Luther Gaunt lives his life on the road. Packed in a muddy brown van with his grandfather’s guitar, Cassie, he and his band mates are in pursuit of success. Searching for cold booze, crowded juke joints and material for their next song, the Long Gone Daddies waste no time hopping from town to town across the East coast. 

But this territory is familiar to Luther. His father and grandfather, John and Malcolm Gaunt, preceded him in this chaotic world: Both were musicians who were slaves to rock n’ roll, women and the open road. In the same circle as soon-to-be-legends like Elvis Presley, Malcolm Gaunt had the pipes, and the guts, to rise to the top. He was on the path to fame until temptation ruined him—and his chance to perform for an exec at Sun Records. He always looked for the next chance, the next feeling or the next adventure.

The novel ebbs and flows between past and present as Luther recalls dark memories of his family’s past. Trying to put the puzzle pieces together, he is plagued by his own father’s absence with each note he plays. He also remembers the tragic deaths of musicians before him, like Patsy Cline and Buddy Holly. What was it about fame that went hand-in-hand with sadness?

Unlike the band’s female counterpart, Delia, Luther isn’t seeking fame or fortune. From smoky dive bars to recording studios, he is chasing family ghosts, hopeful to unravel the secrets of the Gaunt men before him. When the Long Gone Daddies finally make it to Memphis, trust is broken and relationships are tested. Will Luther avoid the temptations of the road, or will his future be shaped by the ghosts of his past?

David Wesley William’s debut novel is heartfelt, full of musical history and honest characters. Just like a blues song, Long Gone Daddies is a lyrical and soulful story that will keep you hooked until the end.

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