LIVE REVIEW: Eli Paperboy Reed 11/14

elireedmusicsep0ct20102Eli Paperboy Reed‘s live set at Union Pool last week showcased with gusto what his forthcoming album from Warner Bros, of which we’ve heard snippets, only intimates. Reed, who performs live with a full band, including a mighty talented brass section, drums, synth and bass, is standing squarely atop the tipping point on which artists find themselves right before they launch into mega fame (I will not be a bit surprised when I see him on stage at a mainstream music awards show. However I’ll be insanely surprised to find myself watching a mainstream music awards show). His talent, and the extent to which his songs will invariably garner mass appeal, is evident when watching him live in a way it’s not when listening to his studio recordings (see our track review for “Woo Hoo“, here). This is likely because his singles’ high gloss production quality (as amazing as it is to hear with headphones on), actually deters from the grittier, more compelling aspects of his musical style.
These creative leanings are shaped mostly by a 90’s era soul/funk throwback, whose revival we’re experiencing now in full force, transcending pretty much every strata of the music industry, and whose roots herald back to the days of Jamiroquai, New Radicals, Tribe’s The Love Movement, etc etc (btw can we talk about how “Virtual Reality” came out SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO?!?!). When performed live, with all the bells and whistles attendant with polished live performance intact (especially when that performance is perfectly executed as it was by him that night), his music translates into something more unique than I would have given him credit for previously. He played much of his new work, including the dancy “Woo Hoo” and others. My personal favorite, however, was his cover of Robyn’s ever-pertinent-to-my-life “Call Your Girlfriend”, which had me nearly swooning, not gonna lie, and even compelled me to cheer for an encore.
Union Pool was the perfect venue in which to debut his new work and showcase the ethos his music generates: retro but unique, and hip yet unassuming. Walking into the show felt like entering a movie set, with the small stage’s velvet curtains, vintage flood lighting and impeccably dressed hipsters framing the scene. And even from the band’s opening chords, the crowd was dancing. What better way to announce yourself to the world? We can’t wait to see more from this young talent.
Catch him on December 11th, performing on Letterman with Nick Lowe.




Soulful, funky, feel good music. These are just a few adjectives that come to mind after listening to Eli “Paperboy” Reed’s new single “Woo Hoo”: a track which I found remarkably innovative and old-fashion at the same time. The track’s beat indicates it’s ahead of its time; while its funk undertones lend to it a sense that it was perhaps trapped inside of a time capsule many years ago, only for Eli to dig it up years later, polish it off and release it back into public domain. In this regard, Reed is clearly a man ahead of his time: an old soul trapped in world where singers in his genre aren’t truly valued. When listening to “Woo Hoo” I start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and am inclined to get up and start a dance party. Reed’s earnest and deliberate vocal styling compel one to go find out more about the mystery man.

Originally from Massachusetts, Eli took an interest in music from a very young age. Genres such as gospel, soul, blues and R&B were a few of his favorites. After completing high school he moved to Mississippi to envelop himself in the music scene. This was where he was given the nickname “paperboy” due to the “news boy” style hat that he used to wear. In 2005 he released his own album, Sings Walkin’ and Talkin’ (For My Baby) and Other Smash Hits, which was a mix of covers songs and original compositions. In 2007, he and his band were signed to Boston-based Q division and completed their second album, Roll with You. Here, all of the songs were either written or co-written by Reed. Then in 2008, he completed his first album, Come and Get it, on a major record label.

“Woo Hoo” is all about throwing caution to the wind, and having a good time. Indeed, when listening to it I am inclined to forget all my problems and enjoy life. The upbeat positive nature of the song, in combination with Eli’s blue eyed soul singing is a recipe for success. And while I was waiting for a truly climactic moment, but don’t feel that it ever came; I can honestly say that the song is consistently solid throughout. And no matter how hard I try my feet just can’t stay still. Great job Paperboy! Can’t wait to hear what you deliver us next.

Listen to “Woo Hoo”, here via Soundcloud:

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