by Clint Burgess

As a band name, "Canned Music" makes me think of something sterile, bland and possibly old. On Saturday at the Rocket Bakery in the heart of beautiful downtown Millwood, however, my preconceptions got altered.

The group is comprised of husband-and-wife duo Steve and Kathy Sackett. They began their musical journeys back in the '70s, have been performing as Canned Music since 1997, and also collaborate on various side projects. (You've probably seen Steve performing with another local group, the Panics.) He lays down steady bass lines while Kathy handles electric and acoustic guitar duties along with the vocals. On Saturday, the duo was joined by fellow guitarist and vocalist Linda Parman, a bluegrass enthusiast.

The trio rolled through a folk-infused set, laced with some covers and a few nods to one of their major influences, Dan Hicks. The group harmonized flawlessly and provided some real-live beat atmosphere. The relaxed attitude of the musicians, coupled with the buzzing of patrons coming and going really gave the performance a welcome laid-back feel. The show was well attended -- which is apparently the norm for the Millwood Rocket. "This particular Rocket has a lot of fans," Kathy Sackett enthused. "They really support the music."

For those of us recently taken captive by the new City of Spokane Valley, it can be difficult to find a good sit-down cup of joe in a traditional cafe environment. Fortunately, the Rocket coffee empire has fostered this Valley location for quite some time now. In this breeding ground for strip malls and drive-through grease-slinging establishments, a place with refreshing beverages and more ambience than shag carpet and nicotine-stained walls is a beacon in the night. This location's d & eacute;cor relies on mustard-tinged walls and gorgeous antique tables to round out its stunning setup. Decorative mirrors and various table games also add to the homey atmosphere. The cafe serves up many doses of delicious pastries and whatever java concoction you might want. They even had my current favorite for a great pick-me-up with no caffeine: Yerba Mate. (I recommend a shot of white chocolate flavor to enhance the experience.)

My Yerba treat was heightened by an excellent level of service. And I thoroughly enjoyed the intimate performance -- it was everything you would expect from a Saturday night of folk music. Canned Music frequents Rocket locations and will also be performing at Pig Out In The Park, along with other regular appearances at local venues.

The Rocket Bakery, 3315 N. Argonne Rd. (927-2340)

Publication date: 05/08/03

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