thanks for the vote of confidence!
I may end up doing that...but the drywall is already up (and taped and mudded). So I had planned on making up the difference with plaster. For the small holes in the walls (old outlets, etc), I have been using drywall and compound...and will follow up with primer mixed with sand.
It's just these larger areas where the soffits were removed. I'd say about 60% of those areas will be covered by new cabinets, but there's plenty that will still be visible.
I'll try a paint specialty store to see what they can offer. HD doesn't seem to have what I'm looking for.