ALBUM OF THE MONTH – MAY 2021
(5 / 5)
At last….a guitarist treading his own path in riffs and phrasing, and not adding to the pile of tired copycats who “borrow” from all and sundry – especially in the blues world where most of it is actually rock with a 12-bar track thrown in as an afterthought.
A new name to me/all of us at Music Republic Magazine, but I am certainly very pleased to have made the acquaintance of this exciting young (24) artist and this breath of fresh air 12-track album.
This US singer, guitarist and songwriter from Atlanta kept it in the family when choosing a producer; with his brother Lane Kelly taking charge of the project at a studio in Atlanta. It’s soaked with soul and r&b, and nods to some of the greats of those genres, but Eddie is definitely doing his own thing here.
Some may hear this as a retro sound. Me? I hear it as an antidote to the mediocre coming off the conveyor belt lately and slapped with a “Blues” label by the marketing bods and record company suits.
At 15, Eddie quit college to hone his craft on the Georgia blues club circuit. Not until 2019 did he release a debut long player, “Left My Soul In Memphis”, an album recorded in his mobile trailer and again with his kid brother steering the project as producer and co-writer.
The new album, “Little Black Flies”, assembles some of the top players in the State, such as rhythm guitarist Cody Matlock, Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Brandon Boone on bass, also Lane Kelly and Marvin Mahanay on bass, Chad Mason on organ and Fender Rhodes, Aaron Hambrick on drums, Jackson Allen on harmonica, Sam Nelson on alto and tenor sax’ and Mandi Strachota on backing vocals.
It’s a solid as granite line-up and the chemistry is palpable. You can hear the respectful tip of the hat to the likes of Albert King (string bends), Albert Collins (the attack) and maybe Otis Rush and Mike Bloomfield. But the inspiration Eddie took from those cats was not “let me copy their licks”, but more so about the soul that marinated those guys recordings.
The lack of clinical and sterile studio environments those originators worked with, which had a major effect on the end result of their records. If you told me this was cut in the 50s or 60s in Chicago or New York, I’d believe it. All about the feel…All cut live and no overdubs.
When a six-year-old Eddie got his first guitar – it had a speaker built in! – within a non-musical family, and then as he came up through High School, Eddie veered away from education and soaked up the music his brother Lane and his pals were into.
Digging into the back catalogue of Muddy, Wolf, Freddie King and Rory Gallagher. That was his study; finding out what made those legendary bluesmen “groove and tick”. At his family fish fries, Eddie took “lessons” from his Uncle Brian on how to make up words on the spot, how to make folk laugh and hold an audience’s attention.
He craved to go see local hero Sean Costello play his local clubs, but was too young to be allowed in. When he eventually got inside, it was on stage as a young performer with covers bands and a blues outfit. He learned not only his chops, but how to ride the hard knocks and rejection that comes with the territory as a pro’ musician.
In 2013 when Eddie was 17, his band The Georgia Flood, represented the Atlanta Blues Society in the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He then formed an indie rock band and in 2019, dropped his birth name of Brooks Mason and adopted the moniker of Eddie 9V for his work.
Nine new songs and three covers here, that all have a solid core of soul – with blues as the icing on the cake. The horns, the slide guitars and Eddie’s commanding vocal skills all deliver something a bit special. But his guitar work is sizzling. Really is. Light and shade with the versatile material, and I will say now that all dozen songs are strong and well crafted pieces of songwriting. And these songs fit this guy like a glove.
The whole thing has real spirit and excitement…Eddie plays and sings like this is his calling and what he was put on this earth to do. A name to watch out for in the next few years, for sure…. as a recording artist and I am sure; as a sought-after live performer around the world. NOTE: UK and European festivals should book this guy soon…
By Jay J.
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’