Big Shades - Big Bio
Acoustic TropRock with a Key West Feel -
Your Cabin Fever Reliever!
The songline of Warren “Big Papa” Harman has followed an unpredictable path. He started playing mom’s acoustic guitar at age 11 and went on to learn bass, drums, keyboards and ukulele. When the song “Fins” was released, he immediately went out to buy the 45 for his ever expanding record collection. His first experience with parrot head culture was when his college professor insisted he listen to some bootlegged Buffett while working as a teaching assistant. Up until that time his main musical influences were the Eagles, Bob Seger and George Thorogood.
After college he started playing bass for several cover bands in the North Country of upstate NY. In order to afford a small sound system for the band, he started Harmony Entertainment Mobile DJ Service in 1993 and went on to perform for hundreds of formal events.
The next adventure was being the proprietor of a small town pub on an island just north of the Adirondack Mountains. This beautiful location deepened his appreciation for wildlife and environmental causes. It was at Harman’s Colton Tavern that he met more parrot heads and began his long obsession with everything Jimmy Buffett recorded or wrote. This led to an interest in Key West and eventually to developing his Big Papa persona. The Escape Key Band was developed when a lack of local musicians made it difficult to get a band started. The combination of acoustic guitar teamed with backing tracks made it possible to be a solo act playing as a full band. Big Papa & The Escape Key Band was born.
In 2010 he made his first journey to Key West with his family to experience Meeting of the Minds where he met the Coral Reefers and several Trop Rock Artists. The Casa Marina Beach photoshoot ended up as cover art for “Big Escape” album. He spent 2014-15 working at SkyCow Studios to produce the BP&EKB debut trop rock album, “Big Escape.” During that time he happened to meet up with Trop Rock DJ Don Da Pyrate Winfield at a Boat Drunks concert. The friendship developed to the point where the pilot for the “Big Papa Show from Escape Key” was sent to The Shore for approval. Big Papa was quickly signed to the station in an exclusive deal with a weekly Trop Rock show and daily spots highlighting new Tropical Music on a segment called “The Next Wave.”
It wasn't long before the backing band morphed into an organic combination of real people sitting in and looping beats and rhythm guitar. Gone are the days of an electronic "Coconut Pete" style band. EKB became a growing list of living breathing musician friends who helped along the way. Fans became known as "Escapees" and the songline became more about enjoying every moment and living in the present.
The next chapter in this crazy life includes a new LEAD PAN DRUM from Trinidad tuned at Panyard. The solo act includes Steel pan over BeatBuddy drums synched with live-looped acoustic guitar. Solo, duo or trio versions of EKB are something to see and hear.
What a long strange trip it's been.
Stay tuned for updates as we CELEBRATE LIFE with BIG PAPA.