KIRO Radio's Josh Kerns talks local music
Seattle Sounds
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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen gets the backing of Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and others on his major label debut being released this August. (EMP image)

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen gets Heart, Chrissie Hynde, others for new album

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is adding another accomplishment to his lengthy resume: major label recording artist. And he's got some big name backing making sure the record rocks.

The billionaire has just wrapped up his major label debut with his band The Underthinkers. "Everywhere At Once" features contributions from the likes of Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Joe Walsh, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Ivan Neville, and others.

Word of the album came Wednesday from Legacy Recordings, which will release what it calls a "13-song program of blues-based rock nuggets" August 6.

It's hardly a lark for the lifetime musician. A rock songwriter and guitarist since his teens, Allen either wrote or co-wrote every track on "Everywhere At Once."

Allen plays electric guitar on "Straw Into Gold" (which features Ann and Nancy Wilson), "Six Strings From Hell" (which features Joe Walsh on vocals and slide guitar), and "Pictures Of a Dream." He also takes the guitar solos on "Down Low" and "Big Blue Raindrops," according to a news release.

Other guest appearances include Chrissie Hynde singing lead on "Rodeo," singer/songwriter/guitarist Doyle Bramhall II singing lead on "Cherries Fall," and Ian Neville sharing vocal duties with Wendy Moten on "Inside Out" and "Restless."

Allen's original music first got some notable attention last year when the track he co-wrote called "Divine" was used in the 2012 hit film "Magic Mike" starring Channing Tatum.

Allen's love of music led to his collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia that became the basis of his EMP Museum that opened in 2000. Allen has said the first concert he ever saw Hendrix at the Seattle Center Coliseum in 1969, fueling a lifetime passion for rock music.

"I've rarely gone a week without picking up a guitar," Allen wrote in his best selling memoir "Idea Man. "It's more than a hobby; it gives me balance and keeps me in the moment, which can be a challenge with all the projects I'm pursuing at any one time ... I take music with me wherever I go."

Allen's new album isn't his first. He released one independently in 2000 with his former band the Grown Men.

Allen has proven over the years he's got the chops to hang on stage with some of the biggest stars in rock and roll, more than holding his own with the likes of Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Bono and the Edge, and Robbie Robertson. He most recently impressed audiences with his guitar skills at an EMP concert honoring Hendrix.

"I'm still moved by the power of live music," Allen summed up in his book, "and I seek it out every chance I get."

Proceeds from the album will go to fund educational programs at EMP.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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