A Warm Welcome

By |November 26th, 2018|1 Comment

Because Ruthin AllStyles is a club with hugely popular Singers’ Nights, we tend to limit the number of Guest Nights to just four or five concerts a year, plus a sprinkling of Showcase Spots.

On this basis, we try to ring the changes and will often book new artists who have previously turned up to do a floor spot that resulted in a good reception from our audiences.

On the other hand, there are one or two acts that we are always pleased to welcome back every couple of years or so. One such is the Chester based trio, Welcomme, Finnan and Chrimes.

Thumbs-up from birthday boy John Finnan

And we weren’t disappointed. As always, Frank, Andy and John treated us to a fabulous evening of uplifting entertainment, with musicianship and energy that belies their years. People talk about The Stones being brilliant in the autumn of their music careers. Well, I can tell you, these guys can give them a run for their money …and they look several decades younger than Jagger and co ūüėČ

The most senior member of the band is John Finnan and it turned out that he was celebrating his 80th birthday on the very day of the gig. Pre-warned of this, we had commissioned our in-house¬†p√Ętissier,¬† Glynis Hudson, to bake a cake. In the event, John’s wife Margaret had managed to smuggle in a cake too, so our audience on the night were very well catered for, both musically and gastronomically.

John Finnan and Andy Chrimes

The musical side of the menu was diverse and varied, with the three alternating between various guitars, banjos, accordions and the double bass.

They gave us songs from the British and American folk scene, and from the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, with John recounting the time he was at a Chester folk¬†club in the sixties when a young American¬†singer by the name of Paul Simon borrowed John’s guitar for a floor spot and breaking it in the process.

There was even a Merry Hell song in the set as the lads sang Virginia Kettle’s beautiful ballad “Arundale”.

And no Welcomme, Finnan and Chrimes gig would be complete without a bit of Procol Harlum. Andy Chrimes took lead vocals and with both he and Frank Welcomme¬†playing their respective accordions, this version of “Whiter Shade of Pale” really did¬†skip the light fandango and was something to behold.

As is always the case on our concert nights, the support act came in the form of floor spots from some of our regular members.

It was Robin the Busker who got the evening underway, followed by ten others, each contributing a two-song set.

Following a WFC finale comprising a medley of old favourites which saw pretty much everyone in the room joining in, when I¬†hear comments like “wonderful” and “best night ever”, it makes me feel proud of our little club and its enthusiastic members. And it makes all¬†the behind-the-scenes work well worthwhile.

The Floor Singers:
Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin, Geoff Hollis, Geoff Durno, Chris Birchall, Robin the Busker,  Glyn Hudson, Joe Lyon, Peter Leslie and Neil Martin.

 

Red Hill Revisited

By |November 14th, 2018|2 Comments

We have been enjoying Alan Thompson’s music here at the club for going on four months now. Since he and his sister¬†Linda discovered Ruthin AllStyles, their floor spots have become one of the highlights of our Thursday evening gatherings.

So this week we had a special treat as the pair not only performed a showcase but also brought in John Evans, the third member of their former band Red Hill, to join them on a few of the numbers.

It was a balanced and well thought-out set, comprising covers (did someone mention Ryan Adams? ūüėČ ) and some of Alan’s beautiful self-penned songs, all graced with some absolutely beautiful harmonies. Their voices really do work well together and their relaxed style makes it look so natural and so easy.

The former Red Hill line-up, Alan Thompson, Linda Thompson and John Evans

It was the second time we have used the new ‘split showcase’ format which seems to be going down well.¬† Alan and Linda opened the evening with two songs, opened the second half with four, and then did a couple¬†of numbers in the finale, allowing plenty of opportunity for floor spots (in this case from twelve other performers). The overall result was a varied and balanced musical program.

One of those floor singers was their friend and colleague John Evans and it was their turn to back him as he performed one of his own songs just before the finale.

The rest of the Floor Spot singers were: Chris Birchall, Steve Bailey, Penni Neale, Lynda and Tom Degney, Glyn Hudson, Joe Lyon, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, John Williams and Richard Ruthin.

Altogether making for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Neil Wilkinson

By |October 30th, 2018|1 Comment

It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Neil Wilkinson.

Neil was a long-time member of Ruthin AllStyles Music Club. A quiet unassuming man, he was loved and respected by his fellow musicians and by the audiences who listened to his music. Over the years he has provided guitar accompaniment to singers like Christine Scott and more recently, Enid Toft. One of his last performances here was at the end of July, with fellow band members Llinos Finnie and John Rowell as part of their recently formed band ‘Breeze’.

I consider it a privilege to have known Neil and to have had the honour of introducing him, and being able to witness first hand his incredibly precise and polished style of guitar playing.

He will be sadly missed.

Update:

Neil’s funeral will take place at Pentrebychan Crematorium on Wednesday the 21st of October at 11.30 am.

 

Jon Coley in Concert

By |October 10th, 2018|0 Comments

Click below to hear Jon Coley singing Cocaine Blues

The function room at The Feathers was comfortably full as our guest musician Jon Coley opened with the very first song he’d ever learned to play. It was the Bert Jansch version of the traditional Irish folk song, “Down by the Black Waterside”.

He followed on with a selection of self-penned songs, many of them autobiographical, interspersed by some covers performed is his own unique style.

Playing on his trusty Gibson, we witnessed some nifty fingerstyle melodies and gained an insight into his skills as a wordsmith and storyteller.

One of my personal favourites from this set was a song he’d written for his sister, entitled “Good Girls Have Bad Dreams”. And of his covers, I fell in love with his interpretation of Woody Guthrie’s “The House Carpenter”. Watching Jon’s fingers made me feel dizzy as he executed the rolling riffs, and the bluesy¬†Jerron Paxton number “Cocaine Blues” was just sublime.

Jon brought the first half of the evening to a close with the first public airing of a brand new song about living with your mistakes, “A Sweeter State of Mind”.

As is the norm for our concerts, both of our guest’s sets were preceded by a round of floor spots.¬† No fewer than eleven of our talented regulars performed up to two songs each, providing a fine and diverse mixture of genres and¬†styles, acting as the perfect foil to¬†Jon’s bluesy folk numbers.

For his second set, Jon brought his other two guitars into the equation, the most interesting of which was a lovely old f-hole jazz guitar dating back to 1935. This had been given to him by a fan whose father had played it back in the day with the Duke Ellington¬†Band. Jon did the old guitar deserved justice as he delivered some lovely ragtime blues in the form of the Muddy Waters, song “Turn Your Lamp Down Low”.

More great¬†songs followed, each one introduced with a little back story, and after his last song “Can’t Make It Rain”, Jon responded to the calls for more by abandoning the microphones and walking amongst¬†us to perform¬†his encore completely unplugged.

It was a beautiful finish to a lovely evening of fine music.

The floor spot performers tonight were:

Rhodri Hampson Jones, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, Richard Ruthin, Tom and Lynda Degney, Fuchsia Jones, Chris Birchall, Cath Bryan, Pete Kirkham and Penni Neale.

Click below to hear Jon Coley singing Can’t Make It Rain

Fuchsia’s Showcase

By |August 28th, 2018|0 Comments

Twelve months last May, a shy fifteen year old turned up to one of our Singers’ Nights armed with a guitar and two songs.

Since then we have watched her blossom as a performer, growing in confidence and developing her vocal and guitar-playing skills to the point where she has found herself performing at many events locally, including this year’s Graig Aid festival. And earlier in the year, opening at Rhyl Pavilion for¬†the award-winning Scottish band, Skerryvore.

Having invited Fuchsia Jones to perform an extended spot at the club, we were delighted to see the function room at The Feathers packed with an appreciative audience as she showcased half a dozen or so of the songs that have defined her musical journey.

That audience included her family, of course, as well as her guitar tutor, Skeet Williams, who sat with baited breath as she opened her set with the lovely Welsh language song ‚ÄúDy Lygaid Di”, written by Gwyneth Glyn.

She followed up with songs by Britney Spears, Ed Sheeran and Laura Marling

“Wicked Game”, by Chris Isaac, had been one of the very first songs on her first visit, along with¬†Ray Lamontagne’s “Jolene”. Both had pride of place in tonight’s showcase which she drew to its conclusion with Paolo Nutini’s “One Day”.

Scarlet Jones

Floor Spots
The evening had begun with floor spots from nine musicians performing up to three songs each. We had “Carolina Star” from Lynda Degney, and her husband¬†Tom delivered a protest song “For What It’s Worth” written by Stephen Stills.

Cath Bryan sang Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. Penni Neale sang Willy Nelson and Paul Simon; and I sang Beatles and Bob Dylan.

It was good to welcome back two members who we’d not seen in a while. Peter Stevens gave us John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “The Contender” (made famous by Christy Moore). Ron (from Wrexham) Stevenson sang the Russ Hamilton 1957 hit “We Will Make Love2, and the Five Penny Piece number “Ee By Gum”.

Peter Stevens

Fuchsia’s sister Scarlet has performed at the club once before and tonight we were treated to a lovely a cappella rendition of the Welsh language classic “Ar Hyd Yr Nos”.

It was Richard Ruthin who brought both the first and second rounds of floor spots to a close, doing so with “Moonshiner”, and the rousing classic “Putting on the Style” in the lively style of the ‘king of skiffle’,¬†¬†Lonnie Donegan.

Finale time was upon us, so we brought Fuchsia back on stage to sing “Creep”, by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and for an encore, “Liability” by the New Zealand singer, Lorde.

Raphael and The Baker’s Dozen

By |July 8th, 2018|0 Comments

In case you’re thinking that’s a cool name for a band… well it would be if it was, but it isn’t.

Raphael Callaghan is, of course, the mighty fine country blues singer who gave us an extended mid-evening showcase tonight, and the ‘baker’s dozen’ refers to the thirteen musicians who performed floor spots before and after.

Originally from Liverpool and now living on the North Wales Coast, Raphael has his own unique style of acoustic blues, gospel and roots. His performance and style of songwriting are the fruits of years of experience playing solo and in various groups and bands. The most recent, and indeed current position, of course, is as the fifth member of our own Tom, Dick and Harry band.

Tonight though, the stage was his and his alone, as he delivered a cracking set of eight songs, opening with “Living Blues”, followed by “Silk For Skin”. Some where old favourites, some were tracks from his latest album “Said and Done”.

As completely inconsistent as it was with the current heat wave, it was nevertheless refreshing to hear ‚ÄúToo Much Rain‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúThis Old Denim‚ÄĚ and¬†‚ÄúDon‚Äôt Let the Devil Drive‚ÄĚ were amongst the others we heard, Raphael accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica. He threw an a cappella number into the mix and kept us entertained with just the right amount of banter in between songs.

The function room at The Feathers was comfortably full, with a few new faces in the audience too. As well as those who had come to watch our guest perform, there were four gentlemen who were staying overnight in the area whilst walking the length of Offa’s Dyke. Their itinerary had been scheduled to include a stopover at the International Eisteddfod and a visit our little club. We were delighted when one of their group, Bill Hackwell, asked to borrow a guitar and perform a floor spot for us, singing “Putting on the Ritz”, followed by Richard Thompson’s “Beeswing”.

Another Rain Dance
It was also good to see the return of the globe-trotting Peter Leslie.

He too must be finding the heat a bit unbearable as he sang his own plea to the rain gods “Incessant Rain”.

We had a liberal sprinkling of country, folk and Americana from regulars Richard Davies, Tom and Lynda Degney. Some a cappella folk from Steve Bailey, some Scottish airs from Jim Cole, traditional Welsh folk from Rhodri Jones, and some memories of Merseyside from Joe Lyon.

The Eastwoods did what the Eastwoods do best: Don Williams from Richard and Patsy Cline from Wendy. And ‘Mr Blues’ himself, Brian Peters did us proud with his guitar, harp and stomp-box, singing “CC Rider” and “Sitting on Top of the World”.

It had been a superb, full and varied evening of music, with two songs each for the floor-spotters and eleven from Raphael.

Then it was over to our guest for the finale. He sang “Mercury Blues” (K. C. Douglas ) and his own song, “A Time to Leave”.

But it wasn’t quite time to leave, because we persuaded Raphael to do one more as an encore, with everyone in the room joining in on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”. (Click ‚Ėļ to play)

 

 

Festival Week Frolics at The Feathers

By |June 30th, 2018|0 Comments

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ruthin Festival, we held our own mini Woodstock with a Ruthin-centric Singer’s Night in which we showcased four local acts in the second half of the evening.

Fuchsia Jones
First up was Ruthin’s most promising, up-and-coming songstress, Fuchsia Jones. It was just thirteen months ago she made her first appearance at the club, since then we have watched this talented young lady blossom into a confident and polished performer.

The set comprised a string of lovely laid-back ballads that made the most of that beautiful pure voice of hers, and included “Tennessee Whiskey” and Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning”. Fuchsia finished with the Chris Isaac classic, “Wicked Game”, which also happened to be the very first song she had sung for us back in May 2017.

Ceidwad y G√°n
Another young performer whose progress we have followed is Harri Owen. He first turned up back in November 2016 with the only two songs he had learned to play. One of those was the Oasis song “Half a World Away” and we were knocked out by his gravelly, Gallagher-esque voice. Since then he has formed the band, Ceidwad y G√°n, with bassist Oli Bradley-Hughes,¬†percussionist Sam Moorcroft, guitarists Tomos Jones and Jake Vaughan-Evans. They played an absolute belter of a set that included a couple of good old sing-along Bob Dylan favourites “Wagon Wheel” and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.


Earlier this year the band took part in the S4C Song For Wales competition, taking first place with “Cofio Hedd Wyn”, a song written and composed by Harri’s father, Bov Owen. And as they brought their set to a close with that song tonight, they roped Bov in to play the lead guitar part.

Chester and JonBass
Our third showcase act was Chester and JonBass. John Rowell has been a Ruthin AllStyles member since the club’s early days and his superb bass guitar skills have enriched a number of bands along the way, including Mantra, Raven and Breeze, earning him the affectionate nickname of John Bass.

This recent pairing with Chester Weiss has resulted in a steady stream of bookings all over the region and they are currently working on a soon-to-be-released album.

Chester is a master of the lap steel guitar and this evening we were treated to one of the finest blues performances you are likely to hear, concluding with the Robert Johnson classic, “Stop Breaking Down Blues”.

The Tom, Dick and Harry Band
John is, of course, still a very much valued member of the Tom Dick and Harry Band, and it was quite fitting that we should feature this popular ensemble in the finale spot.


The set began with a beautiful song written by Harry Robertson, “Til I Danced With You”, followed by a string of our old favourites including the likes of “Same Old Blues Again” and “The Letter”, with the lead vocals alternating between Harry and Richard Davies. And for an encore, they had the whole room joining in with “Stand By Me”.

It was a fabulous evening of music served up by four excellent sets of musicians, each with their own distinctive style and thoroughly enjoyed by the packed audience in the function room.

Not forgetting, of course, the first-half floor spots by Chris Birchall, Rhodri Hampden Jones, Joe Lyon, and Tom & Lynda Degney.

Jimmy Rae, Sarah Lou and friends

By |June 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Appearing as the duo, Tennessee Waltz, Jimmy and Sarah treated us to a splendid evening of Country, Americana and R&B.

For a lively start to their first set, they put their foot on the gas with the song of that name which features on their album from their trio incarnation, Jimmy Rae and the Moonshine Girls, followed by another original, “When We Are Old”.

Their set leaned heavily on Americana with some great covers amongst their home-grown songs, including the Elton John/Bernie Taupin classic “Roy Rogers is Riding Tonight” (click ‚Ėļ below) and the beautiful¬† “Crazy”, written by¬†Willy Nelson.

This first set was brought to a close with two songs written sixty years apart: “Eddie’s Guitar”, penned by Jimmy, telling the story about Eddie Cochran who died in a tragic motor accident during his British tour back in April 1960. This segued seamlessly into the¬† American rock star’s classic, “Summertime Blues”.

Full Supporting Cast
Prior to Tennessee Waltz taking to the stage, we had a round of floor spots from our regulars, and after the mid evening break, it was the turn of Skeet Williams who gave us a great guitar solo before being joined by Fuchsia Jones, accompanying her on¬†“Tennessee Whiskey” and the beautiful Welsh language song by Gwyneth Glyn, “Dy Lygaid Di”. (Click ‚Ėļ below to play)

Next we had a song from Paul Reaney, called “A Town Like This”, the title track of the Birkenhead singer’s 2007 album.

Sarah and Jimmy had brought Paul along for the ride. But it wasn’t a free ride, far from it, as he joined the pair for many of the songs in their second set. He certainly earned his keep by adding some great guitar riffs along the way.

Just as in the first half, many of the songs were up-beat with Sarah Lou’s voice in sweet harmony to Jimmy’s rocky tones. These were interspersed with gentle ballads, many with Sarah taking the lead vocals, reminiscent of the great Patsy Cline.

And before we knew it, finale time had arrived. “Under The Mersey Moon” is a lovely song off Tennessee Waltz’s latest album “One Day”.

Then for an encore they gave us a good old country song in the form of John Denver’s “Country Roads” with the whole room joining in.

The supporting floor spot performers were:
Tom and Lynda Degney, Richard Ruthin, Joe Lyon, Rhodri Hampden Jones, Mike Kendrick, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, Skeet Williams and Fuchsia Jones.

Flossie Rocks Ruthin

By |April 24th, 2018|0 Comments

How good it was to have finally got Flossie Malavialle to Ruthin AllStyles.

And what a great night.

Performing before a capacity audience, this fabulous French folk singer thoroughly entertained us with an multifaceted collection of covers, with songs from the likes of The Beatles,¬†√Čdith Piaf, Vin Garbutt and Kieran Halpin, all topped off with some good old Country Rock in the shape of “Girls Night Out” by¬†Brent Maher.

The songs were diverse so that there was something for everybody, but at the same time, dovetailed in a way that they flowed like a well thought-out album.

Not only does she have a beautiful singing voice and effortless guitar style, Flossie is above all, a great entertainer. In that unique and fascinating Franco-Geordie accent of hers, she gave us an insight to the songs, and tales about her life and musical journey, satisfying her fans, some of whom had travelled many miles, and captivating the brand new fan-base that she was forging tonight.

I was so pleased when, early on in the evening, Flossie sang one of my personal favourites, “Luka” by¬†Suzanne Vega, which always brings a lump to my throat.

A good half of the audience was made up of club regulars, a number of whom performed a song each at the start of the evening, armed with an array of instruments from guitars to mandolins to border bagpipes. And it was a huge thrill for me to have the lovely Flossie alongside me harmonising as I tackled Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence”.

Before we knew it, finale time was heralded with Flossie’s version of “Til There Was You”. Then for an encore, her guitar remained on its stand as she had everyone in the room to join in, singing, clapping and stomping along to her fabulous a cappella rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”.

Home time, and it was our guest performer who faced the longest journey. I could never get my head around why anyone would want to emigrate from the Mediterranean climes of Nimes to live on the southern slopes of Newcastle upon Tyne! But I’m sure glad she did, because the contemporary British folk scene is all the richer for it.

Support Performers Roll Call
Penni Neale, Geoff Hollis, Joe Lyon, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin, Glyn Hudson, John Williams, Tim Eastwood, Chris Birchall

Next week: Singers’ Night, all welcome.

Click here for more videos from the concert

John Brindley Entertains

By |March 14th, 2018|0 Comments

We’d just got over the “Beast from the East”, when the lovable Jon Brindley breezed in to deliver a Feast from the East.

And the feast that he brought us from the wilds of Wigan, was a takeaway comprising the most diverse collection of covers and original songs as any lover of live music could ask for.

He served up helpings of Clapton, John Mayer, Trad Irish Folk songs, John Fogerty, and many more.

His first weapon of choice was the guitar, which he used for some lively rocky numbers. A string snapped half way through “Rollin on the River” and in true rock ‘n roll style, Jon carried on to the end of the song regardless.

Multi Instrumentalist
Luckily Jon had four instruments to choose from so whilst his guitar tech (me) took care of the restringing, he took charge of the electric piano and slowed the pace down with a set of three of his own compositions.

Then it was on to the accordion for some Steve Earl, including the catchy “Galway Girl”.

Back on guitar after the mid-evening break,¬† a beautiful french song¬†¬†“La vie de Campagne”, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”,and Clapton’s “Call me the Breeze” were followed by the Irish drinking song, “Rosin the Bow”.

This was the cue for Jon to pick up his grandmother’s violin for some jaunty jigs that were accompanied by much foot tapping and thigh slapping from the audience.

Then one more on the accordion took us up to the end of the set. Not that we were ever going to let him go so quickly. Jon came back with John Mayer’s “Sweet Little Mystery” that had been requested by Jayne. More Irish folk followed in the form of “The Fox”. Then came the encore where he sang one of his own songs “Sing Out”¬† accompanying himself on the accordion.

Support
The evening had begun with a round of songs from five of our regulars: Chris, Lynda Degney, Andrew Bowsher, Glyn Hudson and Penni Neale, and the second half was opened with a four song set by another five, in the shape of the full Tom, Dick and Harry band (including John Bass and Raphael).

Charity Cake Stall
During the evening we also had cakes for sale in aid of the nation-wide “Time for a Cuppa” fund-raising campaign in aid of the Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse charity. Cakes had been kindly donated by Ruthin Co-op and two of our members, Glyn and Barbara. The Feathers management kindly donated a bottle of bubbly for the raffle plus a cash donation.

All the tea/coffee and raffle money was added to the donations box on the cake table, adding up to a grand total of £116.35 raised for the charity.

A couple of video clips from the night.