Lay Down Your Weary Tune

W. B. Belcher. Other Press, $17.95 ISBN 978-1-59051-746-8
Belcher’s debut novel is an adeptly written, richly textured novel about folk music. Thirty-year-old Jack Wyeth, a part-time folk singer and freelance music journalist, needs work. So he agrees to ghostwrite the memoir of Eli Page, a legendary folksinger and contemporary of Bob Dylan. Working as a stagehand, Jack first met Eli in 2001, when he gave a performance and advised the young Jack to “make sure what you’re doin’ means somethin.” Jack drives to Eli’s farm in Galesville, a rustic village on the New York–Vermont border, where the curmudgeonly recluse Eli lives with his dog, Tig. Jack soon learns that his music idol won’t be an easy or accommodating subject. In the meantime, he strikes up a romance with local artist Jenny Lee Flynn. While staying at Eli’s farm, Jack does some sleuthing and uncovers mysterious figures from Eli’s checkered past, including someone known only as H.M., with whom he had a doomed love affair. Some brushes with the law make matters all the messier. Belcher brings the folk music scene to life, but best of all is his ability to craft a cast of memorable characters. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/05/2015
Release date: 01/26/2016
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