I’m always heartened to hear from people who still remember my original creation, Nick Travers. The star of my first four novels, Nick was unlikely hero — a New Orleans hipster music researcher who’d rather listen to a classic blues show, drinks a few Dixies, and sleeps in. He had also been a professional football player and was pretty good with his fists. But it took some prying to get Nick out of his comfortable NOLA groove.
So I’m always pleased when people ask me about what Nick has been up to since Dirty South. Will he make an appearance in The Ranger books? What happened to Nick after Katrina? Well, I honestly have no answers for those questions. But you will be pleased to know I can absolutely be certain what Nick would be reading right now — The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘N’ Roll.
A new book from Memphis author/journalist Preston Lauterbach takes on the fascinating, gritty all-too-true world of the old Chitlin’ Circuit. For those of you who don’t know, the Chitlin’ Circuit was the road through a string of Southern music clubs in all-black neighborhoods. A lot of great acts got their start playing these clubs like Sam & Dave and many great acts were only known to the black audience of that time.
In the forties, many of these acts gave roots to the sound that became rock ‘n roll.
The Washington Post says: Mr. Lauterbach uncovers a story as sensational as any day-glo circuit-show poster, featuring “the numbers racket, hair straighteners, multiple murders, human catastrophe, commercial sex, bootlegging, international scandal, female impersonation, and a real female who could screw a light bulb into herself—and turn it on.” READ ENTIRE PIECE
That’s like baiting a trap for Nick Travers. An all-too fascinating subject in the hands of a terrific storyteller. Hope you’ll join Nick in picking up one of the summer’s best books.