JT Williams is passionate about one thing – playing guitar. Yet, as high school graduation nears, he's directionless and troubled, unable to envision a future in his small Central Oregon hometown. Unaided by his reserved father, Thomas, and inhibited by guilt for his mother’s early death, JT has failed to find the music to fill his soul.
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Then, Smokin’ Joe arrives—master of blues guitar and once close friend of JT’s parents. From the first chord struck, JT is captivated and strives to learn all he can from Smokin’ Joe—string bending and turnarounds, hammer-ons and fall-offs—and about Joyanne, the mother he never knew.
But, still bitter from the abrupt end to their Haight Ashbury friendship and the loss of his beloved Joyanne, Thomas rejects Smokin’ Joe. His anger forces JT to choose between loyalty to his father and the training only Smokin’ Joe can provide.
As emotional as the blues itself and compelling like a tricked-out riff, Smokin’ Joe follows JT as he bumbles through his first romance, copes with the increasingly strange behavior of his best friend, and confronts his father. The story crescendos when Joe is arrested for arson as JT and Thomas learn the truth about Joyanne.