In a holiday season known for families and friends getting together to renew old ties, it’s only fitting that a group of musicians united by deeply planted Fayetteville roots and a love for all things rock ‘n’ roll would come together for a little Christmas “jam” to go along with the traditional fruitcake and hot cider.
    {mosimage}On Dec. 26, a host of rockers, bluesmen and soul stirrers will come together at Broadstreet Café and Billiards for the Holiday Reunion Jam — an event that has brought musicians who share a Cumberland County connection back to Fayetteville to rock the season for more than 25 years.
    The event has become the lovechild of local musician Morris Cardenas and producer/soundman/stagehand extraordinaire Terry Shea of i4i Productions for the past six or seven years, with the pair — along with an army of volunteers and sponsors — bringing music to the masses in this season of merry making and mistletoe.
    “Many moons ago me and Terry met another guy who was having a holiday or Christmas jam,” said Cardenas, who will be rocking the event with his group, the Borderland Band. “He left town, so to keep tradition going and keep the spirit of all people who are in town for Christmas and New Years, we sort of picked it up and ran with it as a way to reunite all these diverse musicians who are from Fayetteville or who got started here.
“We don’t mean just a musical jam but a jam of people because a lot of us don’t see each other unless, it seems, at some special event or a funeral now. These are people we’ve all known since we were kids. And now we’re just big kids.”
    In addition to Cardenas and the Borderland Band, which performs original songs, as well as jamming on classic rock concoctions by such heavyweights as the Allman Brothers and Santana, bands that will be laying down the bottom and the beat at the Holiday Reunion Jam include:
    •Joyner, Young, and Marie — a soulful and hard rocking trio famous for its tight three-part harmonies and bluesy guitar sound. Danny Young and Bill Joyner are both Fayetteville musicians who joined up with vocalist Marie Dennis to form one of the region’s most popular acts.
    •The five-piece outfit Big Mama E and the Cool hails from Raleigh and plays rock ‘n’ roll with a Southern rhythm and blues influence. Guitarist Mike Edwards is a Fayetteville boy known for his fiery chops. The band has been performing in the Triangle area since 1997.
    •Helping you get your Christmas blues on will be local guitar slinger Bob Steele, who will “steel” around the strings, bringing gritty ax work and even grittier vocals to the stage.
    •Superdrive will keep the tradition of such power trios as Cream and Beck, Bogart and Appice alive when it takes the stage to perform a mix of blues, soul and funk. Superdrive is comprised of Bryan Shaw (bass, lead vocals), J.D. Shaw (drums, lead vocals) and Clay Singletary (guitar, backing vocals); the Shaw brothers were raised right here in Fayetteville.
    •Bringing some young blood to the event is Raleigh-based Fathers & Sons, which boasts a pair of “old fogies” — Richard Allman and David Diffee, backed by their sons, Derek Allman and Allen Diffee — playing original songs that smack of influences as diverse as Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Neil Young and Ben Harper. Their excellent CD, Temporarily Breathing, was given a four star rating in these very pages several months ago.
    •Local legendary guitarists Don Euler and Steve Watson will also be joining in on the jam, while singer-songwriter and local radio personality Dave Stone —  aka “Stoney” of FM 96.5’s  “The Drive” — will do the hosting duties.
    Though the guys behind the show bring in “new blood” every year to spice up the musical mix, as well as encouraging younger music fans to attend the event, longtime participants such as guitarist Cliff Bender of the Borderland Band say it’s the blasts from the past that really make the show what it is.
    “We all get to hear music we haven’t heard for years,” said Bender. “Some of these bands will get together and we’ll get in the audience and just listen to these bands. You don’t get to hear live music anymore … you don’t get to hear stuff like old Little Feat.
    “It’s so much fun we (the Borderland Band) cut our Christmas vacation in Ohio short and drove 16 hours and walked right on the stage. It’s just cool to hear the old music and see the old guys.”
    Danny Young, guitarist for Joyner, Young, and Marie, also looks forward to reuniting with old friends to play some of that good, old time old rock ‘n’ roll.
    “The thing I love about the jam is seeing old familiar faces,” said Young. “People that I grew up with seeing them play or being in bands with.
    “I am really looking forward to seeing and playing with Steve Watson this year,” said Young. “He and I played together back in the early ‘70s. I am really looking forward to the jam this year. The last two years I was so sick I couldn’t stay to enjoy the rest of the music as much as I wanted to. But I took my flu shot this year and so far so good!”
    Young’s bandmate, Bill Joyner, has similar feelings about the Jam.
    “I’ve been at most of them and, to be honest, listening is as much fun as playing,” said Joyner. “Although Fayetteville has had its share of exceptionally talented musicians, there have been very few successful bands to come out of the area. Right after Christmas is our time for a special fellowship. It’s almost like the way you wish your high school reunion would be. I saw some people there last year that I haven’t seen in 25 years, and I can’t wait to see what’s happening this year.”
    Getting back together with old friends and fperforming live music is the only compensation the musicians receive — no one is paid for the gig. They do it for the love and the music … and the appreciation of a live audience.
Several hundred people showed up for last year’s show, and Cardenas says he’s looking for an even bigger turnout this year — a turnout that he says is vital not only to help support the musicians, but the entire Fayetteville music scene.
    “If we don’t have an audience for this show and other shows in Fayetteville, live music won’t be around much longer,” said Cardenas. “The community has to show its support for these types of events. We already know we can play, but we want people to come out, especially the younger generation, to see us play.”
    You can heed Cardenas’ pleas by showing up at Broadstreet Café and Billiards around 3 p.m. The show goes on until 1 a.m. And unlike past years, the “jam” will be put back into the Holiday Reunion Jam, with an hour to two set aside for the band members to get together onstage and show just how well they play with others.
For more info on the Holiday Reunion Jam, visit

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