2008 Best Music Poll Winners

Local Blues/R&B

Eli "Paperboy" Reed

That Eli “Paperboy” Reed has done more than just about anyone else locally to get twentysomethings grooving to classic Stax/Volt soul and R&B isn’t exactly news. Both as a DJ at ZuZu’s classic Soul-le-lu-jah dance night and elsewhere, and most recently leading his band the True Loves, Reed (born and raised in Brookline as Eli Husock) has done his best to spread the gospel as he learned it during a nine-month sojourn in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The big surprise is just how far Reed seems capable of spreading that gospel, now that he’s got a full-length debut,Roll With You (Q Division), to support. After all, there does appear to be a market for classic soul — enough of a market to support the likes of John Legend and Amy Winehouse. And Boston’s got a history of popular bands schooled in the blues, from the J. Geils Band to early (and recent) Aerosmith. Of course, Reed really sticks to the script as laid down by the greats, from Al Green to Otis Redding. So you won’t find much hip-hop creeping into his mixes. But Boston is in the process of proving that the world just may be ready for a vintage-suit-wearing blues brother with a heart full of soul.

— Matt Ashare

LISTEN: Eli "Paperboy" Reed, "Take My Love With You" (mp3)

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