Friday, April 25, 2008

Eli "Paperboy" Reed and The True Loves: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

I first heard Eli "Paperboy" Reed (nee Eli Husock) when one of his songs was in a Salon song competition with Hallelujah the Hills, who I interviewed last year. About twenty seconds into his song, I started Googling him and was surprised to learn that he was from Brookline, Massachusetts, one town over from me in Jamaica Plain. By the time I finished listening to the song, I wanted to know more: how did a guy so young learn to infuse so many great influences and be able to turn it back into something that is both familiar and exciting?

Exposed to a lot of great soul, rhythm and blues, country, and gospel music from his father, former Boston Phoenix writer Howard Husock, Reed became a fan of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Al Green as well as becoming something of a historian about less-known musicians working in all of these American genres.

Reed, now 24, is living in Boston again, but after graduating high school he lived in both Clarksdale, Mississippi and Chicago—two cultural homes to different styles of the blues. During those years he DJed at a pirate radio station, learned how to play to blues fans for hours on end, played organ in a Chicago church, and hosted a Chicago radio show for blues purists. Good training for the future indeed. The “Paperboy” nickname also was given to Reed during his time in Clarkesdale given his penchant for wearing his grandfather’s newsboy hat.

His first CD, Eli "Paperboy" Reed Sings Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits, was self-released in 2004 and is currently out of print, but hopefully will see a re-release soon as well. The disc was a mix of covers and original songs.

Reed's second CD, Roll with You, is a collection of all-original songs and was produced by Ed Valauskas (producer of recent releases by Graham Parker, Jules Verdone, and many others and bassist in The Gentlemen) at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts and will be released by Q Division Records on April 29, 2008. The album was recorded using only analog equipment and sounds amazing.

Walkin' and Talkin' features more of a southern, harmonica-infused blues, while Roll with You takes Reed toward more soul or rhythm and blues style, complete with horns, big bluesy ballads, and lots of dance numbers.

With its release, Reed has already racked up nice notices in Mojo magazine, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Billboard, The Boston Globe, No Depression, and Time Out NY. Mojo, my personal favorite, states, "There are singers who sing and there are singers whose sheer power of expression can knock you off your feet. Eli 'Paperboy' Reed falls firmly into the latter category...[he] threatens to be one of the defining voices of the year."

With some evolution over the years, The True Loves current 7-piece lineup includes Andy Bauer on drums, Ben Jaffe on tenor sax, Paul Jones on tenor sax, Mike Montgomery on bass, Patriq Moody on trumpet, and Ryan Spraker on guitar.

Reed and The True Loves are on tour now and playing all over the USA; check their myspace page for the latest dates and locations and see them live if you can as they are a very fun band in concert that will surely get you dancing.

My apologies in advance for the drop off in Reed’s voice at the very end of the interview. Afraid it happened due to a crashed hard drive and eaten file, so remember kids...back up those files.

I met with Reed in the fall of 2007, as he was working on Roll with You, in Allston, Masschusetts to discuss:

* what led him to move to two of the homes of the blues
* what doing night club DJing has taught him about performing on stage
* why he’s stopped downloading and still enjoys the hunt at record stores

Songs included in the preview include:
1) I'm Gonna Getcha Back (Roll with You) (in preview)
2) The Satisfier (Roll with You)
3) Cool Drink of Water (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
4) I'm Tired of Wandering (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
5) Walkin' and Talkin' (For My Baby) (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
6) Fat Mama Rumble (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
7) Woman Woman Blues (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
8) I Just Got to Know (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
9) Something You Got (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
10) Won't Give Up Without a Fight (Roll with You)
11) Take My Love with You (Roll with You)
12) Am I Just Fooling Myself (Roll with You)
13) I'll Roll with You (Roll with You)
14) Stake Your Claim (Roll with You)
15) (Doin' the) Boom Boom (Roll with You)
16) Don't Let Me Down (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
17) It's Easier (Roll with You)
18) Am I Wasting My Time (Roll with You)
19) She Walks (Roll with You)
20) Slippershell by Kristin Hersh (Pocket Mix) (in close)

Eli recommends Sam Cooke: Live at the Harlem Square Club, Sonny Boy Williamson's Down and Out Blues, O.V. Wright's If It's Only Tonight, Dixie Hummingbird's In the Morning Luther Ingram's Pity for the Lonely, Sharon Jones and the Dap-kings, and Doctor Dog.

Charlie recommends

1 comment:

Matthew Best said...

Thanks for this - interesting interview and great music!