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Paul Allen And The Underthinkers: Everywhere At Once

Mircrosoft founder makes guest-star-studded debut.

His fortune may have been made forging a new frontier in the digital world but Allen’s musical tastes stay avowedly traditional. With proceeds benefiting the EMP Hendrix museum he set up in his native Seattle, the computer magnate’s power, influence and connections come clear on this debut – he gets to flex his axeman skills in stellar company.

Heart sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, Ivan Neville and Chrissie Hynde take the vocal leads, Los Lobos/Dylan associate David Hidalgo is a constant presence throughout, as is co producer and Allen’s songwriting accomplice Doyle Bramhall. The result is a solid and respectable run-through of genres – country ballad, grinding blues rockers, soul vamps.

While the epic Pictures Of A Dream builds forcefully through its seven minutes, the derivative but all-original songs leave the memory centre untroubled. The predictable impression of a rich man’s plaything cast with superior company remains.

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.