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The return of Borderline

The members of Borderline will reunite for two performances in order to raise money for a family member with leukemia.

Borderline features Sam Cuenca on vocals and mandolin; Bob DiChiro on bass; and original members, Bob Evonuik on guitar and dobro and Emy Phelps on guitar.

The group will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Tease Restaurant, 303 E. Main St., Ashland, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at Paschal Winery, 1122 Suncrest Road, Talent.

The Ashland Americana band stemmed from a friendship between musicians Evonuik and Phelps, who met at an early morning lap swim at a pool in Ashland in 1990. Both musicians had a mutual appreciation for several Americana artists including Emmylou Harris, Graham Parsons, the Louvin Brothers and Johnny Cash.

"It was apparent from the get-go that our music styles were very much in sync," Evonuik said.

The duet began performing throughout Southern Oregon at coffee houses, lounges and special events and were soon joined by Foxfire bassist Leonard Sutton.

Over the next several years, Borderline's popularity grew, but the band suffered a major loss in 1996 when Sutton died in a motorcycle accident.

Cuenca joined the band soon after, followed by DiChiro.

The quartet recorded several songs, enough for two albums, but the songs were never compiled onto CDs, Evonuik said. Many of their songs were renditions of cover songs and songs Phelps wrote. When they first started, their music would have been considered more alternative country, but over the years it evolved.

"Americana being sort of related to the American roots music is the best way I could describe it," said Evonuik.

The group continued to perform throughout the valley for several years until the members began to disperse to pursue other musical opportunities. Phelps had her own band, the Emy Phelps band. Sam began freelancing his music. Evonuik became a member of the bands One Horse Shy and Siskiyou Summit, and DiChiro joined the Karen Lovely Band.

Borderline's reunion in 2009 after about a six-year recess occurred just as Phelps' nephew, 19-year-old Reid Honeywell, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

"About a month and a half ago (Phelps and I) set a date to play and about that time everything came down with Reid," Evonuik said.

Honeywell, an avid soccer player, a sophomore at Southern Oregon University and a ski racing coach for Mount Ashland, underwent treatment and chemotherapy at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, and recently returned home.

In order to help with the financial burden of the medical bills, Borderline scheduled two fundraising performances.

"We're hoping to fill both shows and if people ... want to donate more money to the fund, they are more than welcome," Evonuik said.

"It's a great example of the community coming together for one of their own."

Tickets for Borderline's shows at Tease and Paschal are $10 and are available at the door. All proceeds will benefit Honeywell. A portion of the food and drink sales from the night also will go toward the fundraising effort.

Donations also may be made to the Reid Honeywell Leukemia Fund at any Rogue Valley branch of People's Bank. Call 488-7301 or see www.supportreid.org.