By Geoff Slade
By the end of their set opening for Sister Hazel this Fri. April 22 at Variety Playhouse, Atlanta band The Georgia Flood will have a ton of new fans, and Kool Kat of the Week Brooks Mason (lead guitar/vocals) seems to know it. “We’re hitting our stride as a band now and it’s a lot of fun,” he says in the band’s bio.
The Georgia Flood play soulful, bluesy rock, and they play it confidently, though their musical interests are varied. Growing up in McDonough, Brooks and his brother Lane Kelly listened to and performed all kinds of music. They cite Weezer among more obvious influences (Cream, The Allman Brothers Band, Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys…), and a quick YouTube search turned up a raucous Who cover, a sultry version of “It’s a Man’s World,” and this gem.
Their original material and overall sound is archetypal, classic blues-rock, reminiscent of the best of the genre. Check out songs from their two releases and be sure to watch the video for “The Race” on their Website.
(Special thanks to Luis Ponce)
ATLRetro: Thanks for doing this!
Brooks Mason: No, thank you! Thank you for having us.
How long have you been playing music?
We have been playing music since I was in 8th grade trying to get in my brother’s high school metal band. They didn’t want me cause I was middle school!
What are you listening to these days? Who are your favorite bands?
Good question! These days, it all depends on the day. Most of the time if I’m not playing old blues CDs, I’m usually listening to our local alternative radio station to keep current with the music that comes out today. I’m a big vinyl head so I got all the Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, Freddy King, classic blues stuff, but today there are some great bands that I love like Dawes, Young The Giant, Lake Street Dive and Houndmouth, just to name a few.
Tell me about The Georgia Flood. Who’s in the band? How old are you guys? How did you guys get together? How long have you been playing in front of people?
The Georgia Flood is a band that consists of me and my brother. I am 19 and Lane is 23. Lane and I have been in and out of various bands since the start of high school – metal bands, folk bands, cover bands you name it. Somehow we always stick together. I believe it’s just easier to have a brother that is always around and to have your back. We weren’t good at any sports so we had to branch out. We’ve been doing music for roughly five years.
I heard you guys recently had all of your gear stolen. What happened?
Yes, that was an interesting day. We were tracking a new song at Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn, New York for the whole day, and when we went back to the van we knew something was different. We noticed that the side mirror had been broken. We had just thought that maybe a car hit it as it was sitting on the side of the road, but as soon as we opened the back we knew right away we had just been robbed. Everything got stolen. Drumset, guitar amps, bass amps, road cases and even our suitcases! Luckily, me and my brother brought in our guitars or they would have been stolen as well. So whoever has our gear, they are ready to start their own band with all the gear they got (laughs).
What’s the one thing you immediately missed most?
To be honest, probably my clothes. Since being on tour, I had brought basically all my good show clothes. Oh and I also lost a coat my grandmother had gotten me. I loved that coat! Oh and my shoes!
Have you been able to replace everything yet?
Fortunately, with the help and support from our fans, friends and family we were able to replace just about all of it. Obviously, some things were sentimental that we probably never see again, but for the most part we are back on our feet touring once again due to the fact of our great fans and supporters who we will always be truly grateful for.
Aside from that, how has the band been received away from home? Any differently than at local shows?
Awesome! Everywhere we have played, we have just received so much love and been able to meet and gain new friends and fans! It’s definitely different being out on the road in a different town, but everyone has been so nice and friendly to us.
You’re playing some dates (including Friday at Variety Playhouse) as an opener for Sister Hazel. How did you hook up with those guys? Are you currently on tour with them?
I know! We are so pumped to play such a historic venue in our hometown. Luckily, the manager we work with knows and works with Sister Hazel and was able to get us on some dates. We have played with them on some previous dates before and their fans are always so nice and responsive. As for the band, they are super nice as well. There’s a reason why they are so popular. Before each show they make time to come speak to us and say “hey!” So we are really appreciative for them having us on the road.
Was there a particular song or artist or moment in your life that made you want to be a musician?
Definitely! Probably our first gig as a ’50s cover band. We made $120 in tips! I looked at Lane and I said “we may need to pursue this.’’ Back then it might as well been a million.
You can’t miss the blues rock influences in your songs, and you guys cover several genre staples (Here are a few examples). Are you a fan of traditional blues? Do you consider any classic bluesmen direct influences on your band?
I am a blues guy first. I have been entrenched in the blues since I was 15. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great blues guys out there now, but you just can’t beat the old sound of the greats. It just hits you right in the soul and heart. A lot of blues music just will make you feel different or make you change your mood! I’m serious! Listen to Lightnin’ Hopkins one night by yourself, and you’ll swear you ran around on your woman, or you’ll feel like drinking a glass of whiskey straight with your head hung low thinking all the wrong you’ve done in your life. In a good way of course… But I would say as a guitar player I am most influenced by the great Freddie King.
Do you have new songs you’re ready to record? Any plans to get in the studio?
Glad you asked! We are about to hit the studio in the end of May. We will be putting out a seven-song EP hopefully by the end of summer. We can’t wait to put it out. We have a great feeling with these songs we’ve never had before when coming up with new material.
Give me two songs, one original and one you cover, that best defines The Georgia Flood right now.
We do Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and then go into “Hey Jude” all in one song. It’s so fun, and it’s a great way to get the crowd singing “nah nah nah nah” Everybody knows that part. And for our original, probably “Not Quite Over You.” It’s a great pop blues rocker that is so fun to play.
Best living blues guitarist?
Best living blues guitarist… easy. JD Simo.
Best all time?
Everyone asks me this question. And I can’t really pick, but I would say my favorite is Freddy King. Again the way he plays just knocks me out every time!
All images courtesy of Georgia Flood and used with permission.