A young man on a mission. An aging musician with a dream. Society perched over a racial divide.
It’s the 1960s, and nothing reflects the cultural revolution more than music. When Kennedy Barnes, a runaway teen, stumbles upon a rock and roll song recorded by a blues musician in the 1930s, he heads west in search of the man behind the music.
Willie Johnson, ex-bluesman, is a motel laundry worker with a bad hip and a dark past. When Kennedy arrives with the promise of riches, Willie wonders if he’s finally getting his shot at the big time. But is fame worth the cost of dredging up past sorrows?
Sins in Blue is a novel about lost dreams, crippling grief, and the healing power of an unlikely friendship.
A Note From the Publisher
“An engaging tale about two music lovers trying to set the historical record straight.” –Kirkus Reviews
From the award-winning author of The Fat Lady’s Low, Sad Song, named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018
Average rating from 5 members
I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. "Kennedy Barnes, a runaway teen, stumbles upon a rock and roll song recorded by a blues musician in the 1930s. Willie Johnson, ex-bluesman, is a motel laundry worker with a bad hip and a dark past." Good story. 3.25☆
Brian Kaufman's latest novel, Sins in Blue, is the story of two lost souls, Kennedy Barnes, a runaway teen with big dreams and a love for blues music, and Willie Johnson, a broken down ex-blues man whose dreams have long since died. Reading this book is like sitting inside a blues club sipping a cold one, your eyes closed as you get lost in the music. The story reaches out and grabs you when you least expect it. You find yourself marveling at the carefully drawn characters, especially Willie, who never seems to fit in through no fault of his own. Kaufman addresses some difficult topics such as racial diversity in a way that stays with you long after you've finished reading. Kaufman's love for the blues is clearly evident and this enriches the reading experience. This is a book for anyone who believes in dreams and second chances, and I recommend it without reservation.
“Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable,” said Janis Joplin. Sins in Blue is a story of an unhappy bluesman who is rediscovered by a young college student trying to revive his career. Willie Johnson is a poor white blues guitarist who grew up during the Depression and lives with regrets from long ago. Into his life comes a teenage kid from Pittsburgh named Kennedy who is infatuated with the blues. He hears a 1930s recording of Willie and decides to go to Fort Collins, Colorado, to become his manager and persuade him to perform at the Newport Folk Festival. While their age differences clash, they start questioning each other’s dreams and regrets. <BR> The story shifts back and forth between the Depression-era that the bluesman grew up in, to the current 1969, with the change in American values on race and music. The days of prohibition are long gone but the author provides visual stories of how difficult it was to pursue a musical career during that time. I was also fascinated with learning about racial tensions at nightclubs. Remember, this was before the recording industry took off. The author also makes you care for the two characters. The conversations are heartwarming and yet heartbreaking. It’s like your long-lost cousin comes into town and you start out painting a rosy picture that soon turns into faded. I was completely absorbed throughout the entire book. This is not only because it is well-written, but also because it accentuates the cultural differences throughout history. (This book was reviewed by Don Jung and will be posted on www.underratedreads.com on the release date.)
Brian Kaufman's Sins in Blue is about a young man who wants to make his name as a music manager by representing a blues guitarist he thinks is better than anyone in the world. Trouble is, the musician is old and white and has failed to make it in a world dominated by African-Americans. It's a nice twist on the cultural appropriation theme set long before anyone coined the term. This very well-written novel will touch your heart as it follows young Kennedy Barnes on his mission to revive the music of Willie Johnson, a down-on-his-luck motel worker with a rough past.
Beautiful writing with clues strewn throughout about this young man’s passion, and the inner workings of the older musician.’s life and talent. The young man quits home on a dream and the older man works it in the real world as Hôtel launderer. They meet and we hear Willie’s past and it spans the American era of economic hardship for one thing. Very impressive ...