David Wesley Williams
David Wesley Williams is the sports editor at the Commercial Appeal in Memphis. His fiction has appeared in Harper Perennial’s Fifty-Two Stories, The Pinch, The Common and Night Train. Williams attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2010 where he studied under Padgett Powell. Long Gone Daddies is his debut novel.
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Long Gone Daddies: A Novel
Some nights, we have the road to ourselves and the radio sings only for us. We play our shows and tear-ass out. Tonight, it was this little dive bar in a town we took to calling East Motherless. But we play, no matter. We rock and then we roll. The soundcheck and the fury, the power chord and the glory. Then we load our gear into a muddy-brown Merc with a little trailer behind, and we're off. Slinging gravel, filling sky with road.
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 cursed 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—except his rounder’s ways got him shot before he could strike that first note for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. At least that’s what Luther's father—Malcolm's son—always told him before he made like smoke when fame came calling and disappeared down South, too.
As Luther discovers the truth about the two generations of musicians that came before him, he must face the ghosts of history, the temptations of the road and the fame cravings of a seriously treacherous woman named Delia, who, as it turns out, can sing like an angel forsaken.
Long Gone Daddies is lyrically written but accessible as a hook-filled favorite song and proves that the people who struggle the most are invariably the most interesting and noble whether they succeed or not.
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