Paula Boggs Band
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Paula Boggs Band

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Americana Folk




"Photos & Review: Paula Boggs Band @ Skylark Cafe"

"The Paula Boggs Band is a local Jazz/Blues band that’s beginning to make a splash on the national Jazz scene. Paula shared with us how she gets inspired by real people and real situations when she writes her heartfelt lyrics. Paula spoke emotionally about “Edith’s Coming Home” and how “Edith” was a legal pioneer, becoming one of New York State’s first African American judges. In later life, Edith struggled with dementia and lost that precious something that helped her overcome obstacles and achieve such lofty goals. Do yourself a favor and see Paula and her band at your local jazz club."
- Back Beat Seattle

"Editor's Pick: Paula Boggs Band"

"Paula Boggs Band Editors Pick: The blues- and jazz-flavored rock of Seattle’s Paula Boggs Band might be standard coffeehouse fare if the front woman’s backstory didn’t lend the brew greater complexity. Boggs has served in the army; worked as a lawyer in the White House, the Pentagon, and the US Attorney’s Office; and acted as an executive vice president for Starbucks. Today, in addition to fronting a band, the “Fortune 500 vet” sits on the boards of Johns Hopkins University, the Red Cross, and KEXP public radio. File PBB’s music under “What am I doing with my life?” "
- Portland Monthly (Jan 11, 2013) - Portland Monthly

"Clean Water Foundation Presents: Tess and Carson Henley with Paula Boggs"

If you would have told me last week that I was going to photograph a benefit for a clean water charity for needy children that rocked this hard I would have said you were crazy.
Leon McLaughlin, CEO of Clean Water Foundation, gathered two fantastic groups that blew the roof off the Paragon on Queen Anne. Paula Boggs opened the show with a combination of rock & R&B, peppered with a tasty serving of sexy Jazz. We all knew Paula was having too much fun when she broke out the Led Zeppelin. Truthfully, I’m not sure the Paragon knew what to do with that combination, but it definitely worked for me.

Leon McLaughlin of Clean Water Foundation

Paula Boggs Band
I wasn’t very familiar with Tess and Carson Henley before this show, but I quickly understood why the Paragon was so packed. The Henley’s took to the stage like a thief in the night. They grabbed it by the neck and never let go. The Henley’s gave the crowd some funky R&B and sweet soul that demanded our allegiance. The diverse crowd ate it up. Leon described the show as HOT, HOT, HOT and I couldn’t agree more.

Tess and Carson Henley

Clean Water Foundation
Were we there just to listen to great music? No. Leon McLaughlin gathered these talented musicians to draw attention to his incredible and worthy charity, the Clean Water Foundation. Leon traveled extensively throughout the Americas and learned just how rare good, clean water really is. Leon was traveling for pleasure, but he was alarmed that the clean water that most of us take for granted was not something readily available to the people he came across in his travels. He knew that he had to do something.
Leon went back to school, retrained himself, and has been integral in creating small, portable water purification systems that can clean 750 gallons of water per hour.
The Clean Water Foundation has now teamed up with World Vision to install 20 machines in schools and hospitals in Latin America. They have lofty goals for the future. They won’t be satisfied until they install at least 60 machines worldwide.
Clean water has become an expectation in America, but in many countries it’s still a pipe dream. If you would like more information on the Clean Water Foundation or can help in any way, please visit
Leon McLaughlin
Paul Boggs
Tess Henley
Carson Henley
Photographer: John Rudolph
- BackBeat Seattle

"The Paula Boggs Band Blends Multiple Influences at Coffee Gallery Matinee"

The lead singer, guitarist, ukulele player Boggs and her band blend elements of jazz, Americana and rock. The band describes itself as “Seattle-Brewed Soulgrass,” a sound that has received critical high fives around the country. - Pasadena Weekly

"Paula Boggs Band to Rock Lynnwood Stage"

Paula Boggs is on her fourth career — and rocking it in her typical style.
An Army airborne veteran, corporate attorney, social activist, and now eclectic singer/songwriter/rocker — Boggs and her six-piece band traverse jazz, folk, rock and Americana, and are bringing their stylings to the Treehouse Café at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 for a 21-and-older performance. - Bainbridge Island Review

"Paula Boggs Band Releases “Mistletoe & Shiny Guitars”"

Paula Boggs Band has released a stunning new holiday track, “Mistletoe & Shiny Guitars.” LISTEN HERE. The six-piece Soulgrass group celebrates the song’s release on the road, as they finish up their west coast tour with stops in Altadena, CA, Bainbridge Island, WA and Port Townsend, WA. Full tour routing below. For tickets and additional information, please visit:
Produced by Ryan Hadlock (Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers) with special guest Darren Lucas on mandolin, the song was recorded this past summer at Bear Creek Studio near Seattle. Front woman Paula Boggs originally wrote “Mistletoe & Shiny Guitars” as part of the Acoustic Guitar Project©, which selects songwriters from around the world and gives them a week to write a song on a shared acoustic guitar.
The band then took the stripped-down solo version and fleshed out the tune with mandolin, banjo, accordion, bass, drums and percussion, along with gorgeous three-part vocal harmonies and, of course, sleigh bells! The result is a warm, uplifting take on the holiday spirit, inspired by a bus ride that Boggs took through Seattle during last year’s holiday season.
Paula Boggs Band is Paula Boggs (lead vocals), Mark Chinen (guitar & banjo), Jarrett Mason (bass & vocals), Tor Dietrichson (percussion & vocals), Paul Matthew Moore (piano, accordion, & vocals), and Jacob Evans (drums). - Guitar Girl Magazine

"Paula Boggs Band — Elixir: The Soulgrass Sessions Review"

Paula Boggs Band - Elixir: The Soulgrass Sessions Review
When Paula Boggs is brought up, it's impossible not to think about her biography before getting into her music. A former army paratrooper, lawyer for Starbucks, VP for Dell, and most recently, a member of the President's Committee on the Arts & Humanities (PCAH), Boggs left all of that behind to pursue music full time. However, this does not mean that she is giving up on making a difference in the world.

Songs have been political as long as both have existed in this world, especially in the world of country music. Whether it's as conservative as Toby Keith's Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue or as liberal as Jason Isbell's White Man's World, most artist's are proud to take their stance on the political spectrum.

Boggs manages to promote her protests in this album, labeled with the genre "Soulgrass," which, as one would guess, is bluegrass and soul. Thankfully, for the sake of not dividing an audience, it doesn't focus on the bad from one side of the aisle. The lyrics focus on bringing attention to subjects that deserve attention. The lyrics are meant to mend, not demean.
Her song Benediction is the biggest example of this, which was written in honor of the nine lives lost in the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina church shooting. It is written to remind us that we must honor those lost and become a stronger community, not focus on the evildoer.
Need to light a candle
Need to bow my head
Toll a bell for Charleston
Nine black beauties dead
You may say it’s hatred
Some may call it sin
All I know, by grace of God
The devil will not win
The primary focus of this album, also exemplified in Get Along Song, seems to be that we need to unite as a country. The political divide is the worst I have ever seen it, with extremes on both sides eclipsing the media, when the majority of this country understand that unity is what we need to thrive.
Everybody seems to have answers
Every day's a parade
Of people pushing any agenda
That promises a shot at front page

What the hell became of communion?
How the hell did you get so smug
To think we know so much from so little
And the most a stranger gets is a shrug?



Elixir: The Soulgrass Sessions is now available. - Country Hodgepodge Podcast

"100 Bands in 100 Days Presented by Verity Credit Union — Day 62: Paula Boggs Band"

Music fans of the Pacific Northwest, get ready for our fourth annual year-end daily local music showcase, 100 Bands in 100 Days, where every day until December 31st, we’re showcasing a new band or artist you have to know about, presented by Verity Credit Union.

Make sure you are checking the #100Bands100Days hashtag at Twitter on the daily to stay on top of all the bands featured and make sure to follow Verity on Twitter and NW_Music_Scene as well. Some days the featured act could be an established and locally-adored northwest-based musician and other times they could be a band with a small following that just hasn’t had their deserved time in the sun yet. Either way, we’re fairly confident you can come away from this daily segment with plenty of new favorites. Today’s featured artist is Paula Boggs Band.

A few months ago we reviewed the latest album from a Seattle band with a sound all their own, the Paula Boggs Band. They mix in a little bit of everything for a delicious audio blend they like to call Seattle-Brewed-Soulgrass.

Here’s some of what we said about the album in our review:

The 11-song collection mixes political-minded calls to action with love songs and personal reflection, much of which is given what they call the ‘soulgrass treatment,” of using primarily acoustic instruments and voices. It isn’t all throwback neo-folk though, as the band does venture into blues and roots rock on several tunes, but the center is all about sweet harmonies. The opening track is a Memphis soul styled tribute to the pre-digital era of FM radio and the name sake pop band “Goo Goo Dolls.” The soul grass then kicks in with the light strums of banjo from Mark Chinen and accordion from Paul Matthew Moore to accompany Boggs’ throaty alto on the softly swinging “Gypsy Sapphire,” that segues into the lover’s lament tone poem “Rear View Mirror.”

Neo-soul vocalist Mycle Wastman trades lines with Boggs on the verses and the Total Experience Gospel Choir joins the chorus on the expansive ode to those lost in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and powerful alter call to action “Benediction.”

The full acoustic treatment is given to a cover of the Bon Iver song “Holocene,” with clever use of banjo, triangle and strings to replace synthetic EDM sounds. Timely topics and questions and a plea to heal the world on the longing track “Peel The Charade,” then the mood lightens for the Dixieland call for unity “We All Fall Down.” The joyous instrumental “Two Daughters,” allows the players to show off their considerable chops. Boggs continues her crusade with the direct to the point message of “The Get Along Song,” and then call for self-examination on the challenging track “Sleep Walking.” Boggs then closes the album with an intriguing notion that music has the power to both heal and hurt you and thus is a fickle mistress and dubs her the “Original Sin.” - Northwest Music Scene

"Paula Boggs Band — Holocene (Video)"

The Holocene is the name of the time period that spans from 11,700 years ago to the present. That is, everything that has happened since the Ice Age. The movements and creations of humanity included. It’s a big concept, and — like this cover of Bon Iver’s moving song — one that warrants rounds of thought and re-exploration.
Paula Boggs Band reopens the song with a banjo and Paula Boggs’ folky, bluesy voice. Instead of Bon Iver’s ethereal blends, these musicians ground their version in the body. Boggs’ voice is raw and at the forefront, and in the clip, people stretch and bend amidst trees. In her imagining, the song is opened up and raw, whereas the original is deeper and to be sifted through. It’s a successful cover that shifts genre as though it’s effortless.
The natural world is always present in the clip for “Holocene”, but the focus is on the slowed down movements of the dancers and the creation of the music. Again, Paula Boggs Band brings an openness to the art. Nothing is hidden, but everything is delicate and filled with intention.
“Holocene” comes from Paula Boggs Band’s third album, Elixir – The Soulgrass Sessions, which was released on September 15th, 2017. To hear more from Paula Boggs Band, you can check out the website, Facebook page, and SoundCloud. You can also follow the band on Twitter.
- - New Sick Music

"Life Chapters: An Interview withSinger-Songwriter Boggs"

Paula Boggs has worn more than a few hats in her lifetime, a musician and songwriter logging in a decade now as the front-woman for the Paula Boggs band, a lawyer, a former federal prosecutor, and an Army Airborne veteran. Up until this year, when she and other members decided to resign, she was also a longstanding member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, originally appointed by President Obama. Boggs has spent a lifetime in service in various fields and capacities, but it is with music that one feels the soul speak through those life chapters. As Paula puts it: "Music is our best shot at “hearing” each other." On the bands new album Elixir: The Soulgrass Sessions, the call to connection, action and human understanding is poignantly at work through each of the songs, and if ever there were a time when such music was necessary, it is now. "Every day is a canvas" and we must use our brush well, if the surface happens to be our world what would you want to see reflected back at you, truth, beauty, love, understanding? These are the themes threading through Boggs' vast musical book, the life chapters lead one to a present not just born of experience, but of a lot of hope too; "I’ve now lived through enough freakout moments to know the sun will rise the next day," Paula says, adding: "It’ll rise for you too."

AHC: What has this journey in music, so far, been like for you, the highs and the lows, and what life lessons do you feel you've picked up along the way? 

Paula: My music journey has life chapters.  Exposure to music came early through the rhythm and blues I heard at home, to the Catholic folk music at school and my dad’s church, to the more solemn traditional minor chord music also at St. Joseph’s, to the gospel music of my mom’s African Methodist Episcopal faith.  Though I started playing piano at age 6, by 10 I’d found a passion for guitar and songwriting.  

During my teen years in Europe where my mom taught, I continued to write music, performing in choirs, talent show or a music event, but I also got exposure to more classical music, jazz, European folk music, Armed Forces Network top 40 music and euro-rock.  Returning to the U.S. for college exposed me to new and diverse music, including Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen — and living in Berkeley, CA after that exposed me to more.  

Throughout this time I played in and sometimes wrote music for folk mass and found my way to an open mic from time to time until I stopped — partly due to leaving the Catholic Church and also because a law career consumed more of me year over year. Though I didn’t consider it “low” as I was going through it, not playing or writing music for 15 years was my music “low” and I’m living the “high” right now.  I’ve never felt more free to write and share music than right now.

AHC: What first drew you to music and what was your early musical environment like growing up? Were there pivotal songs for you then that just floored you the moment you heard them?

Paula: I don’t remember a time without music.  My dad in particular was very musical.  He played sax and was a cantor.  Jerry Butler’s “Moon River” is the first song I recall and I was likely 2 or 3 when I first heard it. The nuns at my Catholic school were smitten by Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul & Mary, etc. so I was hearing that from first grade on along with the folk mass music of the day.   Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” floored me the first time I heard it — the chord progressions, it’s poetry, it’s message, the weaving of their voices — and 50 years later, Disturbed floored me again by covering it.  

AHC: What do you think makes for a good song, as you're writing and composing, is there a sudden moment when you know you've found the right mix, that perfect angle of light, so to speak? 

Paula: A “good” song communicates something impactful to the listener.  On our latest album, “Elixir, The Soulgrass Sessions” we have songs that tell traditional stories, those that convey messages that can be received more than one way, songs that through words, melody and arrangement set a mood or evoke a visceral state and those that tell a story solely through instruments. For me, writing inspiration comes from a variety of places — a newspaper article, a triggering personal life event or empathy for another’s, something random while walking, people-watching at Starbucks; it’s all fair game.

AHC: Do you consider music to be a type of healing art, a slightly imperfect vehicle through which to translate a feeling, states of rupture/rapture, hope lost and regained? Does the writing and creating of the song save you in the kinds of ways that it saves us, the listener?

Paula: I don’t think music always heals.  Some music irritates or agitates me. It makes me uncomfortable. Some music I can only listen to at certain times of day; it’s almost like consuming too much caffeine. The music I write can be frustrating when I’m stuck but mostly it’s healing for me. It’s sometimes the only way I can express something. It becomes my translator. It can take on friend-like qualities.  My number one goal in writing is to be authentic.  That comes before worrying about whether anyone, even me, likes it.  We humans sometimes hear through song what we fail to hear through spoken or written word.  Music is primal.  We all have a relationship with it and so in that way, it is truly a universal language. 

AHC: What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town? On-tour, on-the-road?

Paula: There are many but here are a few. My fondest music memories as a little kid are of my siblings and I performing the Staples Singers “O Happy Day” to family friends and others or me driving to school with my dad and hearing Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” or The New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral” on the radio and knowing all the words. In 9th grade I spent a week in a German castle with other American kids, Germans, Canadians and Brits. At the beginning of the week none of us knew the music but by Friday night we gave a recital of works like Handel’s Messiah and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. In 9th grade I was chosen by the senior class to sing and play Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changing” at their graduation ceremony and I sang and played an original song at my own.  While living in Berkeley, I attended The Rolling Stones “Tattoo You” concert in Candlestick Park. Hands down, the most amazing experience I’ve had as a touring musician happened in Charleston, SC last June when we premiered our song “Benediction” with the Mother Emanuel AME Choir on the second anniversary of their church massacre.

AHC: You give credence and are dedicated to the fact that the political is personal and that we all bear responsibility for the fabric of our world, our country, our town. As you sing in Sleepwalking, "Every day is a canvas... grab that brush and use it well," do you find music uniquely situated to carry a message that is able to soar beyond our usual defenses and plant seeds, hopefully, of a more open, responsive and sustainable world?

Paula: Music is our best shot at “hearing” each other.  Paul Simon wrote about this in “The Sounds of Silence.” When Paula Boggs Band sings “Sleepwalking” my hope is our music uplifts while also sending the message “all of us must have skin in this game” to make it better.

AHC: Your new record, Elixir: The Soulgrass Sessions, is an incredible mix of themes that I think is unified by love; protest, faith, the struggles and arc of a life, seem tied in to an ineradicable sense of connection that must be rekindled in our age of rapid disconnection and fraying. "I don't have answers and I can't pretend, but I know that we need each other just to mend and reset how the game is played" as you sing in "Peel the Charade," is an important reminder to the fact that no one really goes it alone. Do you find love, universal perhaps because first born on a smaller scale, to be one of the guiding lights on this record? What were your inspirations going into this latest record and your overall feelings about its final form?

Paula: I think love is universal and we need to find paths to empathize with each other within the United States and beyond.  For Earth to survive I don’t think we have the luxury of doing something different.  Life has taken me many places and my journey teaches me we are more alike than different.  There are folks I know who see the world differently in myriad ways.  One of them, from high school, is on the polar opposite end of the political spectrum, but he drove 4 hours to see us play in Philadelphia —someone I reconnected with on Facebook but had not seen in a generation plus. We are different races; he calls me his “sister.” I don’t often “agree” with him but I “see” him. The music I wrote, the song “Two Daughters” our banjo player/guitarist Mark Chinen wrote and our decision to cover Bon Iver’s “Holocene” were inspired by deep “love,” concern and “wonder.” We wanted to create something bigger than ourselves, something authentic, something enduring, something artistically excellent. With the help of producer/engineer Trina Shoemaker and Robert Lang Studios each of us dug deep within ourselves to make this record.  I’ll never forget Trina asking me “where did you go?” after she heard me sing the second verse in “Holocene.” Time will tell whether this work endures and the listener will judge its excellence.  It is though bigger than the sum of our parts and it is authentic.

AHC: Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for other musicians and singer-songwriters out there who are just starting out and trying to find their voice and their way in this world? What are the kinds of things that you tell yourself when you begin to have doubts or are struggling with the creative process? Or what kinds of things have others told you that have helped push you past moments of self doubt/creative blocks?

Paula: A lifetime ago, jumping out of perfectly well-functioning planes, I learned it’s OK to be afraid.  Sometimes fear is extremely rational.  What sometimes separates those paralyzed by fear from others is what we do with it.  Every day I wake up not knowing if there’s another song in me.  Song ideas come to me randomly; there’s no method to it. Sometimes it’s melody first and sometimes it’s prose.  I am very fortunate to have a  life partner who believes in me unflinchingly when others don’t.  It’s a gift to have played with Sandy Greenbaum, Mark Chinen and Tor Dietrichson 10 years.  That stability fuels the creative process.  It’s hard to make a living in music and I’ve learned to augment what I earn in music with other jobs.  Though that mix is different for each member of Paula Boggs Band, we all do it. Things go wrong. A string breaks. Amps don’t work.  The sound guy doesn’t show up.  A member of the band bails.  I’ve now lived through enough freakout moments to know the sun will rise the next day. It’ll rise for you too.

For more visit - Anti-Heroin Chic


Single, “Mistletoe & Shiny Guitars” (2018), Album”Elixir, The Soulgrass Sessions” (2017), EP “Live at Empty Sea” (2017), Album "Carnival of Miracles" (2015), Single "Look Straight Ahead Remix, featuring J. Pinder (2015) Track "Miss Ruby Kirby Blues" on Bongo Boy Records  Backroom Blues Vol. 1 Album Compilation (2016), Album "A Buddha State of Mind" (2010), Track "Someone Else" on Seattle Songwriters Collective Compilation Album (2006), Track "Peel the Charade" on Bringing Water to the World Compilation Album (2010), Track "A Buddha State of Mind Live" on Songwriters in Seattle 2012 Compilation Album (2012).



The 6-piece Paula Boggs Band traverse jazz, bluegrass, blues, rock and Americana. They released debut album "A Buddha State of Mind" in 2010 and "Carnival of Miracles," produced by Grammy-winning Trina Shoemaker in 2015. Their sound is "Seattle-Brewed Soulgrass," the band performs nationally, has appeared on TV, performs on radio live in-studio and is the subject of several radio interviews, podcasts, blogs and articles. The band released a live EP of consciousness songs and album "Elixir, The Soulgrass Sessions, also produced by Shoemaker in 2017. Single "Benediction" from that album was released on the second anniversary of the Charleston, SC church murders in a live performance with Mother Emanuel AME Choir at Charleston Music Hall. Boggs was one of 5 Seattle area songwriters invited to participate in 2017's The Acoustic Guitar Project. One Guitar. One Week. One Song and wrote "Mistletoe and Shiny Guitars." The band is a Breedlove Guitars and Radial Engineering artist, returned to play at NAMM January 2018 and released a band version of single ”Mistletoe & Shiny Guitars” in November 2018.

"Here is a group, lead by a consummate pro, that dared take Music to a wholly alternative place; and doing it with the traditional acoustic instruments of an era gone by...the perfect example of freedom of expression in  Music. No labels, no niches, no fitting into standard spaces. Therein lies the creative genius of The Paula Boggs Band.  Outstanding work!

Matthew Gillian, Retired Radio Broadcaster/Personality

Former Host of Opry Star Spotlight

650AM WSM, Nashville, TN

Band Members