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
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 http://www.myspace.com/elipaperboyreed and buy some stuff. You will not be disappointed.