Paula Harris and her acoustic experience wow their audiences night after night by packing the same kind of punch and energy bigger horn bands normally do, Mixed with all the texture one would expect from a trio. That they do it in an acoustic format is even more astounding! Their tight arrangements, virtuoso players and the out-of-the-box fusion of Jazz, Blues and Soul have carved them their own niche because there is simply nothing like them…anywhere!
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". She's also received Six Northern California Entertainers and Music Awards nods. This year, Paula was nominated for"Best Blues Band of the Year" and won "Best Female Blues Vocalist" at the 2018 Northern California Entertainers and Music Awards.
Paula and crew have developed sophisticated innovative arrangements, and songs that tell stories with clever, emotional and relatable lyrics. Paula has honed her impressive 4-octave range and massive power into a softer, more velvety sound that uses the impressive range and power that made her a stand out with fans from the beginning lightly as more of a seasoning for her sound rather than the meat of it. She still brings the jaw-dropping elements while having an overall sound that is delightful to listen to with its more intimate approach. This new acoustic-based format successfully meshes the sophisticated innuendo with the often slinky, sexy and sometimes sly attitudes of Jazz & Blues from the 40’s to the 60’s with the passion, haunting emotion and storytelling associated with more traditional “front porch” blues. They also mix in a heaping helping of funky soul on the side for a totally ingenious result completely different from other acts in the genre.
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 teamed up with Kid Andersen at his Greaseland Studios to record the much awaited second album "Speakeasy" which is on track to be released in 2018. Speakeasy is crafted to take us back to the retro sound of the era when Blues and Jazz were still considered to be the "Pop" music of the day. The acoustic format keeps the sound "vintage" but the modern soulful and funky approach to the music is something that is hard to describe. Its Blues and Jazz and is a completely unexpected acoustic format that is surprising in its lack of a guitar and the overall sophisticated vibe to be found.
The album will feature three carefully selected and arranged covers, two never before recorded songs by Bay Area Songwriters Scotty Wright and Pamela Rose, and nine brand new original compositions. The world-class musicality of her players, the innovative arrangements including the Thelonious Monk classic "'Round Midnight" which is given a soulful feel and for which Paula penned completely new lyrics, and the smooth groove-driven take of the Billie Holliday Classic "Good Morning Heartache", and Paula's Stunning restraint and emotional take of the Donnie Hathaway iconic "I love You More then You'll Ever Know" Will thrill both Jazz and Blues Fans alike. They also have the lush sexy original "Something Wicked" featuring BMA award winner and voice of Bluesville", Big LLou Johnson and Santana band member Bill Ortiz on a blistering trumpet. A Toe-Tapping up-tempo original soul-blues "I wanna Hate Myself Tomorrow(For Raising Hell Tonight)", the finger-snapping driving shuffle "Soul-Sucking Man", and a truly beautiful Jazz Tinged Blues Ballad "Haunted" are also among the original numbers featured. The song selections, unique arrangements, and Paula’s distinct voice set this acoustic sound apart and delighted Jazz, Blues 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 Jazz Club”, multiple monthly appearances “Savanna Jazz” and a decade-long stint as the front person of the Carere Orchestras in Georgia.
SC Jazz Festival
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
Hanford Blues Festival
Richmond Blues Festival
Monterey Blues & Brews Festival
Seaside Blues by the Bay Series
2017 Northern California Entertainers 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 Yoshis, 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