Eddie 9V (9-Volt) is proud to announce that his new album, Little Black Flies, will be released via Ruf Records on May 28th.
All his life, Eddie has acted on instinct. At the tender age of 15, this old soul turned away from the age-old traditional path of school and jobs to attack his native Atlanta, Georgia’s blues club circuit. Flash forward to 2019, and for his debut album, Left My Soul in Memphis, the prodigious multi-instrumentalist simply powered up the amps in his mobile trailer and with his brother/co-writer/producer, Lane Kelly, laid down one of the year’s breakout releases. “Memphis was a total side project,” shrugs Eddie, “that ended up taking off.”
Little Black Flies is the 24-year-old’s most impulsive move to date. Tracked live in Atlanta’s Echo Deco Studios, with Lane once again turning the knobs. It’s an album that Eddie planned to feel like it’s unfolding right in front of you – right down to the clink of bottles and loose studio banter. “I’ve seen a trend in modern recording,” he says. “There’s no soul. I took inspiration from Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Mike Bloomfield. All those great records were done live with their buddies and no overdubs. I wanted the playing to be spot-on – but even if we made a mistake, we kept going.”
Born in June 1996 to a non-musical family living ten miles south of Atlanta, Eddie still remembers his fateful first guitar. “I was six, and it was one of those with the speaker in it – get the most bang for your buck, y’know?” he muses. While manufactured pop dominated the airwaves as he grew up, Eddie forked hard left, digging back into the catalogs of blues giants like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, and Rory Gallagher. “I studied the older cats,” he explains, “saw what made them groove and tick.” As for his freewheeling lyrics, Eddie credits his home life, “I’ve been making words up on the spot for years – my Uncle Brian taught me how to do that at our family fish fries. How to make people laugh, how to hold an audience’s attention.”
Eddie still recalls the frustration of watching local musicians load into the fabled clubs of Atlanta. “My first heroes were the local legends like Sean Costello, but I was too young to go see them,” he remembers. When he finally made it inside, it was as a performer, learning his craft at the sharp end, and at precocious speed, with early vehicles like the cover band The Smokin’ Frogs and its maturing blues-rock offshoot, The Georgia Flood. “My first step in being a professional musician was learning how to accept failure,” says Eddie. “As a nobody, the music business is a dartboard. You just hope something sticks.”
In 2013 – and before Eddie had even graduated high school – The Georgia Flood represented the Atlanta Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. That band spilled over into the indie-rock PREACHERVAN, but perhaps the pivotal moment came in 2019 when he dropped his name – Brooks Mason – and adopted the Eddie 9V moniker for his solo work.
Since that rebirth, he’s not only pricked up the ears of the music press, but earned a respect on the scene that made it easy to recruit local heroes for the Little Black Flies sessions. “Every player is the best of their craft,” says Eddie of his studio band, “and that’s why I picked ’em. We had the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s bass player Brandon Boone and Cody Matlock, on guitar. Everybody’s mood was so exciting. The energy was there.”
This record catches everything that went down at a session that felt more like a party, as Eddie leads the line-up through nine new songs – plus three classic covers – that retool the soul-blues genre on his own terms, reminding a new generation why this music hits so hard. Horns blast, drums rattle, slide guitars howl and at the heart of it all is Eddie’s stinging guitar and unmistakable vocal, the bandleader thrilling us one minute with his soul-man holler, then spinning story songs like he’s sat on the next barstool. “The title track,” he explains, “was a narrative about me being in love with the girl in the apartment upstairs, who was being abused
, and wanting to do something about it. “3 AM In Chicago” is about America’s unfairness between race and income levels, but also wanting to improve on the situation. “Puttin’ The Kids To Bed” was a total ‘let’s hurry this up and get down to business’ song.”
With Little Black Flies, there’s a sense of an artist coming full circle, and at the same time coming of age, the kid who once loitered outside the clubs of Atlanta now leading some of Georgia’s greatest players into the studio. Indeed, these recordings gave much-needed catharsis to the musicians who created them. But perhaps Eddie’s ultimate aim is to pass that spirit on to everyone who hears the record. “It makes my day to please someone after they work all day,” he says. “My job is to make them smile and let the music make them forget – or remember.”