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by Inlander Staff & r & Wakin' the Dead -- Singer-songwriter Ben Usher is a recent arrival to the Spokane area, a transplant from Key West, Fla., where the prevalence of mosquitoes and Jimmy Buffet cover bands were really starting to bum him out (and man, can we empathize with that). But Usher spent a good number of his formative years right here in the Inland Northwest, and for a time had a band in Seattle before crossing the country to follow his bliss. So this return -- which finds him and his duo, Dead West, performing at various locations around Coeur d'Alene this week -- is a homecoming of sorts.

Check out an acoustic set by Dead West (with Usher on guitar/vocals and his friend, Zappa, on drums) at the Long Ear music store on Friday, July 22, from 5-7 pm and at the CDA Borders Books on Saturday, July 23, from 7:30-9:30 pm. The shows, in case you were wondering, are free. And please, no margaritas for the band.

Sweden Rox -- Those of you all hopped up for the Blindside show at Fat Tuesday's this Friday night might want to stop in at the Rock Coffee at 920 W. First Avenue around 4:30 pm to get in on a little band action pre-function, North Atlantic-style. There you will just happen to find the Swedish band itself in all its androgenized glory and clenched-jawed majesty just sitting around the coffee house before the show, sipping caffeinated beverages and doing a little thing those in the music biz like to call "meet and greet."

Later in the evening, Blindside will be up there hitting the planks under the lights at Fat Tuesday's with Showbread and the Showdown. But for now, they'll be all yours. So bring 'em something to sign. Bring your camera, too -- because you'll never remember it all.

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