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Music worth leaving the house to hear this week

Jim Watson's Annual Christmas Show
The Cave
Monday, Dec. 22
9 p.m.

Nothing could be more festive during this Yule time than a sing-along with Jim Watson (except maybe lots of eggnog and rum balls.) The Red Clay Ramblers' founder has been celebrating the holiday season with his annual show at the Cave for 17 years--a Chapel Hill Christmas tradition. Watson has just released his second CD, Willie's Redemption and currently tours with Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group. For more information on the show, call 968-9308. --Natalie Harry

Robbie Rist, Lynn Blakey
The Speakeasy at Tylers
Friday, Dec 19
9 p.m.

Rist, who had an occasional role as Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch as well as dozens of other televisiona and movie roles, headlined this year's Sparklefest. The producer and songwriter is back in town as part of a tour of "intimate settings". Glory Fountain's Lynn Blakey opens the show.

2nd Annual Guitartown Christmas Party
The Berkeley Cafe
Dec. 20
6 p.m.

There's only one Christmas party on my calendar this year. That's not a complaint, however, because this lone gathering beats the holy hell out of the types of somnambulistic soireess that have too often robbed me of my Saturday nights during holiday seasons past. Those affairs tended to be all small talk and lite beer. Not so the second annual Christmas party sponsored by the Triangle-based Internet music group Guitartown, which promises large sounds (provided by locals the Cartridge Family, Joe Swank & the Zen Pirates, the Olympic Ass-Kicking Team, a reunited late-inning Backsliders, and Kenny Roby & the New Electric Combo, as well as Columbus, Ohio's Slobberbone-ish Two Cow Garage) and a variety of beverages from the Berkeley bar, plus hourly prizes. The minimum donation is $6, but every cent collected goes to the Salvation Army. And at no point in the evening will you be forced to nurse a Miller Lite while asking someone, "So what is it that you do?"--Rick Cornell

Barenaked Ladies present Barenaked Christmas
Friday, Dec. 19
8 p.m.

As track four of the newest Barenaked Ladies album says, "You can always get it right, next time, next time." And the band certainly did--this time.

With the recent release of Everything to Everyone, the Barenaked Ladies are back on the scene and touring the country, bringing its unique sound of harsh reality and off-the-wall humor to the table for the first time in almost three years. Some say it took too long. Still, others day the band should keep trying.

Bouncing back from poor sales of its commercial release, Maroon in 2000, BNL is sending the message that they're not done yet. The band has had its share of trials and tribulations over the years. From its start in 1988, BNL has transformed from a local Canadian group making demo tapes in garages and coffeehouses into international pop superstars. Just 10 years later, and as the band was climbing the charts with "One Week," keyboardist Kevin Hearn was fighting leukemia. But BNL never let that fact slow them down. Even with Hearn in the hospital, the band continued to tour. The Ladies just wrapped up the Peep Show Tour (no, not a male version of the infamous Pussycat Dolls, but an interesting concept nonetheless). The two-month, 26-city tour combined both music and conversation. Not only did they band partake in the usual on-stage jabbering, but bandmates Steven Page, Ed Robertson, Jim Creegan, Tyler Stewart and Hearn answered questions for audiences in each city.

Tours like Peep Show may not reel in new fans, but helps to give longtime fans their Barenaked fix.

The band is in town as part of a short December tour just in time for the holiday season. Nothing sounds cooler than a Barenaked Christmas. Literally. --Michael Felberbaum

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