outspan Foster, whose own illness is probably terminal, and Imelda Quirk, still as gorgeous as ever. He is reunited with his long-lost brother, Les, and learns to play the trumpet.” – publisher