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by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & hough he shares almost nothing (neither musically nor thematically) with the Christo-indie mystics and troubadours (Dennison Witmer, Page France and Sufjan Stevens, etc.), DAVID BAZAN was, in many ways, their forbear. Less a spear point, though, than a kite shield, Bazan suffered considerable slings and arrows as he fought to gain foothold in a musical community uncomfortable with the idea of examining faith through a lens as snobbish and secular as pre-millennial indie rock.

He made inroads, though, with first band Pedro the Lion, giving believers and non-believers good fodder for intra-spiritual debate (infidelity, crises of faith, emotional instability, human imperfection). He humanized religion for sinners and problematized it for believers.

A decade of critical torment has turned him into something of an ideological reactionary, but he's lightened our load.

-- Luke Baumgarten

David Bazan with J. Wong at Whitworth's HUB on Thursday, March 15 at 9 pm. Tickets: $10; free, Whitworth students. Call 777-1000.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & F & lt;/span & or some reason, Season Five of American Idol is when the industry floodgates opened and almost everybody got a record deal. Of the six finalists who eventually landed major label recording deals, eighth-place finisher BUCKY COVINGTON is, without question, the least likely.

Sporting ratty, shaved-under, shoulder-length hair (pulled back into a ponytail no less) and sparse, pubey facial hair, Covington's look received as much criticism from judges as did his not-quite-there country/southern rock hybrid sound. A fiercely loyal contingent of fans, though, kept him around week after week. That loyalty drew the attention of Disney's country imprint Lyric Street.

Covington's sound still isn't quite there -- fluctuating haphazardly between George Jones and Lynyrd Skynyrd -- but his fans certainly will be. He has two shows scheduled in Spokane, but only the Thursday gig is open to the public.

-- Luke Baumgarten

Bucky Covington at Trick Shot Dixie on Thursday, March 15 at 8 pm. $10. Visit or call 325-SEAT.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & istening to "Introduction," the first track on The Boy Who Floated Freely, is like touching a memory but not remembering the context. The way neatly-plucked harp strings back RAMONA CORDOVA's scratchy warble while bluebirds twitter off in the distance hearkens something, but the touchstones brought to mind aren't sonic. They're cinematic. The entire album feels like a film.

It's a great and rare validation of instinct as a listener, then, to find Cordova's influences listed on MySpace. "Snow White, Pinocchio." Not just cinema, but animation. Not just animation, but the form's golden age. Late '30s, pre-war. There's an innocence aspired to here that can never be regained. The 70-odd years of conflict, narcissism, disillusionment and computer graphics that lie between Cordova and his muse assure that. Still, there's a tremendous, tragic beauty in the attempt.

-- Luke Baumgarten

Ramona Cordova, Husbands Love Your Wives, Hoquiam at Whitworth's HUB on Monday, March 19 at 9 pm. Tickets: $5; free, Whitworth students. Call 777-1000.
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