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The Psalmist by [Akley, Jason]
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The Psalmist Kindle Edition

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Length: 639 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

He knew it was poison, but he drank it anyways... That's what they say about Robert Johnson. He sang the Blues. And what if he was like King David in the bible (a singer of the Blues in his own right)--what if his heart was right with God, but he sold his soul to the Devil?

This is what I explored in The Psalmist. It is written as a biography of a blues musician with hints to the life of King David and Robert Johnson. The Psalmist is lengthy, but the story is carefully structured--33 chapters separated into five books to correlate to the book of Psalms and its relation to the Pentateuch. I hope it piques your interest.


A sprawling novel detailing the life of a 20th-century blues musician.

Akley’s lengthy fiction debut tells the story of a blues musician named David Threnody, who was “born in an apartment above a pawn shop on 129 N 8th Street in East St. Louis, Illinois…in winter, the 28th of February 1918.” Akley uses a
variety of techniques—including journal entries and a long stretch of prose structured as a stage play—to first outline the lives of David’s parents and then to tell David’s own life from his childhood to his slow, spotty entrance onto the music
scene in New Orleans and its environs. “Remember laughter is a tool like anything else,” David’s mother writes. “It’s a tool for Hope.” Yet there’s barely any humor in this long book and virtually no hope, either. Instead, through the viewpoints of a handful of characters but always returning to center on David, Akley takes readers through the ups and downs of David’s life, his music, his problems with the law, and his struggles with drugs and alcohol. David’s morose and brooding nature governs the story, seen most directly in excerpts from his own journals: “No good habits come from idle time. Bodies just rot that way.” Through the long, complicated stories of David’s love life and tense family relationships, Akley shapes a narrative of a down-and-out bluesman who grows into a kind of hard-won wisdom. “He
was kind of a preacher you know,” one character says of him. “And his songs were laments. Like it was all vanity to him. A striving after the wind.” Akley consistently displays great skill in both moving the story briskly along despite its great length and in controlling the tempo, sometimes speeding it up and peppering it with tragedies or sometimes slowing it down and filling it with memorable philosophical observations: “Truth is memory when you’re sad.” “It’s the present moment when you’re happy.” A sordid, off-tempo ending adds extra resonance to the story of David’s bleak but fascinating life.

An absorbing artist’s story with a similar structure but darker tone than Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961).

Check out the author's blog:

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1708 KB
  • Print Length: 639 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa70bfa8c) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6d3c63c) out of 5 stars Quite the book! April 13 2014
By Jay Mittener - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Jason Akley is an extremely engaging writer who knows how to keep a reader's attention and reward them with a great story.

The book follows the life and career of Blues singer David Threnody and spans 33 chapters and three different books within this book. Do not let the numbers daunt you because you'll never feel like you've undertaken too much. The story is wonderful and reading is never a burden.

What I love most about this book and this insight into the life is a musician is that their lives are no different than ours. We often hold people with great talent above others and we seek to unravel and solve the mystery of their charmed existence when the fact is simply that musicians are people just like us who have struggles, overcome adversity, and fight to use their gifts.

Akley has done a great job in this story and I've really learned a lot about the Blues! I may look for more reads like this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6d95f30) out of 5 stars Music for the soul May 22 2014
By Chelsey McQuitty - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my second book by Akley and I am still quite impressed by his writing style. A lot of novels of this length can be intimidating and sometimes get rather tedious. With the Psalmist you pretty much stay engaged with the character throughout the book. The words flow beautifully and at the time you really do believe you can hear some blues playing in the background. I loved the dynamic characters and the fact that Akley set the tone of struggle even before Threnody was born.

Akley does a great job of making Bible references in the book without it getting too off topic. The comparison flows gently and allows you to see Threnody as his own individual self while still adding the wisdom of centuries. There's so many beautiful lines in the novel that I'm sure Akley's quotes will soon be seen all over the place. This novel isn't just about music, but in a way it is music and I'd recommend it to anyone.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa74a8668) out of 5 stars Unique story of a blues musician. May 15 2014
By heather - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jason Akley is truly a talented author. The Psalmist is a wonderful journey about the life of Blues musician David Threnody.It begins at the start of his life in the early 1900's till the end of his life. The book gives graphic details and will take you on a emotional journey as the musician struggles with his life, music, and beliefs. The book details his life in the army, records, drugs,divorce,affair,New Orleans,and lives struggles. No doubt his struggles in life made his music what it was. The Psalmist is a long walk through the life of the hard life of a blues musician, but one that is well worth reading. I enjoy Jason Akley's writing style and his books are well written.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa72694b0) out of 5 stars Beautifully Written April 29 2014
By Kristina Carlsen - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The Psalmist is a beautiful biography of a blues musician, David Threnody. The book starts at the beginnings of Threnody’s life and weaves itself through the ups and downs of his success. At the beginning the book paints a surreal picture of the hatred that existed in the early 1900s. The story continues from there.

This book is expertly written. The words flow over you and it’s like reading water. It’s beautiful. If you weren’t a fan of blues music before reading this book, you will be after. It’s just a gorgeously written story, even though the story isn’t all happy.

I would recommend this book to lovers of good music, and lovers of good writing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7443dc4) out of 5 stars Music and Poetry In A Memoir Of Blues May 16 2014
By Rose Lynn - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An engaging enchanting author pulls you into the life of a muscian. You can hear the music play as the words dance across the page. 30 years travel the pages and Akley captures them in his usual grace and style. You can see the very essence of the story in every sentance he writes. I love the combination of writing in this story to pull it all together. You get the real gritty side of life from the included journal entries as well. Excellent story, very well written, very enjoyable.