When: Thu., Dec. 22, 8 p.m. 2011
Durham native Jim Watson has been holding his annual holiday show at Chapel Hill's venerable basement bar The Cave for 26 years, or as long as many musicians playing in upstart bands in the tiny room have been alive. In other words, Watson began this celebration years before Clark Griswold joined the Jelly of the Month club or Kevin McCallister prepared his highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner on Christmas Eve.
Focused on folk, bluegrass and old-time traditions, Watson—a founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers, longtime sideman to Robin and Linda Williams, bassist for Green Level Entertainers and an accomplished solo artist in his own right—gathers with family and friends (musical and otherwise) in The Cave's cozy confines each year to play a sizeable batch of seasonal tunes both familiar and unconventional. The gig is perhaps the most enduring local music Christmas tradition we have in the area, and for good reason: The fuzzy holiday feeling really kicks in when Watson passes out sheet music and lyrics to the crowd, resulting in full-fledged sing-along caroling. —Spencer Griffith