Blind Singer Joe’s Blues
"An extraordinary book, a chronicle of a past world brought passionately to life."            
                          --Cary Holladay
"Nobody in the world writes as well about music as Robert Love Taylor."                                                                                                                  
                                                                  --Lee Smith
"A penetrating, pitch-perfect tale of the flinty, upland South, an impeccably authentic East Tennessee serenade."                         
                        --T. R. Pearson
Hannah Ruth Bayless has a gift:  she can sing.  A woman of her time and place--early twentieth-century Appalachia--she has many other conflicting claims, chief of which are a handsome but unknowable husband and a blind son.  Her story unfolds at a time when radio and the recording industry were discovering a rich source of music in the southern mountains.  The music itself, the old ballads and fiddle tunes played for generations, was, like Hannah Ruth, her fiddling partner Pink Miracle, and eventually her son Singer Joe, shaped and reshaped, influenced by the growing exposure to rural and urban blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, popular, and even classical music.  The musicians themselves are constantly shaped by their relation not only to their music but to other people, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, lovers.  Living in a dazzling and sometimes frightening present, they are chased by a shimmering and seductive past.
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Robert Love Taylor grew up in Oklahoma City and now lives in Independence, Virginia.  He received his BA from the University of Oklahoma, his PhD from Ohio University.  For over three decades he taught creative writing and Appalachian literature at Bucknell University, where he also served as chairman of the English department.  His fiction has appeared in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Hudson Review, Southwest Review, Iowa Review, Shenandoah, Cimarron Review, and many other distinguished literary journals, as well as in Best American Short Stories, the O.Henry Awards, Pushcart Prize, New Stories from the South, and other anthologies.  The author of five books, he received the Oklahoma Book Award for his novel The Lost Sister.  
A Novel about Families and Music