KEXP at CMJ, Day 2: Eli “Paperboy” Reed

photos by Brittney Bush Bollay

Eli “Paperboy” Reed (born Eli Husock) is an American singer-songwriter with a background steeped in soul. The son of a music critic, Eli developed an early love of soul (particularly Sam Cooke), country, gospel, and R&B records. Moving from Mississippi, where he gained his nickname thanks to his fondness for wearing his grandfather’s newsboy cap, to Chicago, where he earned his gospel chops, he eventually returned to his Boston roots. Reed and his band, the True Loves, play a throwback of 60s soul that’s reminiscent of legendary performers like Ray Charles and Otis Redding. On his acclaimed debut album, Come and Get It, Reed worked with well-known hip-hop producer Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Pink, Eminem) to flesh out his sound and turn out some amazing performances in the studio. Prior to his major-label debut, Reed independently released two albums, “Sings Walkin’ & Talkin’ & Other Smash Hits!” and “Roll With You.” And though Reed and his band the True Loves wear their influences proudly, they are very much carving out their own sound. If you like soulful love songs that will get you dancing, this is a must-hear.

While he often performs with a full band, Eli played a stripped down set with only Ryan “Man Hawk” Spraker supporting on guitar… but damn did they make the large hiply luxurious space of the Ace Hotel seem full! Check out the photos here:

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