Eddie 9V Finds His Soul at Blind Willie’s

The Georgia Flood were a blues-rock band that played around the region for a few years in the mid ‘00s, anchored by brothers Brooks Mason (guitar, vocals) and Lane Kelly (bass, vocals), grads of Oak Grove High School in McDonough. An outgrowth of their teenage classic rock cover band The Smokin Frogs, the strikingly gifted Georgia Flood represented the Atlanta Blues Society in the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis before Brooks had even been handed his high school diploma.

The Georgia Flood seemed to have petered out by the end of 2018, as the members devoted more attention to their groove-rock/alt-pop band PREACHERVAN, who flirted with scoring a breakthrough track three years ago with “Whistle King.” With generous dollops of soul and electronic elements injected into the mix, it’s a song that, given enough promotional muscle behind it, could’ve been a hit. It still could still be, for that matter, as the band remains a quite active concern, releasing new tracks regularly.

But Brooks is a blues lover at heart (Mike Bloomfield, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and Atlanta’s much-missed Sean Costello are among his favorites) and a little over a year ago he reemerged under the new moniker Eddie 9V. Aside from keyboards, Brooks recorded all the instruments on Eddie 9V’s debut studio album (last October’s raw and terrific Left My Soul in Memphis, actually mostly recorded in brother Lane’s bedroom) himself. The live band, which is basically PREACHERVAN – Lane on bass and Colin Dean on drums, augmented by Jackson Allen on harmonica and Chad Mason on keys – fills out the sound without sacrificing the essence at the core, as evidenced on the brand new CD Way Down The Alley (Live at Blind Willie’s), recorded in January at the longstanding Va-Hi blues joint.

More than most any blues revivalists (or continuists) that I hear, these guys capture the greasy, gnarly, grimy stank of vintage urban electric blues. Their other endeavors notwithstanding, when Brooks and co. plug in and play the blues they are purists, with no attempt whatsoever to modernize the sound. That said, they’re not simply rehashing the past – nearly all of the songs on Way Down the Alley are originals, with most coming from Left My Soul in Memphis. The songs are superior, the entire band shines, but Mason’s blistering mastery of the guitar is the slam dunk that catapults Eddie 9V into the winner’s circle. It’s not that the 24-year-old is destined to become Atlanta’s next blues guitar king. It’s that he already is.

As we finally start welcoming the return of live music in Atlanta, Eddie 9V will play a free show at Blind Willie’s this Friday, June 12th. You’ve been going stir crazy, chomping at the bit to get outta the house and drink and dance and soak in that rejuvenating rush of a great band playing right in your face, yeah? Well here ya go.