Chapel Hill
Jim Watson’s 23rd X-Mas Show
The CaveFounding member of the Red Clay Ramblers and part of Robin and Linda Williams’ Their Fine Group for 20 years, Jim Watson is a staple of the local bluegrass and folk scenes. After playing The Cave regularly, conversations with former bar owner Meg Rose inspired his first Christmas show 23 years ago. Watson transposed a few carols for guitar from old piano books at his parents’ house and brought along a stack of lyric sheets. “The first few years that I did this, peopleI wouldn’t say they were confusedbut, they weren’t expecting, when they were at The Cave, to be asked if they wanted to sing Christmas carols,” remembers Watson. Even now, Watson still sandwiches sing-along carols between sets of seasonal religious and secular songs. People now seek out the relaxed and festive atmosphere of the annual show. “For a lot of people, I think they don’t have the opportunity to get together with a bunch of other people and sing it like they used to. So, this is their opportunity.”

All are welcome, including children and the elderly. “I still think my mother may be the oldest person to ever drink a beer in The Cave because the last year she came, she was 90.” Watson also plays the Masonic Lodge in Hillsborough at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, for his fourth annual Christmas show there. Andrew Ritchey