old time music, new and vintage, with early Red Clay Ramblers favorites

The passing of Bill Hicks has sadly ended the era of performances by
Craver, Hicks, Watson, & Newberry
" Individual members of the 'Blurs,' (a fan nickname for the Red Clay Ramblers) have gone on to dozens of side projects and, in the process, have created a fearsome and thriving scene in and of themselves. "
...Durham Independent
Bill Hicks ~~ Mike Craver ~~ Jim Watson ~~ Joe Newberry

Bill Hicks
January 20, 1943 - November 11, 2018
Mike Craver, Jim Watson, Bill Hicks, and Joe Newberry

Facebook page 

Sunday, September 24, 2017
Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry
Night Light
"Fiddle Roots Symposium"
(once the location of the Cat's Cradle)
Rosemary Street
Chapel Hill NC
More pics and vids from all CHWN shows

JUNE 16, 2023

Jim Watson and Mike Craver will sing together again on June 16, 2023, at the 2023 Down Home Concerts Sacred Soul & Bluegrass Revue.  Jim and Mike will be playing some classic Carter Family gospel tunes.  Many other performers are also on the schedule.
A. J Fletcher Theater
2 E. South Street
Raleigh, NC

R E C O R D I N G !
You've Been A Friend To Me
It's here! It's here! It's here!

Craver Hicks Watson Newberry made one full recording as a group   For years, fans have only found bootlegs or scattered recordings on other CDs.  Now a whole CD of your favorites is available at live shows, Mike's store, and directly from Jim Watson (132 Justice St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 with check for $17). 

"in terms of elan and verve and all those other words that point to the all-important spirit, You've Been a Friend to Me ranks right near the top." ...Bill Wagner, The Old Time Herald (full review)

"gloriously revives the spirit and sound of the Ramblers’ early years" ... Jack Bernhardt, Raleigh News & Observer (full review)

"There is great singing, great fiddling, great banjo playing, and great everything else. Have you figured out yet that I give my highest recommendation to this recording? If you like old-time music, if you like music period, find this recording and play it over and over again, and you will see what I mean." ...Bluegrass Unlimited. Full review

"if the kids ever ask, What was old time music like?-- give 'em this." ...Randy Pitts (full review)

A winter of planning. A spring of recording.
A summer of music.


House concert - Joan Fenton & Albie Tabackman, Charlottesville VA - PICS/VIDS
Hiawatha Folk Festival, Marquette, MI - PICS
The ArtsCenter 2013, Carrboro, NC - PICS/VIDS
The Blue Note Grill 2014, Durham NC - PICS/VIDS
Appalachian State University - Please share any pics or vids with us!
Rappahannock Americana Music Festival - Washington, VA - PICS/VIDS
 The Cary Theater/Six String Presents - Cary, NC - PICS/VIDS
Home Craft Days Festival 2014, Big Stone Gap VA.- PICS/VIDS

Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music -Newark DE
Front Hall House Concert - Bryn Athyn PA
Susquehanna Folk Music Society - Harrisburg PA
PICS/VIDEOS from all three shows

Blue Note Grill 2015 - Durham NC - PICS/VIDS
Pick 'n' Bow - Durham, NC
Spotlight by Starlight Concert Series - Annandale VA - PICS/VIDS

"Happy Wheatlands" by Bill Hicks!  It was a real treat to return to Wheatlands, where we all had many fond memories from our visits there in the late '70s with the band that shall not be named.  In the intervening generations the old site has more or less grown up in woods, like an abandoned field or a famous battle site that didn't turn into a national shrine.  In its place we found a wonderful main stage with magically good acoustics, sited on a hill facing a wide field where fans in the thousands ... (more)

Our annual Rick Cornell quote: Like a large family whose grown children have left the fold and made lives for themselves, Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, Jim Watson and Joe Newberry stay busy with solo projects and a variety of collaborations. But if the bonds are strong enough, a family always makes a point to be together at Thanksgiving, that most familial holiday. Thus, we have this quartet's traditional circa-Turkey Time gathering. And when this foursome—agile musicians and ace storytellers all—congregates, you have, oh, about 75% of the Great American Songbook covered.  —Rick Cornell
Mike's Store
New! New!

Mike's Store

Details for the
recordings are on
our music page.


To catch these guys in a house concert is to experience them in their natural habitat. Jim Watson and Bill Hicks got their start in the early '70s playing vintage music with the late Tommy Thompson at house parties at Thompson's place off Randolph Road, leading to the formation of the Red Clay Ramblers. Pianist Mike Craver was an early convert. The guys eventually left to ramble down other musical paths, but when Craver, Hicks and Watson reunite these days (with clawhammer banjoist Joe Newberry at the Thompson seat), it's a celebration of old-time and old times.  —Rick Cornell

Bill Hicks
Bill's homepage

Mighty Fine News from Jim Watson

The Ramblers Fan Clan packs The Cave to its rocky ceiling and sing in a merry kick-off for the Christmas season.  The photo of Jim and his nieces was taken by Tom Watts at The Cave.

Friday, December 22, 2023
Jim Watson's 38th Annual Christmas Show at The Cave

Chapel Hill NC
8 pm or so
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thursday, December 14, 2023
Duke LaCrosse and Pinky Wyoming
with Miss Hissy Phytt on the old dog house bass!
Blue Note Grill
Durham NC

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Jim Watson at the Treehouse Concert Series
Durham, NC

WCHL AM radio recognized Jim as a "Hometown Hero" for his contribution to the community through his Christmas shows.  Congrats, Jim!

Jim's newest CD! "Christmas at the Cave" Pick up your copy at the show or order directly ($17.50):
Jim Watson
132 Justice Street
Chapel Hill NC 27516
MORE INFO | N&O review

New! FREE MP3 from
Craver Hicks Watson Newberry
"Texas Gals"
WETS Radio Johnson City TN broadcast 2006
Listen! Download!

Get yours from Mike's Store | Chuckin' the Frizz page!
 Read more!

Mike Craver - Shining Down
Wagoner's Lad --- Shining Down ---  Meeting in the Air --- Lunch at the Piccadilly --- The Bible Salesman --- Bosh & Moonshine

Latest! Mould's Undertaking
VIDEOS! ArtsCenter, Carter Fold, Down Home, Cook Shack, Oak Grove
and links to Craver, Hicks, Watson, Newberry videos on YouTube! 
recent concert pics
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2005: What a stretch of shows at the Down Home (8/19), Carter Family Fold(8/20), Six String (8/24), Cook Shack (8/25), Southern Village 8/28. and Ulster American Folk Park (9/2-4)  (click on thumbnails for more pics)

Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, Jim Watson and Joe Newberry
September 2-4, 2005
14th Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival,
Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone, N. Ireland
Also on the program: Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group, King Wilkie
Pics Posted | Blog of the trip
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 November 29, 2023