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So far Chris Birchall has created 327 blog entries.

January 16th Singers’ Night

By |January 22nd, 2020|0 Comments

Tom Degney and Richard Davies

This rainy weather… well, it’s just not cricket, is it?

Still, we weren’t going to let a little drizzle – okay, downpour – oh all right then, have it your own way… we weren’t going to let a little deluge stop play.

Ten intrepid musicians turned up at The Feathers. Add to that, the dozen or so audience members and it made for warm and welcoming musical gathering for our second singers’ night of the year.

One person who has a habit of throwing a curveball to catch us unawares and amaze us is Pete Kirkham. This week he did just that at the folk club with a Whitesnake song (written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh) “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city”. Click the ► below to listen:

 

Robin Spreckley

Collaborations
There were a good number of impromptu collaborations, with messers Davies, Degney, Durno and Spreckley randomly popping up to accompany each other and anyone else who threw out the challenge.

And when it came to the finale spot, Steve Jukes-Hughes had a little surprise for us.

If you remember, last week he introduced his daughter Catryn to the AllStyles stage. Well, it appears there are two songbirds in the Jukes-Hughes household and this week it was the turn of his lovely wife, Helen, to take to the microphone.

And what a fine performance it was – made even more special when we discovered it was the very first time she had sung in front of an audience.

It was a superb way to end a special night.

This week’s roll call: Richard Davies, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Lynda and Tom Degney, Geoff Durno, Robin Spreckley, Pete Kirkham, and Steve and Helen Juckes-Hughes.

Geoff Durno, Richard Davies and Tom Degney

A Fab First Singers’ Night of 2020

By |January 13th, 2020|0 Comments

Wow, what a wonderful start to the New Year, as the club enters its twenty-fourth year and its sixth at our current venue.

No fewer than sixteen performers braved the damp and dismal weather and with more than double that number in attendance, the room was comfortably full, making for a great atmosphere in the back room of The Feathers.

Dave Ryder struck up the first chords of the new season with some mighty fine sing-along numbers, followed by Robin Spreckley, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin, Joe Lyon, and Chris Birchall.

Welcome Return
It was good to welcome back Pete Hodgson and John Helm (left), performing as a duo with Pete on guitar and John on mandolin.

After the break, we had a rare appearance from someone we really don’t see as often as we’d like – the inimitable John Sellers (below). John followed up a cover of Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars” with a great song that he had written about the Kings Arms in Denbigh.

We had songs from Cath Bryan and from Pete Kirkham who gave a rather splendid version of the 1930s Hoagy Carmichael classic, “Georgia on My Mind”, made famous, of course, by Ray Charles.

Robin ‘the Busker’ Wynne Jones enlisted his namesake Robin Spreckley and Tom Degney for some old favourites including “Copperhead Road”.

A New Face
Steve Juckes-Hughes has become a regular at the club over the past year and after his spot, he introduced his daughter Catryn, whose beautiful voice captivated everyone in the room. Her rendition of “Fields of Gold” was quite spellbinding. (Click ► below to listen)

 

One Man Band
Brian Peters was the last of our super sixteen to perform and he treated us to some splendid blues numbers, juggling guitar, harmonica, kazoo, beatbox and a foot tambourine.

Our ‘Random Name Generator’ selected four of the night’s performers to fill the final 20 minutes of the evening. The last of these was the ‘one-man-band’ that is Brian and the earworm he sent us home with was the 1954 American folk song “San Francisco Bay Blues”.

Happy Melodic New Decade

By |January 2nd, 2020|0 Comments

Use the next/previous link to view each of the four albums.

We look forward to welcoming you all back to The Feathers on January 9th for our first Singers’ Night of the year.

Meanwhile, Jayne and Chris would like to take this opportunity of wishing all you lovely followers of Ruthin AllStyles a truly happy, healthy and prosperous 2020 – and beyond.

Being the start of a new decade, many of us are reflecting on the one just gone. There have been many happy moments, not least the club’s twentieth birthday celebrations in October 2016 – and a few sad ones too. In January 2015 we lost Bryn Roberts who had been attending the club since its inception in 1996. He had been the kingpin of the band Mantra and after that, Raven. Then in October 2018, Neil Wilkinson passed away suddenly. Click on their names to visit the tribute pages.

Anyway, we thought it might be nice to look back in pictures. Over 2,500 have been uploaded since the site was launched, so we’ve grabbed a handful from each year to put these four albums together. They don’t quite cover the entire decade though, only because this website and our involvement with the club only began in 2013. So if you have any pictures to add from 2010, 2011 and 2012, do please email them to me at chris@ruthinallstyles.co.uk.

 

Album 1 – The Cross Keys Years

Happy Melodic New Decade part 2

By |January 2nd, 2020|0 Comments

A Selection from 2015 – 2016

 

Happy Melodic New Decade part 3

By |January 2nd, 2020|0 Comments

A Selection from 2017 – 2018

Happy Melodic New Decade part 4

By |January 2nd, 2020|0 Comments

A Selection from 2018 – 2019

Pan’s People, a Musical Walking Stick, Cool Lights, Hot Sweaters – and Cake

By |December 18th, 2019|0 Comments

What a bumper turn-out for the Ruthin AllStyles Christmas Knees-up. Fifty party-goers filled the function room at The Feathers with fun, laughter, cake crumbs – and music of course, provided by no fewer than twenty-two performers.

And did you ever wonder what happened to Pan’s People? Well as you can see from this clip, reminiscent of a 1970s Top of the Pops, they were alive and kicking, busting some cool moves to the sound of Harr E King Robertson’s cover of “Stand by Me”.

The music was as varied as the fancy headgear, with a good seasonal sprinkling of Christmas songs. Brian Peters had a whole percussion section strapped to his right foot to accompany his bluesy resonator. John Rowell was kept busy accompanying all and sundry on his six-string fretless bass, before joining Jane Allcock (right) on her crumhorn, which closely resembles an upturned walking stick.

Jane also plays flute, recorder and a whole raft of wind instruments in an unlikely yet harmonious pairing with John’s bass guitar.

Skeet Williams was much in demand too, playing his beautiful new acquisition from Derlwyn Guitars and duetting with the equally beautiful Deborah Jackson.

Amongst many others, the night also included a lovely laid-back instrumental from the fingers of Mark Thatcher, some rousing originals from a tenor guitar-wielding John Williams and a contemporary protest song from Hugh Rowlands.

During the break we consumed a mountain of delicious sandwiches, courtesy of local caterer Ayşe Aydın, augmented by a multitude of buffet items brought along by our members. Plus, of course, the delicious Christmas Cake baked by our singing pâtissier Glyn Hudson.

Joanne McKinstry, from the charity RENEW, gave us an insight to the plight of the refugees.

RENEW
As well as having food, fun and games, I’m proud of the fact the club was also able to help those less fortunate than ourselves by donating the night’s door and tea money to RENEW (Refugee Essentials North East Wales). This is a  local charity group formed to support refugees in crisis by sorting donations and sending much-needed items for refugees fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

We were able to donate over £150 to the appeal which is sending emergency aid for more than 1000 refugees, mainly women and young children, currently living in flimsy summer tents on the Greek island of Leros.

The night’s shakers and movers…
Glyn Hudson, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Chris Birchall, Mark Thatcher, Lynda and Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Penni Neale, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, Skeet Williams and Deborah Jackson, John Williams, Brian Peters, Hugh Rolands, Cath Bryan and Pete Kirkham, Vicky and Paul Riley, Luis Riley, Jane Allcock and John Bass, Harry Robertson.

Don’t forget, there is no music night on the 19th – so you can indulge in some late-night Christmas shopping. We’d like to wish you all a very Musical Christmas and a Harmonious New Year. We’ll all meet up again at The Feathers on January 9th.

Trans-Atlantic Hook-up

By |December 8th, 2019|0 Comments

Gary Edward Jones in New York’s Time Square

So how cool was that…? Having Gary Edward Jones join us for our Singers’ Night – all the way from Times Square in New York!

As many of you will know, Gary is touring his fantastic “Something About Simon” show as part of the “Fringe Encore” in New York this week following the show’s successful month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

This Thursday, he took a break from an afternoon of sightseeing (which included merry-making with Minny Mouse and Spiderman) to phone us during our mid-evening break at The Feathers, when we were able to chat with him over the PA system. This delighted our audience and was an extra treat for the week’s birthday boy John Parry and birthday girl Jayne Birchall.

Wow. Isn’t technology wonderful. I can still remember the days when my Mum and Dad would have to book an expensive five-minute trans-Atlantic telephone call months in advance. Now it can be done at the drop of a hat whilst walking arm in arm with a Disney character 3,298 miles across the ocean.

Sell-out Shows
The intrepid Scouser turned Ruthinite has been playing to sell-out audiences all week which, it seems, have included some VIPs of the music world. I can’t say too much at this stage but it does sound as though these performances at the New York Soho Playhouse could well be just the start of Gary’s ‘American Tune’.

Revival’s Pete Kirkham and Dave Moore

As for the ‘Ruthin Tunes’, these were aplenty with songs from a pair of Robins, from Richard Ruthin and his out-of-town friends, from half of Chester’s boy band Revival, from the ever-present Degney Duo and from songbirds Neale and Toft.

Plus, of course, many solo performances from the likes of Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Cath Bryan, and from Steve Juckes-Hughes, who played us out at the end of what was a super evening.

This Thursday is our Christmas Knees-up – a Singers’ Night with a bun fight.

The club is laying on a surfeit of sarnies and a mountain of mince pies but if you feel you’d like to contribute something to the buffet table, do bring along a small offering of nibbles – but nothing that requires cooking. 🧁

Bring your instruments and maybe a Christmas song or two. Fancy Dress/Silly Hats optional.

Please note the earlier start of 7.30pm.

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November 28th Singers’ Night

By |December 4th, 2019|0 Comments

Ian Wooley, Richard Davies and Tom Degney

The function room at The Feathers was host to another great night of music, with eleven musicians performing solo and in various impromptu collaborations.

Penni and Tom

It was Ian Wooley who got the evening off to a start, later joining Tom Degney and Richard Ruthin, prompting a touch a déjà vu as I introduced them as the Tom, Dick and Ian band.

Tom, of course, performed with his good lady, Lynda, as well as Joining Penni Neale on his trusty dobro. And Penni, in turn, followed up by accompanying Enid Toft both on her guitar and with some lovely backing harmonies.

Catrin Francis

It was nice to welcome Catrin Francis back to the club. She said she wasn’t going to sing tonight – but we were having none of that – and she provided us with some lovely Acappella songs.

Glyn Hudson, Joe Lyon and that Birchall bloke were all flying solo.

Having just eleven acts meant we all had a second spot after the mid-evening break to entertain the two dozen audience in the room.

Robin Spreckley

Finale Time
Then it was down to the irrepressible Robin Spreckley to take us up to the close with some of his home-grown songs, that are very much a window on the world and its present political climate.

Next Thursday, the 5th of December, is another Singers’ Night.

I have a feeling it might be a busy one, so arrive early to get your name down for a floor spot.

Music is the Icing on the Cake

By |November 27th, 2019|0 Comments

The evening began well, with Joe Lyon leading the way for ten musicians to serve-up two songs each in the first half.

Then, after those twenty tasty tunes, things got even sweeter as cake was served during the break to the strains of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song.

The blower-out of candles was Jim who was celebrating seventy years on the planet, the most recent of them as a regular attendee of the Ruthin AllStyles Music Nights, together with his wife Barbara. The couple discovered the club shortly after moving into the area a couple of years ago and have become loyal supporters, hardly missing a club night since.

Jim is a keen walker and this was reflected in the decoration conjured-up by our resident singing pâtissier, Glyn Hudson. It was a work of art almost too good to cut into but all twenty sweet-toothed people in the room were glad we did.

Another song each in the second half proved that you can have your cake and eat it too. There was some tasty teamwork, with Linda Griffith providing harmonies for her brother Alan Thompson and with the two Robins perching at the microphones for a chirpy collaboration.

This week’s line-up: Joe Lyon, Robin Spreckley, Robin the Busker, Geoff Durno, Chris Birchall, Glyn Hudson, Pete Kirkham, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Alan Thompson and Linda Griffiths.