by ELIZABETH STRAUCH & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & ver the years, manager Patrick Kendrick has developed Caterina Winery into a solid, albeit small, melting pot of a venue for local musicians. Some shows rattle the wine glasses; others provide a non-intrusive, laid-back ambience with a smooth finish. It's a diverse group that still bears the mark of Kendrick's selection; each can be considered a part of the Caterina family.

And just like a large family, where hanging out with your second cousin happens once in a blue moon (and only due to an organized function), these musicians, who have been sharing Spokane's venues on their own, are coming together -- some for the first time -- in a unique series of campfire-style patio shows at the winery.

Kendrick had the vision for this summery showcase after spending an evening on the patio with Justin McKenna and Wayne Patrick, when the two broke out their guitars, played each other's songs, and bantered back and forth over the music. Kendrick sat back and witnessed how the two were musically charged by one another. "I felt like a fly on the wall," says Kendrick. "I thought this could be something rad to do on a larger scale."

It was then that Kendrick got to work in pulling together 12 of Spokane's singer-songwriters to take part in a potentially awkward, potentially magical kind of togetherness. All the while, audience members get to sit around the musicians and experience what happens when they start playing together, completely unplugged. Many of them have never performed with the others -- some have never really met, officially. "I figured, what better way [for these musicians] to break the ice than to do it in front of an audience?" says Kendrick.

Thursday night will kick off the series with the bluesy, mellow tones of Jacob Butcher, acoustically blending with Danny Weber's poppier sound, as well as the gentle but clear voice of Kate Angeles and the grounded, rhythmic offerings of Mark Ward.

Kendrick is particularly interested to see how Friday's session goes, when a strong, driving voice like Mordekye Layman collides with the milder style of Kristen Marlo. "I've never seen Mordekye and Kristen in the same room. That's a challenge in itself, let alone getting them to play together," says Kendrick. It is also a rare opportunity to hear Tokyo Weigh Station's Will Brash perform solo acoustic, with Justin Knittel rounding off the foursome with Elliott Smith-like delicacy.

The final night may prove an all-out hootenanny as Dave Hannon, Joel Smith, Dane Ueland and La Cha-Cha's Larren Wolford exchange folksy cadences and provoke collective foot-tapping among listeners.

The output of these shows could be truly captivating -- a community of local musicians coming together to listen to each other on the same level, feed off their acoustic styles, and produce new sounds together, in a setting that is familiar (and perhaps familial) to each of them. Or, as Kendrick pointed out, "The entire thing could be a total disaster."

Danny Weber, Jacob Butcher, Kate Angeles and Mark Ward at Caterina Winery on Thursday, July 10. Mordekye Layman, Kristen Marlo, Justin Knittel and Will Brash on Friday, July 11. Dane Ueland, Joel Smith, Dave Hannon and Larren Wolford on Saturday, July 12. All shows start at 8 pm. Tickets: $5. Call 328-5069.

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Sat., Feb. 11, 6-9 p.m.
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