By now, we’re no longer surprised when Eli Reed — dipped in throwback attire with gold chains to match — conquers stages wielding his hollow-body ax and thick back-up band. (He won this honor in 2005, and again last year.) Maybe it’s because Greater Boston is the liberal capital of America, where folks are encouraged to screw the status quo in pursuit of their dreams. Or because Brookline’s pre-eminent Jewish soul survivor has been serenading stages since he was a wee tag-along rocking churches up and down Blue Hill Ave with Boston’s legendary Silver Leaf Gospel Singers. Reed’s teeth are cut and sharp. He got his chops jamming with real-deal blues musicians in Mississippi (where he lived for a while after high school), and he’s since brought his experience full-circle to the pop forefront — he was Virgin Records America’s only new signing in 2008. We hate to share Eli with the rest of the country, but we’re not about to deprive soul fans everywhere of our own Winehouse-esque white black-music prodigy.
1_Jordan Valentine and the Sunday Saints