Perseverance, thrill and talent are the three words I’d use to describe Eli “Paperboy” Reed. His name is becoming more and more popular with each passing day, but it must be said that Reed is definitely not a newcomer.
His involvement in the music world started as a member of his Boston high school band, then he moved to Mississippi where he was mentored by music veterans such as Terry “Big T” Williams, Sam Carr and Wesley “Junebug” Jefferson. Reed took part in the Sunday morning gigs at a tiny South Side Chicago church and played in the coolest clubs in Brooklyn with his band True Loves.
Now, at 26, Reed has the nickname “Paperboy” attached to his name – the singer used to wear his grandfather’s paperboy hat and took the name after it – just like all the other musicians in Clarksdale.
With Reed’s two independently released albums (Sings Walkin’ and Talkin’ and Other Smash Hits and Roll With You) having been very well received in Boston, along with Rolling Stone magazine naming him a “Breaking Artist” and a nomination to the 2009 MOJO Awards for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Reed presents his major label debut, Come and Get It for Capitol Records. The album was produced by Mike Elizondo – whose credits include Eminem, Gwen Stefani and Fiona Apple.
With the purpose of singing phrases that people would respond to, Reed presents us twelve songs that he wrote at home when he was messing around on the acoustic guitar. The singer exposes all the music influences (early rock & roll, country, blues) that he’s absorbed since his early childhood and brings them to our present time.
Reed does not want to imitate soul artists like Sam Cooke or Otis Redding, although he’s clearly influenced by them. He’s a young 21st Century singer who shows great respect and fascination for soul and adds his own unique style to that sound. Very elegant background singers and the True Loves band match up well with Reed’s passion, fervor and energy.
The rhythm doesn’t decline in any of the songs. Highlights from the album include “Come and Get It”, a vibrant dance song, followed by “Young Girl” which offers a tribute to Bostonian soul singer Frank Lynch. Reed’s spectacular falsettos are on display with the tracks “Tell Me What I Wanna Hear” and the beautiful ballad “Pick Your Battles.” The album ends on a high note with “Explosion,” bringing a great close to an album that makes me look forward to hearing more from Reed really soon.