Among the most pleasant of surprises to cross our desk in 2019 was the debut release from a young Georgia bluesman who goes by the name of Eddie 9V. Don’t let his mere 23 years of age fool you: this guy has a sound much deeper than his days on this earth, delivering greasy, soulful blues numbers that combine riffs like those of his idol Freddie King with styles that range from Eric Lindell, JJ Grey and the late Sean Costello to fellow rising artists Kelly Finnigan and Big Jon Atkinson to Junior Parker, Magic Sam, John Nemeth and blues-rockers like the North Mississippi Allstars and MonkeyJunk.
Except for the keyboards, Eddie handled all of the instruments on Left My Soul in Memphis himself, also using vintage recording techniques to capture a raw, unedited 50s and 60s sound that will impress fans of traditional and contemporary blues/soul alike. From the slick, horn-soaked cover of the blues classic “Look Over Yonder Wall” that opens the album and 9V dedicates to Freddie King and shuffling soul-blues grooves of “36th & Main”, to slow numbers like the piano-laced “Bottle and the Blues” and the gritty swaying R&B/soul of “Lo-Fi Love”, to more uptempo and funky tracks such as “Don’t Test Me” and “New Orleans”, everything here is deep grooved and genuine, loaded with stinging guitar and vocals that are surprisingly diverse and mature for his age and that occasionally venture into the falsetto.
Also particularly worth noting are the groovy title track with its airy instrumentation (and that shows 9V still possesses plenty of soul, regardless of what he may think he left in Memphis), a tough, early Rolling Stones-ish/”I Pity the Fool”-like “Woke Up Sweatin'” and the closing, slightly rocking “1945 (Cocaine and Rum)” that sounds like something you’d get if you crossed John Lee Hooker with Canadian blues-rockers MonkeyJunk.
You can hear tape clicks and various other flaws and noises throughout the nearly dozen tracks, something 9V readily acknowledges in the album’s press materials: “There are mistakes, there’s feedback, but I’m damn sure not gonna change it.” Let’s hope that Eddie keeps that edge on his future recordings, with a live one in fact scheduled for taping this weekend at Blind Willie’s Blues Club in Atlanta, according to 9V’s Facebook page.
Just like a new battery, the gritty Left My Soul in Memphis provides a nice jolt of energy and freshness to the blues-soul scene, and is a sure contender for debut album of the year!