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‘They need support now more than ever’: Allen Stone, Pearl Jam unite with event to help Washington state clubs

When strolling through Sea-Tac Airport, travelers are greeted by a friendly, sonorous voice.

“Hello, this is Allen Stone, and welcome to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport,” is the start of a message by the Spokane singer-songwriter, who not only lived in the Emerald City during the previous decade, but also showcased material at the airport during a variety of events.

“That (recorded announcement) is my biggest hit,” Stone cracked while chatting from his South Hill home. The charismatic R&B and soul-singer is Spokane’s lone contribution to the Band Together Washington fundraising event scheduled for 7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday on Keep Music Live’s website and YouTube and Facebook pages.

“I’m thrilled to be part of it,” said Stone, who was born in Chewelah. “It’s for a great cause. We have to keep music alive, and the way to do that is to keep the venues throughout the state of Washington alive. I hope a lot of people check out the show. It’s an amazing group of musicians who are taking part in the event.”

The star-studded lineup, which hopes to raise money and awareness for Washington music venues, includes Pearl Jam, Brandi Carlile, the Foo Fighters, the Presidents of the United States of America, Jeremy Enigk, Kathleen Hanna, Duff McKagan and Neko Case, among many other recording artists.

Sir Mix-a-Lot and Rachel Flotard will host Band Together Washington, which also is set to include appearances by celebrities including Joel McHale and Rainn Wilson. Each recording artist has recently prerecorded a song for the benefit.

Stone cut his tune at Lucky You Lounge, which is owned by Karli Ingersoll. “We’ve been working a lot with Allen lately, and we were more than happy to have him record at Lucky You,” Ingersoll said. “This is so important, and Allen is representing Spokane.”

Music fans can donate while experiencing the free virtual livestream event that ties together Eastern and Western Washington. “We are so thankful to see our community rally together to support the small, independently owned music venues in Washington state,” said Manny Cawaling, board president for Keep Music Alive.

“Many of the artists participating in Band Together Washington got their start in these small venues. Band Together Washington will be a celebration of Washington’s live music culture and its future.”

Stone hopes music fans gain an understanding of how difficult it is to keep venues open even during the best of times. “Communities need to support these businesses,” Stone said, noting Lucky You and Seattle’s Crocodile work hard to keep people entertained in spite of budget constraints.

“Without them, you will not have musicians coming into town. They need support now more than ever. Every music fan in Washington should check out Band Together. It’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to catching up with Sir Mix-a-Lot and just watching what they put together. It’s going to be an entertaining show that’s so important.”

Stone is also thinking about what he’ll do post-pandemic and what the music scene will be like.

“I’m trying to figure out how to pivot from here,” Stone said. “Karli is doing the same, but I think the future looks bright in so many ways. There’s so much musical talent here in Spokane that should be tapped. I’m so glad to be back here after living in Seattle. I love Seattle, but Spokane is home. There’s no place like it, and I’m looking forward to the music scene here expanding.

“I really believe that when the pandemic ends, it’s going to be like the Roaring ‘20s. We’ll be seeing some amazing things, and I want to be right there making a ruckus. But in the meantime, we still have to navigate through this pandemic since it’s not over yet. We have to keep the venues alive, or where will we all perform? ”

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