Founders Award 2016 Performers

An annual fundraiser to benefit MoPOP's youth programs, the Founders Award features legendary performers who have made substantial contributions to the field of music.

These star musicians will put on an unforgettable concert to pay tribute to Joe Walsh’s musical career:


Kenny Wayne Shepherd is widely considered to be one of the best blues/rock guitarists today. The Louisiana-born axman and songsmith has sold millions of albums worldwide while throwing multiple singles onto the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound. In a 20-year recording career that began when he was sixteen, Shepherd’s musical resume is impressive, with five GRAMMY® nominations and seven #1 albums on the Billboard Charts. Additionally, he and his friends Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash) and Barry Goldberg (The Electric Flag) formed a side project called The RIDES and have released two critically acclaimed CDs, Can’t Get Enough in 2013 and Pierced Arrow in 2016.


Robert Randolph & The Family Band first gained national attention with the release of their debut album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The band followed with three studio recordings over the next eight years: Unclassified, Colorblind, and We Walk This Road, which, together with tireless touring and unforgettable performances at such festivals as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, won them a very passionate fan base. Randolph’s unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list and also gained the attention of artists like Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, The Roots, and Jack White, who have since collaborated with Randolph on stage and in the studio. Look out for his new album Got Soul, out February 2017 on Sony Masterworks.


One of music's most distinctive vocalists, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paul Rodgers' passion is writing and performing. For a man who prefers to keep a low profile, he has left his indelible mark on music with 95 million albums sold and 30 albums released to date. Recipient of Britain's prestigious Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and an honorary doctorate of Letters in Literature from England's #1-ranked Teesside University, Dr. Rodgers story began in 1968.

Launched in England his three bands—Free, Bad Company, and The Firm with Jimmy Page—have experienced worldwide success. He was voted by Rolling Stone readers as the #3 greatest voice in rock, and enjoys a Grammy-nominated, international recording and touring solo career today. He has written, co-written, and recorded many chart topping anthems including "All Right Now," "Feel Like Makin' Love," "Bad Company," "Shooting Star,” "Radioactive," and more. International Journalist Mick Wall writes, "Everyone knows that Paul Rodgers is one of the greatest singers in the world. What they are only just waking up to is that there may never be another like him."


A Wizard, a True Star, the title of Todd Rundgren's 1973 solo album aptly sums up the contributions of this multifaceted artist to state-of-the-art music. As a songwriter, video pioneer, producer, recording artist, computer software developer, conceptualist, and interactive artist (redesignated TR-i), Rundgren has made a lasting impact on both the form and content of popular music.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and front Nazz, the quintessential 60's cult group. In 1969 he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut offering, the legendary Runt. But it was 1972's seminal Something/Anything?, on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, that catapulted Todd into the superstar limelight, prompting the press to unanimously dub him “rock's new wunderkind.” It was followed by such landmark LPs as The Hermit of Mink Hollow and the above mentioned A Wizard, a True Star, as well as such hit singles as “I Saw the Light,” “Hello It's Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends,” and “Bang the Drum All Day.”

In 1974 Todd formed Utopia, an entirely new approach to the concept of interactive musicianship, and embarked on an extensive round of touring and recording. Standout Utopia offerings included Oops! Wrong Planet, Adventures in Utopia, and Oblivion. Along the way, Utopia combined technical virtuosity and creative passion to create music that, for millions, defined the term "progressive rock."

Rundgren's myriad production projects include albums by Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, Meatloaf, XTC, Grand Funk Railroad, and Hall & Oates. Rounding out his reputation as rock's Renaissance man, Rundgren composed all the music and lyrics for Joe Papp's 1989 Off Broadway production of Joe Orton's Up Against It (originally commissioned by The Beatles for what was meant to have been their third motion picture). He has also composed the music for a number of television series, including Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Crime Story.

In 2012 Rundgren performed his iconic 1973 album A Wizard, a True Star in concert in its entirety for the first time ever and last year did the same with a double bill of the albums Todd and Healing. His most recent studio album, Global, was released in April 2015; his next studio album is set for release in Spring 2017. He continues to tour with Ringo Starr as an erstwhile member of the All-Starr Band and to perform with symphony orchestras both domestically and internationally.

In 1998 Todd debuted his new PatroNet technology which for the first time allowed fans of a musical artist to subscribe directly to the artist’s musical output via the internet.

A special thank you to the generous sponsors and supporters of the 2016 Founders Award Celebration:







Boeing / Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. / Citi Private Bank / Dana Frank / Maria Mackey Gunn / Seattle Seahawks / J. Alain Smith / Sorrento Hotel / Parker Smith & Feek / Visit Seattle / Vulcan, Inc. / Wells Fargo Private Bank


Jeff and Jen Bianco / Buster Brown / Mark Chiappara / Captain Keith Colburn /Steven and Stephanie Crosby / Lauren and Dick Donner / Experience Hendrix L.L.C. /Bonnie Forbes / Beth Golder and Kerry McNeil / Charles and Cellene Graham / Joan Kelly / Clark Kokich and Lisa Strain / Afshan and Amin Lakha / Tracie Mayer /Dot Nakama  / Ed Pierson, Attorney at Law / Provenance Hotels / Jon Shirley and Kim Richter / Jonathan and Maarit Visbal


14 Hands Winery / Alaska Airlines / Andrew Will Winery / Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. / Concord Bicycle Music and Fantasy / CORT Party Rentals / Gibson USA / Glass Distillery / Pedersen's Event Rentals Portland Trail Blazers / The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter / Seattle Seahawks / Sennheiser Electronic Company / Sparkle Donkey Tequila / Westland Distillery