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Get A Buzz With Beecraft’s Fresh But Familiar Sound

Five months after the breakup of Mama’s Dogma, four members of Spokane’s popular jam-rock band are making their return to the spotlight.

They return with a new band, a new guitar player and a new focus. Or rather, a more experimental focus.

“Our whole concept is to really focus on this creative music, to really explore different kinds of music,” says drummer Scott Goodwin of the five-man band that now goes by the name BeeCraft.

“Anything goes up there,” says percussionist Bob Rees.

BeeCraft makes its public debut tonight at Ichabod’s North.

The group includes former Dogma members Rees, Scott Goodwin, Scott’s brother Don Goodwin on keyboards and Colby Davis on bass. Jamie Zyskowski joins them on guitar.

Mama’s Dogma formed in 1995 and quickly became a Spokane favorite thanks to their groovy dance beat and a rock/jazz/Latin-flecked sound unique to the Inland Northwest.

But earlier this year, four of the members split ways with frontman/guitarist/singer Kelly Vance after a difference in opinion over where to take the group.

“We had a killer time with Mama’s Dogma and we made some great music, but as far as the long-term goals were concerned, we wanted more,” Scott says. “It’s just a difference of direction; no one was right and no one was wrong.”

Since the breakup, the remaining members have forged ahead, practicing and performing to small groups in a garage. They enlisted Zyskowski on guitar to create a sound that centers on intricate instrumentation while retaining a trippy beat stocked with tension and release emotions.

If Mama’s Dogma was more of a rock/jazz band, then BeeCraft is more of a jazz/rock band. Think Phish, think Medeski Martin and Wood. These guys are talented musicians who not only like to jam, but do it well.

The Goodwin brothers, along with Rees, graduated from Eastern Washington University with music degrees. Zyskowski previously performed in a jazz trio.

With both a drummer and a percussionist laying on the beat, BeeCraft weaves a lavish web of rhythm that - while complex - manages not to be overdone.

“Bob and I fit together in a way that’s pretty special,” Scott says. “I play more the role of a timekeeper, like really setting the groove and making sure everybody is in line like a drill sergeant. And Bob is like Mr. Tasty. He never overplays. He’s really a patient player and he has a lot of great technique.”

With the exit of Vance as a lead singer, the guys realize that vocals are not their strongest point.

“That’s the thing we have to work the hardest on,” Scott says.

Although they looked for a singer at first, the fivesome was so comfortable with their lineup they decided to give it a go themselves - splitting the vocal work amongst them.

“We’re taking this on as a big challenge, like we can do this as a team,” Scott says.

To that end, Scott, Don Goodwin and Zyskowski take the mike most often. Davis raps one song.

“When they said ‘rap,’ I thought no way, I’m not going to do any kind of rap,” Rees says. “But we tried it and I’m really pleased with the song. You have to be experimental up there just to make sure that all your ideas are being pursued.”

Band members admit the former popularity of Mama’s Dogma looms over their heads a bit.

“We’ve talked about it and think there might be some people that like the other band better and that’s fine, we’ve accepted that,” Rees says. However, “This is an opportunity to do what we wanted to do, but do it better.”

And although the music is different, Scott says he hopes that fans who liked Mama’s Dogma will make the leap with BeeCraft.

“I think there’s a growing audience that’s appreciating different styles of music.”

Catch BeeCraft at Ichabod’s tonight. Capsule opens the show at 9:30. Cover is $4.

BeeCraft also will perform at the Bayou next Friday with Tiana opening, and for the next four Sundays at the Blue Dolphin, located in the Valley at 16 S. Robie.

With BeeCraft, the Blue Dolphin has begun hosting live original bands on Sundays with drink specials for their fans. Kristy White will open this Sunday’s BeeCraft show at 8 p.m. reading from her poetry. Cover is $2.

Gravity force

It’s artwork. It’s poetry. It’s a diary. It’s a CD.

The first musical release by a band called Kite finds all four fused into a kind of eye, mind and ear adventure.

The album, titled “Gravity,” is the culmination of four years of work by Michael Koep and Scott Clarkson of Coeur d’Alene, Monte Thompson of Sandpoint and Doug Smith of Spokane.

Thompson first began writing the album’s music after receiving a book of poetry from Koep, a literature student and member of longtime band Manito.

“Mike handed me this book of poetry he’d been working on. I read through it and two pieces combined became a song called ‘Tremor,”’ Thompson says. “He kept on feeding me words and music kept coming out of me.”

“Gravity” ranges from a Jim Croce-esque ballad, to a jazzy lounge number, to potent Rush/Yes wallops. As drummer Koep says, “It goes from extreme intensity to barely moving.”

But “Gravity” is much more than a standardissue album. Released in a box set, it includes 70 pages of a journal Koep kept while working on the project. It also contains a booklet with the lyrics and full-color original artwork painted by Koep for each of the songs.

The group was inspired to tackle this kind of concept album by their love for old records.

“You used to open those old vinyl records and you’d see lyrics with some sort of visual accompaniment,” Koep says. “That was always really pleasing because you’d listen to the songs and study the lyrics and look at the painting and you’d start to wonder where the artist’s head was. We decided we wanted to do something very similar and idealistic like that.”

Currently, Kite is a studio group only and does not perform live. However, on Sunday their album will be released in a kind of CD party/art showing at Eichardt’s in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Stations will be set up for each song on the album. Those who attend will be able to put headphones on and listen to each song while reading the lyrics and looking at the art work that goes with that song.

To attend please call either (208) 666-0906 or (208) 664-3861 for reservations. There is no cover charge. Show starts at 8 p.m.

“Gravity” will be available at The Long Ear in Coeur d’Alene and Ground Zero in Sandpoint or, for a sample, jump onto the Internet at

Other entertainment options

Blues guitarman Sherman Robertson puts on a show at the outdoor Tubs Cafe Blues Garden in Coeur d’Alene Saturday and Sunday.

A Texas bluesman who has performed with the likes of Paul Simon, Albert Collins and B.B. King, Robertson wraps elements of soul, jazz and rock around his swampy rhythm.

Shows start at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Cover is $10.

From Encinitas, Calif., comes a group of down-home rockers called Sauce. With bluegrass, funk and blues tossed in with the rock, Sauce mixes it up at the Fort Spokane Brewery Thursday. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $4.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo