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So far Chris Birchall has created 316 blog entries.

Remember Remember the 7th of November…

By |November 12th, 2019|0 Comments

Cath Bryan

There was no trace of gunpowder, no treason (unless you count the odd Boris quip) but we did plot to make our music night go with a bang.

Following a day of incessant rain, our music night could have turned into a damp squib but our regulars were having none of that, with a dozen musicians turning up to brighten the night sky, plus a goodly number of audience making for a comfortably full room at The Feathers Inn.

We lit the blue touch paper at 8.00pm sharp with Catherine Wheel Bryan sending us into a spin, after which there was an impressive display from the likes of Richard (the rocket) Davies, and roman candles Pete Kirkham, Geoff Durno and Mike Whittaker.

Enid Toft and Penni Neale lit up the sky with some lovely harmonies and Robin (the sparkler) Spreckley almost set his mandolin on fire delivering some meaningful tunes.

There followed, a fountain of melody from Joe Lyon and some fine fortissimo from fire-crackers Tom and Lynda.

Well, I think I’ve run out of puns, so I’ll stop banging on now.

Yours truly.
Bonfire Birchall

Next week – the main guy will be non-other than Phil Bates.
But please note that this concert is now sold out and we do, I’m afraid, have to keep to the maximum numbers allowed in the room. So if you didn’t grab a ticket when you had the chance, we’ll see you at the next Singers’ Night which is November 21st.


Twenty-One Today

By |November 6th, 2019|0 Comments

Bill Malkin and John Sylvester

What I mean by that is, there were twenty-one singers today.

There was indeed a birthday celebration, however, although not a twenty-first because it was exactly twenty-three years ago, to the very day, that Ruthin AllStyles Music Club was founded.

The then Feathers Folk Club was started in the very same room by Llinos and Campbell Finnie on October 31st 1996, changing its name to Ruthin Folk Club after a few short months and moving on to what turned out to be a string of alternative venues before coming back to The Feathers in January 2015. You can read more about its history here.

With a room that was comfortably full with an audience of thirty-two, the opening spot, for both halves of the evening, fell to Chester musician Bill Malkin and his friend John Sylvester, from Aberystwyth. It was Bill’s second appearance at the club and first time for pianist John with whom he performs as a duo.

Alan Wilkins

There followed a string of excellent performances from a number of our faithful regulars, old and relatively new.

Local musician Alan Wilkins Joined us for what was his third appearance at our current venue, and from further afield, Bill Hackwell made a return visit whilst on a short break in Ruthin. Back in the July of last year, Bill was one of four walkers who looked us up whilst on a stop-over during a hike along the length of Offa’s Dyke,

It was good to see (and hear) John Evans again too. He came along tonight with his former ‘Red Hill’ bandmate Alan Thompson, who also entertained us with a floor spot.

John Evans

Bob Hall was back in a-cappella mode after a few weeks absence, as was violinist Jim Cole.

John Williams too. This Wizard of The Wirral is always a welcome addition to our music nights with his home-grown compositions sung to the accompaniment of his cello mandolin or his tenor guitar.

And as the evening was drawing to a close, we called upon Neil Martin to provide us with a dose of Leonard Cohen before he heads off to spend the winter months touring France in his campervan.

We wish him Bon Voyage.

Jayne and Chris get scary for the Halloween Music Night

This week’s roll call: Richard Ruthin, Enid Toft, Penni Neale, Lynda and Tom Degney, Bill Hackwell, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, John Williams, Bill Malkin and John Sylvester, Dave Ryder, Alan Wilkins, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Jim Cole, John Evans, Richard Eastwood, Pete Kirkham, Bob Hall, Alan Thompson, Neil Martin.



Singers’ Night October 24th

By |October 30th, 2019|0 Comments

Jane and John Bass

Geoff Hollis

It was another busy night at the club – not least for John Bass and Tom Degney.

Both, of course, feature in the Tom, Dick and Harry band but John also appeared in his duo mode with Jane for some lovely ‘wind and bass’ numbers and Tom was alongside Lynda for her set. But also they were both as obliging, as always, when asked to accompany several other performers on the night.

Geoff Hollis made a welcome return, following a summer of festival-going, and it was lovely to hear Enid singing again with Penni providing the accompaniment.

It was a full evening with a fine mix of styles and genre from the fifteen performers and the Tom, Dick and Harry band who gave us a grand send-off at the end of the evening with a rousing version of the Travelling Wilburys classic, “End Of The Line”.

Tonight’s Roll-Call: Lynda and Tom Degney, Chris Birchall, Glyn Hudson, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Jane and John Bass, Robin Spreckley, Neil Martin, Geoff Hollis, Joe Lyon, Enid Toft, Penni Neale, Tom, Dick & Harry with John Bass.

Another late finish

By |October 23rd, 2019|2 Comments

The function room at The Feathers was comfortably full and with no fewer than twenty-seven performers a wide and eclectic range of musical styles, the promise of a wonderful evening’s entertainment was well and truly fulfilled.

On occasions when we get these kinds of numbers, however, we might have to implement some sort of ‘first come first served’ system where the later arrivals get to do just the one song, to keep within the terms of the venue’s live music licence. Not to mention the fact many of us have to be up for work the following morning.

A core group of our regulars provided everything from Contemporary Folk to Blues to Country. Our quirky friend Karen White provided a helping of Kirsty McCall songs on what was her second visit this year before heading back to Australia, and it was good to see Geoff Durno back, making his first public appearance since his operation,

Mike Kendrick rode in on his “Llanfairfechan Horse”, and Skeet was kept busy providing accompaniment for Glyn Hudson and also for Deborah Jackson who sang a brand new song co-written by Skeet and herself. Alan Thompson also introduced us to a brand new self-penned song “Firebird”.

On what was their first visit to Ruthin AllStyles, we were delighted to welcome, from the North Wales Coast, Neil and Shereen and their bassist Alan. They gave us lovely covers of songs by Aretha Franklin and Paul Simon and also said some nice things about our lovely club.

Bluegrass was very much to the fore when another band made their Ruthin AllStlyes debut. Although Jules Pellatt has appeared here a few times, he was joined this time by Tony, Richard and Johnny, collectively known as the Helsby Mountain String Band.

When the time eventually came for the finale spot, it was Gary Edward Jones who stepped to the mic. His first song was one of his own, “Walk You Home”, which he followed up with the most amazing version of the Rod Stewart classic, “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It”, in the style of Jack Johnson. (below)

If you want another helping of Gary, he is doing a concert at Rhyl Folk and Acoustic’s new venue in Llanddulas next Friday (October 25th) and then on November 30th he brings his “Something About Simon” show to Denbigh’s Theatr Twm or Nant.

Tonight’s Roll Call: Richard Ruthin, Vicky Riley, Richard Eastwood, Geoff Durno, Lynda and Tom Degney, Neil Martin, Dave Ryder, Glyn Hudson, Helsby Mountain String Band (Jules Pellatt, Tony, Richard and Johnny), Karen White (the quirky one), Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Pete Kirkham, Cath Bryan, Skeet and Deborah, Paul Riley, Neil and Shereen with Alan on Bass, Mike Kendrick, Alan Thompson and Gary Edward Jones.

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

By |October 17th, 2019|0 Comments

In fact, every single pair of eyes in the room were smiling, whilst those Irish eyes were twinkling as their owner’s beautifully crafted songs were interspersed with tales of his Irish upbringing and anecdotal yarns about his musical journey through life.

You will go a long way to find a more entertaining and engaging folk singer than Antony John Clarke. He has his own unique style of modern folk songs with words that conjure up pictures of life, painted with humour and a not insignificant touch of the old blarney.

He was accompanied on piano by his lovely wife Julia, who also wore a beautiful smile throughout the evening despite bearing the brunt of many of his jokes. It was Julia’s 63rd birthday and Anthony John made much of the fact that it heralded the beginning of the annual eight-day period when he is technically a year younger than her.

The humour comes effortlessly, both within the songs and in the narrative between them. The whole of his performance is full of fun with lively and uplifting songs such as “The Cockerel Has Done a Runner”, “We Pulled Through”, “I Hate Camping” and “They Don’t Write Them Like That Any More”.

As with his 2017 concert, Anthony John and Julia stayed over in The Feathers’ comfortable accommodation which once again resulted in him overrunning our usual finish time by almost an hour. Not that anybody objected.

Floor Singers
The room was comfortably full and as always, both halves of the evening had begun with a round of songs from the floor, on this occasion courtesy of regular members Lynda and Tom Degney, Robin the Busker, Richard Eastwood, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Glyn Hudson, Richard Ruthin and Penni Neale. We also welcomed a first-time visitor from Eastbourne, folk singer Nick Cant, who happened upon our lovely club whilst holidaying in the area.

I think it’s true to say he couldn’t have picked a better evening to do so.

A Baker’s Dozen

By |October 8th, 2019|0 Comments

Thirteen musicians were the recipe for another great evening of music at the Feathers.

There were several collaborations. Cath accompanied Pete, who in turn accompanied Cath.

Penni was kept busy accompanying, in turn, Enid, Neil Martin and Robin Spreckly. And as always, Tom was on hand to accompany Richard, Lynda of course, and anyone else who might welcome the sound of his banjo, mandolin or dobro.

The full line-up for the evening was: Pete Kirkham, Dave Ryder, Penni Neale, Enid Toft, Lynda and Tom Degney, Jim Cole, Chris Birchall, Cath Bryan, Robin Spreckley, Joe Lyon, Richard Ruthin, Neil Martin.

Click the ► below to hear the lovely song written by Cath Bryan which got its first public airing.

Don’t forget, Next Thursday (Oct 10th) we have a concert by Anthony John Clarke. The evening will start at the slightly earlier time of 7.30 pm with a round of floor spots. Just £4 on the door (regulars get their usual concession)

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness…

By |October 1st, 2019|0 Comments

Peter Leslie

We may not have had any Keats, nor even any spoken poetry at all for that matter, but we did herald the coming of Autumn with some wonderful music.

There was the usual broad range of covers from folk and country greats such as Dylan, Cash, Kristofferson and Jerry Jeff Walker – all poets in their own right.

Of course, we are lucky to have some exceptionally talented local songwriters amongst our regulars.

Peter Leslie opened both halves of the evening with songs he wrote on his favourite beaches in Create, “Gazing out to Sea” and “Sea of Clouds”.

Richard Eastwood

Alan Thompson gave us a song he co-wrote called “Julie”, Robin Spreckley delivered a home-grown protest song called “Taken for a Ride” that reflects the current political situation, and Neil Martin gave a first public airing to one of his own beautiful and heart-rending songs “Lies”.

Together with band members Tom and Richard, Harry Robertson got feet a-tapping with his upbeat “High High High” and then in contrast, the lovely melodic waltz-time song, “When I Danced With You” for the finale spot.

We had a couple of novelty moments too.

Peter Lesley fitted a capo on the fifth fret and proceeded to play a tune ‘Boris style’, fretting the strings above the capo position. In contrast to the Westminster buffoon, however, Peter was using a partial capo that allowed three of the strings to remain open and the effect was quite stunning as his fingers ran effortlessly up on down the fretboard.

Penni Neale

Having that afternoon had injections in her hands, Penni Neale didn’t want to overdo things, so for one of her songs, she sang “From a Distance”, a cappella, accompanying herself only on the bodhran which she played with remarkable effect using a hairbrush as a beater!

Tonight’s line-up: Dave Ryder, Lynda and Tom Degney, Jules Pellatt, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, Alan Thompson and Linda, Robin Spreckley, Robin the Busker, Chris Birchall, Peter Leslie, Joe Lyon, Penni Neale, Enid Toft, Neil Martin, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Tom, Dick & Harry

Click on the ► below to hear Neil Martin’s lovely cover of Mr Bojangles

Last Song of the Summer

By |September 24th, 2019|0 Comments

Terry Allen

With Monday’s Equinox, heralding the beginning of Autumn, it meant that Thursday’s Music night was the last one of the Summer and the honour of singing the final song of the season fell to Terry Allen.

The Wrexham musician ended the evening with the great Woody Guthrie song “I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore”. It is a song that is (sadly) just as relevant today as it was when Guthrie wrote it some sixty years or so ago and Terry has brought it right up to date by adding a few words of his own to reflect the world that we live in today.

Click the ► below to take a listen.


Then and Now
It was good to see Steve Bailey back again. His unaccompanied traditional folk songs echoed back to when he first took an interest in the genre at the age of thirteen, back in the seventies, choosing two Peter Bellamy songs, “Biker Hill” and “Oak, Ash and Thorn”.

Vicki Riley and Luis Riley

Our youngest performer was someone who is just thirteen at the moment. Luis Riley only began learning guitar four months ago and it is great to see not only how well he is progressing but also how confident he is to get up and perform in public.

After Singing “Bad Moon Rising” exactly 50 years on, since the Credence Clearwater Revival version was at number one in the album charts, Luis went on to accompany his mum, Vicki, on the Eagles classic “Hotel California”.

After two songs from each of fourteen performers, our Random Generator drew half a dozen names out of the electronic hat during the remaining half-hour to complete another evening of great live music.

Tonight’s Performers…
Richard Ruthin, Lynda and Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Steve Bailey, Luis Riley, Vicky Riley, Cath Bryan, Alistair Irving, Dave Ryder, Pete Kirkham, Terry Allen, Neil Martin

Don’t forget to get your tickets for next month’s Anthony John Clarke concert. Get them online or at the club next Thursday. They are just £4 – and don’t forget, Regular members, get their usual concession.

Six of One, Half-Dozen of the Other

By |September 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Pete Kirkham

Yes, the performers totalled an even dozen, with an equal number of men and ladies and, with almost double that number in the room, it made for a terrific atmosphere.

It also meant that, unlike many of the busier nights we’ve been having recently, everybody had two spots each, providing an eclectic mix of three dozen songs, with Wendy’s encore in the finale ramping it up to thirty-seven.

And although it wasn’t planned, it turns out that everyone who performed, except Birchy himself, fell victim to the Hairy Photographer’s lens.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Richard announced that he and Tom were going to do “Baker Street” and apologised for the lack of a saxophone player.  Quick as a flash, Lynda jumps onto the stage to perform the saxophone solo on her kazoo.

Tonight’s Roll Call…
Chris Birchall, Lizzy Pegler, Alistair Irving, Pete Kirkham, Cath Bryan, Glyn Hudson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin, Penni Neale, and Richard and Wendy Eastwood

October 10th – An evening with Anthony John Clarke

Tickets are now available

Non members £4 from WeGotTickets.com

Regular members concessionary tickets can be purchased on any club night

They Came by Land, Sea and Air

By |September 12th, 2019|0 Comments

Robin the Busker with Tom Degney and Mark Thatcher

Just a short write-up this week. Suffice to say it was another great night of music with twenty-three musicians and almost forty in the room.

We were delighted to welcome a new face, as Rhys Davies made his AllStyles debut. Coming from Bala, you would have expected Rhys to win the ‘long-distance’ award (or at least share it with Tom & Lynda). He was trumped, however, by John Williams of Birkenhead, who in turn was trumped by Karen White, who had travelled some 9,500 miles to sing for us.

Rhys Davies

Karen, the Quintessential Quirk (take a look at her website), spends a few weeks visiting family in the U.K. every year and always makes a point of joining our music nights. Tonight she treated us to the songs of Kirsty MacColl.

It was good to see our ‘Mr Blues’, Brian Peters, again and also Mr ‘Give Prostrate the Finger’, Hugh Rolands, who’s songs carry a health warning to raise cancer awareness.

Robin ‘the busker’ Wynne Jones was back in our midst after a summer on the rolling seas (well okay, the calm canals).

Everywhere he moors his narrowboat, Robin makes a point of doing a busking session to raise money for charity. Most recently, the Cropredy Folk Festival was his point of focus, boosting his contribution to Cancer Research to over £12,000

Tonight’s Roll Call: Chris Birchall, Hugh Rolands, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Eastwood, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Glyn Hudson, Luis Riley, Mark Thatcher, Rhys Davies, Dave Ryder, Neil Martin, Robin the Busker, Richard Ruthin, Vicky Riley, Alan Thompson and Linda, Karen White (the quirky one), Joe Lyon, John Williams, Penni Neale, Enid Toft, and Brian Peters