Paul Orta has fronted his band The Kingpins (a.k.a. The International Playboys) and various other groups around the world. He has played in the U.S.A., Spain, England, Ireland, France, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Russia, Portugal, Poland, Brazil, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark & The Netherlands. He has opened for B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Van Morrison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Junior Walker, James Cotton, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dennis Quaid band with Huey Lewis to name a few. Paul Orta is also on: see discography.
Paul Orta born in Port Arthur, Texas (hometown of Janice Joplin) was first influenced by Louis Armstrong at the age of 7. After 9 years of playing the coronet in the school band, Paul Orta quit because the band never played blues or Jazz. Within a half a year he picked up the Harmonica and in three months, he was in his first professional band (The Bayou Boogie Band) when he was 16. They played in Golden Triangle (southeast Texas) and Louisiana for three years.
In 1979 Paul Orta moved to Austin, Texas and he won Kerrville Folk Festival in 1980. Later he formed The Backdoor Men with Port Arthur native Bill Jones (guitar) and with help of Eddie Stout (bass) evolved into The Kingpins. Afterwards he entered the “Antones the University of the Blues”. Playing with blues greats as Jimmy Rogers, Snooky Pryor, Eddie Taylor, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Luther Tucker, Ted Harvey, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Pinetop Perkins, Wayne Benett, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Henry Grey and Robert Lockwood Jr. Everytime Snooky played at Antones annual festival he invited Paul Orta to play with him . Jimmy Roger also employed him as harp player for the festivals. One his favorite memories is was playing a weekly gig for 3 months with Sumlin (Howlin Wolf’s guitar player).
Paul Orta has also toured and recorded with Texas Guitar Tornado U.P. Wilson (U.S.A. and Europe). He can be heard on over a dozen albums and be heard on over 3 dozen different compilations and various albums in North & South America, Europe, Japan, Africa and Australia. In addition he has performed with second generation bluesmen like Kim Wilson, Derek O’Brian, Tommy Shannon and many others.
Past members of Paul Orta’s band have included Uncle John Turner (Johhny Winter), Keith Ferguson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds), Mike Kindred (Stevie Vaughn), Wesley Starr (Delbert McClinton), Jimmy Carl Black (Frank Zappa) and Freddie Waldon (Anson Funderburg and the Rockets).
He was also nominated “Texas Harmonica Tornado” by Buddy Magazine in 1987. Paul Orta has played at the Battle of the Harmonicas in San Francisco and the Texas Harmonica Rumble in Austin, Texas.
Hohner Harmonicas endorsed him in 1990 . He helped Kendrick Amplifiers design a amplifier called the “Texas Crude”. PaulOrta also is endorsed with The Harp Depot, Shaker Mic’s, The Amp Room, Tony Ramos Harps, Jimmy Gorden Harmonicas, Mauro Pionzio Harmonicas. In fact Paul Orta is one of the few harmonica players endorsed with both Hohner U.S.A., and Hohner Europe. He also designed his own special “slide harp” which allows one to play various postions on one harmonica.
Paul Orta also has worked as a producer for Ervin Charles “Greyhound Blues”, Wild Bill Pitre “I was raised on a farm” and “Shuffle with Lester” (with Lazy Lester).
He has also has been a and active promoter of “Blues in the Schools”. Paul Orta is also a songwriter whose songs have been covered by different groups around the world.
Paul Orta who has been based in most of the past decade in Europe is currently living in Port Arthur. At the moment he has been taking some time off the road, and working on several recordings to be released later this year 2009.