Paula Harris and The Beasts of Blues wow their audiences night after night With their high energy funky blues fusion and blistering horn section, All of whom hold Grammy Awards. And there doesn't seem to be any age that doesn't love them! From the college set to the seniors, all are equally spellbound once Paula unleashes the Beasts. Unlike many band leaders who keep a tight finger on their players, Paula surrounds herself, quite literally with some of the best players in the world, then lets the natural chemistry shine forth. Each night the solo's are different inspired and captivating. The music seems to flow with the mood of each song. "The Beasts" are aptly named as each one is a "Monster" in their playing. In other words, they have mastered their individual instrument. To attempt to call this act simply "A blues band" would be like calling the Rolling Stones "A Rock Band". The "Beasts" may not have the iconic status of the Stones- but they have the same kind of widespread appeal and they definitely refuse to be trapped by the finite definition of "Simply a Blues Band" The press has tried to describe their sound and, on more than one occasion, the names "Etta James" and " Tower of Power have come up". One Monterey writer said " If Etta James Fronted the Tower of Power, and they were a funky blues band it would sound a lot like Paula Harris and her Beasts of Blues" Their tight arrangements, virtuoso players, the out-of-the-box fusion of Jazz, Blues, Funk and Soul, and their ability to "Let it all hang out" when they play, have carved them their own niche because there is simply nothing like them…anywhere! One festival attendee stated "Now THAT is a BAND! I definitely felt I got my money's worth and they were the surprise addition to an otherwise predictable lineup" College-age viewers have raved "We've never seen anything like this- these guys( and Lady) are AWESOME!"
After Paula burst into the scene when she brought home top three honors at 2012’s International Blues Challenge and won the Monterey Blues Festival’s “Battle of the Bands” competition the same week, Her debut release “Turning on the Naughty” in 2013 garnered her a Blues Music Award nomination, a Blues Blast Music Award nomination, the Sean Costello Rising Star Award nod, airplay on more than 3000 stations worldwide and an invitation to kick off the prestigious Blues Music Awards Ceremony that year. Their performance there stopped people in their tracks at the annual Memphis TN event. The Album was also voted "Best Female Blues Album" on A1 blues and the Internationally syndicated radio show "The Blues Mobile" run by Dan Aykroyd picked them as his "Blues Breaker/Favorite New Release". They’ve also received Six Northern California Entertainers and Music Awards nods and Paula also performed at that ceremony as well in 2017. Currently, Paula is nominated for "Best Female Vocalist" and "Band of the year" with the 2018 Northern California Entertainers and Music Awards.
Paula and crew have developed sophisticated innovative arrangements and songs that mix the passion of blues, with a greasy impossible to ignore groove that dares their audience not to move. Paula brings her jaw-dropping 4-octave range and wields it like a weapon to cut through the swampy funk the rhythm section and horns lay down. This band will make you redefine everything you thought you knew about blues. They take traditional blues forms such as shuffles or 12 bar forms, then they make the bass funkier, the rhythms more danceable, and alter the forms to be more modern, often pulling from the more complex jazz chords. They add in horns that enhance the rhythms and reinforce the groove and build the energy. This act has been called "Blues with Balls"(At the Crossroads Magazine) and "A Force Of Nature"( Cashbox Magazine) Make no bones about it, this is a high-energy act! But as "Living Blues" said "Paula also knows the value of Subtlety and achieves an uncanny balance between tenderness and virtuosity" So audiences can expect to be taken on a musical journey!
Reviewers and members of the press have used many different comparisons trying to capture the multiple facets of Paula’s voice but the smoky contraltos such as Sarah Vaughan, Ruth Brown, Della Reese and more modern soulful diva Phyllis Hyman seem to turn up most often to describe her rich lower register. But she can turn on a dime and what she dishes out is then described as having the same kind of unrestrained passion Aretha Franklin, and Etta James are famous for. There is also a strong correlation to the rasp of Big Maybelle and Beth Hart at times, as well as the smoothness and flexibility of Diane Schuur. This South Carolina raised, California based singer is truly a one-of-a-kind performer in a class by herself.
The group has a delightful mix of original material, carefully selected and arranged covers, and clever arrangements such as their mash-up of the rock group AC/DC’s hit “Back In Black” and Great American Jazz Standard “My Funny Valentine”. They have also done such ingenious things as making the disco hit "I Will Survive" into a twangy guitar based 12 bar blues, they took the traditional Robert Johnson hit "Dust My Broom" and gave it a funky hip shaking re-make. The world-class musicality of her players, the innovative song selections, unique arrangements and Paula’s distinct voice has set this group apart and delighted Blue, Jazz and Soul audiences at every show.
NOTABLE APPEARANCES Include 2 Artist Residencies at Canada’s “Blues on Whyte”, Regular performances at the Iconic “Top of the Mark” in San Francisco, multiple monthly appearances at “Savanna Jazz” and a decade-long stint as the front person of the Carere Orchestras in Georgia.
The 2013 Blues Music Awards
San Jose Jazz Festival
Long Bay Symphony Orchestra
Atlanta “Pops” Symphony Orchestra
Clemson Music Festival
Monterey Blues Festival
Fall for Greenville Music Festival
Sausalito Music by the Bay Series
Salmon Blues Festival
Three Rivers Blues Festival
SC Jazz Festival
Hanford Blues Festival
Richmond Blues Festival
Monterey Blues & Brews Festival
Seaside Blues by the Bay Series
2017 Northern California Entertainers & Music Award Ceremony
Paula has also appeared at notable venues or special events such as 1996 Baseball World Series After Party for Ted Turner- Atlanta. Paula Also plays or has played Yoshi's, Biscuits and Blues, The Blue Note, Sweetwater Music Hall, The Lesher Center for Performing Arts, Montalvo Center for Performing Arts, The Peace Center- Greenville SC, The Fox Theater in Atlanta GA, The Orpheum Theater in Memphis TN and more
A FEW QUOTES:
“Paula is hands down the best singer to ever grace our stage and the audience loved her! I’m looking forward to having her back”
Denton Morrell- Talent buyer/Manager “Blues on Whyte” Canada
“Paula was a knock out at the San Jose Jazz Summerfest. She and her band enthralled the crowd and were a highlight of the festival”
Bruce Labadie- Director- San Jose Jazz Festival
“A thin vanilla coating on a chocolate soul”- Lou Rawls- Singer
“The Rightful Heir of Etta James”- At the Crossroads Magazine
“She’s a singer with a remarkably wide range, near-perfect intonation, and amazing breath control. She knows the value of subtlety when the material calls for it and achieves an uncanny balance between tenderness and virtuosity”
Lee Hildebrand- Living Blues Magazine
“Paula is a superb songwriter and interpreter of the music she sings. Her ability to take and hold center stage is amazing indeed. Her performances are heady, slinky and downright sexy. She mixes Jazz & Blues with ample attitude and sheer joy. There is no room for disappointment when this lady sings the blues”
“There is a lightness and contrasting depth and breadth to Ms. Harris’ singing that gives her an outstanding edge over her contemporaries who only have 2 modes: Quiet and what Taj Majal accurately described as shouting in key.”
Ian McKenzie- Blues Blast Magazine
“Paula is one of the finest modern blues voices today and her interpretation is impeccable”
William Bell- Stax/Volt Recording Artist, WC Handy Award winner, and R&B Pioneer
“Her voice sizzles so hot she could bring a pot of water sitting on a block of ice to a boil. Paula Harris is NOT someone you can forget once you’ve heard her!”
Cascade Blues News
“One of the most Unique and Funky Bands to ever emerge from California”
“She’s sung with symphonies. She’s performed jazz and pop. And now at an age when most singers are thinking about hanging it up, she is set to roar out of the Blues gate There is a reason for her confidence. She has the kind f chops that can handle a ballad or shout down a 12 pc horn band”
Elwood Blues (AKA Dan Aykroyd)- The Blues Mobile Radio Show