Eli Reed likes his music hard, tough and funky – Metro US

Eli Reed likes his music hard, tough and funky

Over the past few years, a retro soul sound has emerged with artists like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Amy Winehouse and even Beyonce’s little sister Solange. But singer/songwriter Eli “Paperboy” Reed may be the most interesting of the bunch.

As a teenager, while his peers were delving into angst-ridden rock and hard-core hip-hop, Reed was all about the soul. Two lauded independent releases, a European following and an impressive turn on the festival circuit helped him gain major label attention and set the stage for his Capitol Records debut, “Come And Get It.”

How does a young teenager from Brookline, Mass., end up getting into soul music?

I think the music crosses cultural boundaries. That’s what makes it so powerful. Growing up, my dad had a lot of records that he’d play all the time. They seeped into my consciousness.

You really seem to go outside the Motown circle and embrace some of the harder edged R&B of the time. Why was that important to you?

Not that I don’t think it’s great pop music, because I do, but as far as the emotional quality, it didn’t affect me like some of that other stuff did. I liked the more Southern stuff, the harder, tougher and more funkier music. The thing I think about soul that’s so cool that people don’t realize is how many layers it has and how deep it goes.

The UK has been at the center of the soul resurgence of late. Why do you think that is?

It’s hard to say. They are just really respectful of American music and soul. They appreciate a good live band. Even with “Roll With You,” it took off more in the U.K. and Europe than in the U.S. That’s fine for me. I’m just excited to play for people who are excited to hear the music.

I know you have a serious record collection. Your house is burning down. What record are you going to save?

That’s a hard question. I’ve got a pretty big box of 45s. I would just grab all of them. That’s impossible [to grab just one record]. I would just be dead. [Laughs.]

Eli “Paperboy” Reed
and the True Loves
with the Del Reys and Spiritkid
Tonight, 6; Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn
$10, 718-963-3369