Eli “Paperboy” Reed

14 Apr
Photo by Nicole Tammaro

Photo by Nicole Tammaro

Before I write another word, simply listen to this…

  Poor Side of Town

THIS, is who I imagined that Taylor Hicks would be after he won American Idol.  A little Wilson Pickett, a little Otis Redding, and a lot James Brown, Eli honed his skills by street performing on Harvard Square in high school, after teaching himself piano, guitar and harmonica.  (Sound familiar?) 

The son of a music critic who exposed his son to a vast soul record collection (again, sound familiar?), Eli ended up in Clarksdale, MS after high school, eventually ending up under the tutledge of legendary blues drummer, Sam Carr.  He frequently adorned his grandpa’s chapeau, which garnered the “Paperboy” nickname.

With a cool blues moniker, a degree in Southern blues, and a HUGE passion, Eli was convinced to enroll in the University of Chicago by his concerned parents.  While in Chi Town, Eli broadened his soul horizons by reaching out to Mitty Collier, who scored the 1964 hit, I Had a Talk With My Man.

Now involved in ministry, Mitty hired Eli Reed as her music minister, where he served for a year before returning to Boston with a different kind of education.  There, he put together his band, The True Loves, and recorded and self-released his first collection of originals and covers entitled, Sings “Walkin’ and Talkin’ (For My Baby)” and Other Smash Hits. 

After a phenomenal performance at the 2007 SXSW, Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves recorded and released Roll With You on the Boston-based, Q Division label.  (Even the album art is retro boss.)


Some highlights from that compilation:

  Am I Wasting My Time (diggin’ on the Aretha shirt) — oddly reminiscient of LaMontagne’s You Are the Best Thing

  Take My Love With You on Jools Holland

  Doin’ the Boom Boom

  The Satisfier

Eli is currently embarking on a European tour and is recently signed to Virgin Records, after opening for the likes of Dave Matthews recently.

Eli’s NPR interview shows his love of music and his enthusiasm to spread it around.  At 24, he produces a much older and “experienced” sound.  But, then again, Otis, James, Jackie and Wilson were all about his age when they came into their own.  He is proficient at old soul, mixed with passion and love of music.  His music is infectious and draws you in.  Many critics and observers have dubbed him as the next sensation.  I am definitely on board.

Paperboy, stay true to your school and you shall go far…perhaps an example for many.

Visit Eli “Paperboy” Reed at and buy some stuff.  You will not be disappointed.


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48 responses to “Eli “Paperboy” Reed

  1. Shrewspeaks

    April 14, 2009 at 11:11 pm


    Bought his cd from iTunes.

    And yes, this is EXACTLY who I thought Taylor Hicks was.

  2. LISA

    April 15, 2009 at 6:33 am

    MM I love this place, you have introduced me and so many others to mind blowing music. I am sooooo on board with Eli he is very,very talented and right up my alley. I’m off to buy his music and what else can be said,WOW blow my socks off. Make that another one who thought Taylor would be after AI. Thanks again.

  3. music maven

    April 15, 2009 at 7:41 am

    LISA — Thanks for the compliment, but most of the new music I’m exposed to comes from readers and other folks who simply enjoy sharing the love of good music.

    Somebody (who is a mixture of black & white) actually turned me on to Eli. His nose is much more sensitive and sophisticated than mine in finding these gems.

    The Paperboy is a huge talent and different enough to create an indelible impression in the sea of homogenous fabricated music that is jammed down our throats on mainstream radio. You have to look and you have to have a network of music lovers who continually share their “finds”, but good and real music is out there.

    I’m just very fortunate to have great musical friends who have a need to share good music. Keep ’em coming.

  4. shrewspeaks

    April 15, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Okay listened to Roll With Me on the way to work…


    It has been a LONG time since I had this type of visceral reaction to new music. In every note you can feel the power of Reed’s influences surging and producing a such a kinetic wallop on the listener.

    I saw colors on this one.

  5. music maven

    April 15, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Yes, the appropriate use of horns. I’ve only heard Eli and Ray L. (modern day) do it where the horns didn’t sound out of place or overpower the voice. Of course, they’re no Tower of Power 😉

  6. shrewspeaks

    April 15, 2009 at 9:58 am

    You know what is nice…and VIRGIN listen up here…the cd is not over produced. No need to make the man and his band anything more than they are…JUST PIMP THE SHIT OUT OF THEM.

  7. music maven

    April 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Oh yeah…and how about a little Ray Charles influence?

    Drown in My Own Tears

    or Van the Man on She Walks?

    SXSW interview

  8. somebody

    April 15, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I think it’s a dangerous career move to walk this fine line between seeming like a simple “old school” throwback and bringing a modern edge to what you’re up to.

    Critics might be tempted to say “This guy is simply channeling Otis, Wilson et all and not doing it as well as them.” What I think Eli manages to do is bring in enough contemporary sounds to make him current while still wearing his influences proudly – and they’re damn good influences.

    Check out “Boom, Boom” especially. Beneath that basic soul music shouter staple is a load of complex rock drumming – check that intro and some wicked lead guitar runs. Listen to the break at around 0:38 for the first example.

    It’s what I imagined as well.

  9. music maven

    April 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Could be, Somebody, but I think you’ve got to work what you got and Eli is doing that. From his consistent retro dress to his obvious infusion of old soul in his songs.

    I do agree that his original music includes some pretty intricate guitar, drums and subtle horns that accentuate without overpowering the vocalist or the song.

    Regardless….me likee.

  10. somebody

    April 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    By “dangerous” I meant – good for him to have the balls to go for it. Work with what you got indeed.

  11. huckleberryfriend

    April 15, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I agree MM. Maybe someone can send the link to Mr. Hicks.

    Paperboy delivers.

  12. colette

    April 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Great minds think a lot, MM! I just sent you a thread with Eli as one of the performers. I think he’s very raw, young and cool, and am glad to see you touting him and others getting an earful. It is sites like yours that turn us on to the great music hiding under indy labels out there….

  13. colette

    April 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Great minds think alike MM! I just sent you a thread with Eli as one of the performers. I think he’s very raw, young and cool, and am glad to see you touting him and others getting an earful. It is sites like yours that turn us on to the great music hiding under indy labels out there….

  14. shrewspeaks

    April 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I know exactly what you mean Somebody…the organic arrangements as Eli and band have on this cd are complex enough…it is more than “Neo-Soul” as he has been coined, just as Gnarls Barkley is more than Acid Hip-Hop.

    After listening today, I am stunned by the sophisticated song structure delivered with such raw passion. This is not music designed by marketing…at least I don’t believe it is. How could such energy be put forth without personal vision?

  15. AH

    April 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Frustrating today to be able to look but not touch due to a wonky internet connection . . but finally was able to listen to everything without getting kicked. Very nice buffet MM !

    Quite possible that his ‘ Drown in My Own Tears ‘ alone would have convinced me tonight . . the NPR session for sure. Think Mr. Reed is one of those who offers something to touch the listener no matter what their mood of the moment.

    The young Nova Scotia artist I mentioned before, Charlie A’Court almost gets there live but leans a little to far to the smooth side on some things that could use more grit.

    Taking a spring road trip to see Charlie Musselwhite tomorrow night as one way to shake off the winter blahs . . . but stumbling over a new really good artist is the best antidote for the wrong kind of blues and terminal boredom . . thanks for keeping the music coming Maven.

  16. somebody

    April 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Music designed by marketing – I think “music designed by committee” might be a more apt analogy. Designed to not offend.

    “I was never thinking about capitalizing on some sort of soul revival,” Reed says. “My music sounds the way it does ’cause everybody wears their influences on their sleeve. I was listening to ‘Drown in My Own Tears’ or ‘Pain in My Heart’ when I was 15 and… having to deal with high-school girls. For me, that was relevant.”
    – ER (sound familiar?)

    “I think when you go soul, you got to get the ugly face,” she says. “Soul is singing with the ugly face.”
    – Sharon Jones

  17. colette

    April 16, 2009 at 1:17 am

    sorry about the double entry there — I corrected a wrong word and it went up twice.

    By the way — Kris is safe!

  18. Shrewspeaks

    April 16, 2009 at 6:00 am

    ah yes, by committee too true.

    I grew up in the 80’s spending the majority of my time in high school listening to 60’s soul and rock. I spoke to me. Soul impacted me physically. Just hearing the energy of Booker T and the MGs muscles would contract. Hearing Aretha hit that one riff in Say A Little Prayer would make me reel. The vast largeness of Sly and the Family Stone’s sound needed to be answered with dance. The reaction was immediate and the impression lasting. The emotions conveyed by artists like these were so raw that the music became etched on my own soul. I hear this same power in Reed’s work. I hope others do too.

  19. music maven

    April 16, 2009 at 7:13 am

    To sort of bring this full circle…

    There are some artists who are just so damn good or just so damn passionate when performing that it creates an immediate and visceral reaction. You know it when you hear it.

    I think that Taylor Hicks hit people that way when he crashed onto AI, totally rockin’ their whitebread world. However, he hasn’t been able to maintain or re-capture that intensity in the broader eyes of the world.

    EPR is relativly new on the scene and still will only appeal to a certain sector of the music world, much like Sharon Jones. I happen to think it’s the best part of the music world, but generally speaking it’s pretty small when compared to tweenies listing to HSM3: The Soundtrack.

    Important point here is that you have to be “true to your school”. Not to say that you can’t cross over, now and again, to other type of music, but the stuff that “hits” people is the stuff that scores. And, usually not until you have earned some significant cred, can you genre jump, i.e., Ray Charles.

    Like I said before, you’ve got to work what you got. EPR is deeply working what he’s got and it hits the mark with listeners. It’s real, it’s pure and it’s good.

  20. somebody

    April 16, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Conversely, don’t work with what you ain’t got.

  21. shrewspeaks

    April 16, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Amen to that…or else you will find yourself riding in a large Ice cream cone with a follow spot saying “what the hell happend?”

  22. somebody

    April 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Shrew, I’m interested in what you think about MM’s statement that started the post.

    “THIS, is who I imagined that Taylor Hicks would be after he won American Idol. “

  23. shrewspeaks

    April 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I think it is pretty clear that I whole heartily agree. Through American Idol, Hicks displayed a deep knowledge of not only the foundation of Soul Music but he also seemed to get the current or emerging artists as displayed with his choice of Trouble and some of his interview comments. When he was preparing his first CD, Hicks mentioned creating a new sound utilizing the thrilling Southern Soul foundation with new rythms and beats…ala what I hear in Eli’s cd. Instead we were given a Michael McDonald replica.

  24. music maven

    April 16, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Another artist that I listen to quite a bit that is nice, clean and simply musical, is Keb ‘Mo. His stuff is just him playing and singing…so nice.


    And, there’s also purity with Delbert McClinton

    Somebody to Love with intro by Ricky Skaggs

    Now, admittedly these two gentleman have had some influence on Taylor, so why doesn’t it translate? Is it the AI “stank”? Is it bastardizing the music with outside influences that corrupt it? Or is it that he really doesn’t “lay it all out there” so his uncomfortableness in his own skin somehow creates a barrier to delivering that soul-piercing musical kun-NECK-shun?

    Sometimes it just feels as though Taylor’s music is muted, like he’s holding back. You simply don’t see any tentativeness in these other guys, but it’s obvious when watching Taylor.

  25. AH

    April 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Maven, I think you have made an excellent point . . have thought Taylor has a barrier up on just about any song that he really feels ever since the Boston Avalon show. That was the first time he sang Somehow . . when he tossed in the stupid, imo, jazzed up bit in the middle it had the effect of hitting the crowd with a bucket of ice water. Somehow was on the set list for the show 2 nights later . . in that venue people are literally jammed up to the stage and faces can be seen quite far back . . and he pulled it. Some of us thought then that the lack of even a 2 -3 ft barrier and a darkened crowd was the reason. . pure speculation on our part obviously . . but there certainly was “ugly face” at the beginning of the song in Boston.

    And then there’s Cohasset . . no holding back that night . . he Can deliver so why doesn’t he do it consistently.

    Didn’t intend to go there . . met someone at my caffeine stop who had a chance to talk with Charlie Musselwhite a couple of years ago . . some of what he said fits your thread. Now will be back after see him . . and maybe get chance to talk to him myself.

  26. Shrewspeaks

    April 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I guess I miss the baring of his soul most…the intensity of his audition, the manic fever of Takin’ It To The Streets. The majority of song choices were not seemingly from the point of what he could sing best, but more of something Hicks wanted to say. He seemed to be saying quite a lot about music and how it affected him and we who voted either agreed with him or at least understood it.

    Eli seems to be at this point. He is saying something about life, his life; putting everything out there…soul.

  27. music maven

    April 16, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Yes, I believe that’s it. I kept trying to put my finger on it and it has been making me crazy. Why hasn’t he caught on? I think I have decent musical taste and I liked the dude…thought/think he has talent but only when he lays it out there. Come to think of it, on the AI performances where he “phoned it in”, it fell as flat as Winona Ryder’s chest.

    It was the “Funky White Boy”, Livin’ in the City, Jailhouse Rock, and Try a Little Tenderness when he let fly that won him that there karaoke competition. While I think there are times when he plays live that he may “open up”, the three times that I saw him, I did not see it. It was as though he were singing from behind a glass wall.

    Conversely, I was front & center for B.B. King, Brandi Carlile, Keb ‘Mo, Aaron Neville and even the Indigo Girls and they all really “got into” the songs and the show. They put it out there. Taylor isn’t resonating because he’s not kun-NECK-ting. Perhaps there’s a reason or a fear or whatever, but I think that’s what is the difference between Taylor and someone like Eli Paperboy Reed.

    It’s sincerely a shame that Taylor just doesn’t seem to be living that credo of “….that’s what it’s all about.” Somewhere between then and now, that seems to have gotten lost. I watch Eli and see what might have been.

  28. somebody

    April 16, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    There’s a couple of serious flaws in your argument, and here they are.

    but you were baiting me right?

  29. shrewspeaks

    April 16, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Now, this thread is also like the part of the SOUL of what I liked about Season 5.

    Great laughs, great discussion, and great music.

    (Breasts optional)

  30. music maven

    April 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    @somebody – actually, I think that example proves my point.

    Sorry, but WR is a bit mammary challenged.

    ….and, me bait? Nevah. Facts are facts.

  31. huckleberryfriend

    April 17, 2009 at 7:48 am

    I think maybe the thing with Taylor is/was he needs to lead with the visual part of his performance and the voice follows. I remember him saying how Idol demanded a visual performance since it was on TV. So when he gets all rev’d up for the visual performance, the voice and presentation also get rev’d up.

    Two things I would like to see:
    – Change band to be more horns including brass
    – Do something similar to Van Morrison’s Live Astral Weeks

    Redo some of his best songs and add a few new songs. Do maybe a 10 city tour and wail the hell out of the songs. Videotape all the shows and pick the best performances and put out a live album.

  32. somebody

    April 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

    You’re going to make me go there aren’t you?

    On another note, one observation about most(?) of the TH boards in existence – they still take their musical queues from AI. AI is NOT the conduit for exposing undiscovered artists – it just isn’t. If you insist that it is then I, personally, can’t engage in the discussion. There is a world of fantastic music out there. Tons of supremely talented folks making their own stuff. You don’t watch TV to find out what’s new and exciting.

  33. Linda T

    April 17, 2009 at 10:16 am

    It’s so great to see the videos and all the outpouring of praise for Eli Paperboy Reed. Eli grew up right around the corner from me, and his family still lives there. His younger brother goes to the same school as my son. When Eli was still in Mississippi, he would come home occasionally and we’d see him play a song or two at school fundraisers, etc, as well as appearances at the local clubs. I always knew he had tremendous potential, and it’s great to see that he can stay true to his art and also find some degree of success. Yay for Eli. 🙂 His album has been on my playlist for a long time, and is featured at our local library — a true “local boy makes good” story.

    As for Taylor, my opinion is that when he is singularly focused on the music, he can be quite brilliant (perhaps not consistently so, but he has his moments). I never really believed the line that he was going to “bring real music back to fucking pop music”….stuff like that flies out of his mouth all the time and there’s really nothing behind it except a joyous moment shared among friends and fans. However, I guess it was always my hope that making music would be his sole focus, and that he would both find his way artistically over time (with some predictable hits and misses), and also find a bit more monetary success than he had had before. However, he’s obviously chosen the “entertainer” career path for reasons I’ll never know or understand. So I guess I take the moments when I can get them, and just add them to the wider mix of musicians who move me. There are a lot of them out there! Right now there’s Jason Ricci and Joe Pug and Derek Trucks and Joe Bonamassa and Wild Sweet Orange and Patterson Hood and……well…you get the drift. I just saw 64-year old Jeff Beck recently and he completely blew my doors off.

  34. AH

    April 17, 2009 at 10:21 am

    “Videotape all the shows and pick the best performances and put out a live album.”

    hbf . . agree Taylor needs to tour . . and release live material.

    Seems astounding that Taylor wouldn’t have soundboard recordings from the 2007 tour(s).
    Little embarrased now at having done 11 shows but glad as well because did get to see 1 phenomenal and two very good shows . . as well as some great moments in several others . . a favorite being Same Auld Lang Syne in Concord – apparently done at Felix’s request and obviously with little to no prep.
    I have definite issues with his albums . . but to repeat myself . . he is capable of hold-your-breath live performances . . why he doesn’t consistently deliver them is the mystery.

  35. somebody

    April 17, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Live albums (and albums in general) of whatever caliber don’t do a whole lot for anyone’s success these days other than at the very top tier. You have to be on the road performing your music in front of as many people as you can. And doing your best to knock it out of the park everytime.

  36. music maven

    April 17, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Must say I am more than a little entertained by the thought of somebody desperately searching the Interwebs for pictures of Winona Ryder’s boobs.


    And, you are so right that TV ain’t the place to learn about new artists (except maybe House – heh). What is doled out AI is a musical version of “What Not to Wear”. That’s why I said before that no real superstars are ever going to come from AI — again, with the exception of Carrie Underwood who lives in the Country world (for now). I predict that she’ll be by the wayside in three years. Nothing “sticks” for AI because it’s transparently not “real”. I felt Taylor was the first “real” contestant and then he seemed to become part of the fame game.

    People like Eli Reed, Joe Bonnamassa, Marc Broussard…them dudes are real. On the road, on the stage, in your face, breakin’ it down, not “dipping their toe” into acting, etc.

    Linda — very cool. It’s very cool when someone local or that you know makes it big. Some folks I worked with actually had seen Taylor play at their neice’s wedding reception a few years before Idol and they were super excited for him. Now, I don’t think they even know he has a CD out. Strange, no?

  37. AH

    April 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Linda, you posted while I was writing . . surprised you didn’t mention Charlie M. last night . . maybe he didn’t blow our doors off but he certainly gave us one heck of a blues harp lesson.

    Said uptread that I met soneone who had talked with Charlie Musselwhite about his music. This is the part I think fits this conversation. The guy plays some small club gigs and asked CW how he choses songs.
    The answer was . . you have to try them on – see how they feel – if they feel right then you play with them untill you hear yourself in there.
    CW also told him that if you play what you love then your audience will find you. If you play for ‘ an audience ‘, then someone is going to be unhappy – probably you.

    I don’t have the ability to dissect and write about music . . that’s why I love reading those of you who can . . but like most people who love music I know what I think is good . . and ultimately isn’t music an “all about me” experience ?
    If I correctly understand what CW said, then it is – or maybe should be – all about me for an artist too.

    Maybe that is the root of the problem with TH . . for whatever reason – trying to please everyone – not enough faith in his own music – confusion over who he wants to be . . his delivery is like an on / off switch . . if he sings a song because he loves it it works . . if it’s for ” an audience” it falls flat.

    It would seem that EPR on the other hand subscribes to CW’s school of thought. Whatever he does, from Boom Boom to Drown in My Own Tears, is authentic to him.

    I never got back to your other thread on musicians but someone I was going to mention is Matt Andersen . . another young Canadian artist who is getting a lot of attention. If interested I can give you more on him.

  38. somebody

    April 17, 2009 at 11:33 am

    For the record, I’m not “searching the interwebs” for pictures of Winona’s boobs. I have them all conveniently saved on my hard drive.

    Hard Drive:Documents:Celebs:Parts:Boobs:Winona

  39. music maven

    April 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Nice to know you’re so organized?

    How about a little Matt Andersen that AH was talkin’ ’bout.

    My Girl

    Now, you’d never “discover” Matt on AI….

  40. Shrewspeaks

    April 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    somebody, interesting that you say new music doesn’t come from tv yetvthe clip of Eli that was first shared with me was from Jools. Do you believe it is only American tv that is a waste land?

  41. somebody

    April 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I don’t have TV so my opinion is suspect. I’m just saying that I, personally, would find it odd if there first place I saw a musician that I really liked was on TV. Jool’s show seems to be an obvious exception to that rule.

  42. shrewspeaks

    April 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I agree with you on this, I was just wondering if this is an American only phenom. I suspect not.

    There seems to be this return to grassroots for the good stuff movement, where music is conserned. Maybe it was always ther and I am just discovering it.

    Much like eras gone by, when the traveling minstral came through and played at an estate or church or in the street festivals, today many fantastic artists have their voice heard that way. Not too long ago I saw Van Morrison in NYC. $200.00 a ticket. I was good to see him and I really enjoyed the show, but the thrill of seeing KJ Denhert with 50 other people for $20.00 was amazing. And through that small a venue she was able to really interacted with us.

    Does that mean I will never pay a large ticket price again? I don’t know. I think it does change my expectation for what I get for that big ticket price. Paying that much for a Buffett ticket is always worth it because of the event around the event and the care not only Buffett gives his fans but also his band. Or paying to see legends such as Aretha, Dylan, Etta and Morrison may warrent that price. But U2, Madonna and others, no way! Personal prefernance I grant you is at work here. And this is where Taylor looses even the concert or tour vote for me. He is not worth Ticket master prices when there are so many others who are better for $30.00 or less in a more intimate setting.

  43. shrewspeaks

    April 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    ” she was able to really interacted with us.” Urgh…this is why I should never comment slap dash at work. Sorry guys.

  44. music maven

    April 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    No TV? Wha?!? Do you live in a little log cabin with no electricity and have a beard too? Fancy writing letters that go boom?

    I keed.

    No really, I keed.

    See, Shrew, I want me some house concerts. I’m getting ready to build a nice retreat close to a very nice river. There is great weather here. Here’s my dream line-up:

    Taylor Hicks (yeah, ‘cuz he kinda started it all)
    Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (obviously)
    John Mayer (Might as well shoot for the stars, besides the crazy bastid is just crazy enough)
    Delbert McClinton (He’s so close)
    Keb ‘Mo (I have the perfect stool)
    Eli “Paperboy” Reed (He’s due for some Southern weather)
    Brandi Carlile
    Marc Broussard (I know he’d enjoy a Crawfish Boil)
    KJ Denhert
    Ellis Paul (The finale)

    That’s 10. The Music Maven River Series…ah yes, I can see it…

  45. shrewspeaks

    April 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Ticket please!

  46. AH

    April 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Tickets = name your price !
    John Mayer . . can that be as in Trio please ?
    Hmm . . how about making that retreat a time share property with a great music room . . kidding – mostly . . I’d buy . . . .

    And yeah Maven . . Matt probably doesn’t have to worry about the fangirl staker types . . try this one . .

    His website has a player in the music tab – my favorite is track 6 “Have You got The Blues ”

  47. woooooo-mama

    September 2, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Very late to the party, but glad you pointed me to Eli, MM. I was blown away by this kid! And when I say, “kid” it’s kind of a joke because it seems that starting out early in the music business tends to make a person grow up very quickly. It’s obvious that Eli’s modeling after his idols, in addition to gaining life experiences in the trenches, have given him charisma beyond his years. Not every babyfaced 24-yr-old could pull off “The Satisfier” so convincingly. Gave this middle-aged mama something to wonder about, that’s fo sho 😉

    Not only does he inject a heap o’ soul into his delivery, he’s also got attitude. Some sass. And a scream that’s something of a James Brown/Janis Joplin hybrid. I love it! Someone needs to get “(Doin’ the) Boom Boom” to Ellen Degeneres immediately… if that don’t make her wanna shake a tailfeather in the aisles, I don’t know what would.

  48. woooooo-mama

    September 2, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Regarding the promise of Taylor… and the “letdown”… I wonder if we weren’t expecting too much from our young silver fox. I think many of us were very entertained by Taylor, and loved the rebel spirit he brought to the competition. But he and Elliott were both paying tribute to the Greats… we had Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, yes… but don’t forget Donny Hathaway, for heaven’s sake! Elliott’s rendition of jazz standard Moody’s Mood for Love threw many for a loop, in a good way.

    These performances stirred up emotions and a longing for that kind of soul music that was missing from the music scene. Did we transfer our nostalgic hopes onto these men… dream them into something they weren’t meant to be, or didn’t have the chops to deliver? Somewhat, maybe. But they were also molded by “the machine.” Taylor’s Sexy Bachelor spread in People magazine pretty much guaranteed that was going to happen, didn’t it?

    I haven’t heard Taylor’s 09 release, but I was disappointed in the first one. I feel bad for saying it, because it wasn’t under his control, but it was lukewarm. Reheated retro soul. Still a little frozen in the middle. Just check the awkward delivery of 80s remake, “Wherever I Lay My Hat.” Elsewhere on the record, the horns seemed very gratuitous, as if the producers went in as an afterthought, “This doesn’t sound Soulful enough, let’s add some brass. The Soul Patrol Grannies in Little Rock won’t know the difference.” Guess what? They knew the difference!

    Now contrast that with the hot percussion and sophisticated rhythms on Eli’s record. The yowls and snappy talk. Or the authenticity of the feeling conveyed in the love songs he penned himself. He’s absolutely the real deal. Now somebody get him on Ellen, where I’m sure the audience is full of soul lovers like us 🙂


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