Eee ‘ello, it’s Phil Bates!

By |March 21st, 2014|0 Comments

140320-2398Little did I know back in 1978 as I sat next to Whispering Bob Harris in Wembley at the start of ELO’s spectacular “Spaceship” world tour, that the lead singer of their support band Trickster would end up being a frequent visitor to our little folk club in Ruthin!

Once again we have been privileged to welcome Phil Bates back to the club, despite the fact that last time he rocked the rafters of Ye Olde Cross Keys he announced it was has last UK gig.

That was thirteen months ago and although Phil Bates has since moved to live in Berlin, he recently emailed to say he would be in the UK for a couple of weeks and would love to look in on us again.  Needless to say, we snatched his hand off.

What a joy it is to be entertained by such an accomplished musician in the intimate surroundings of a market town pub, particularly when it is someone who has performed in such prestigious venues as Wembly Stadium and Carnegie Hall, and still fills arenas all over the world with his bands ELO Klassik and the Phil Bates Band!

140320-0357Phil gave us a fabulous evening’s entertainment with his own re-worked versions of songs from the Beatles, the Stones, Steve Earl, Ray Davies and many other 70’s and 80′ classics as well as several of his own compositions.  For me, one of the highlights of the evening was the ELO classic Can’t Get it Out of My Head, originally a full orchestral number that he transposed into an acoustic performance beautifully.

Phil’s guitar has always intrigued me. It is as battered and holey as Willy Nelson’s yet in the main he finger-picks.  Last night however, he performed an instrumental number which he described as Celtic Punk, and his use of the plectrum gave a good insight as to how the hole became worn into his trusty Takamine acoustic!

All in all it was a terrific entertainment with absolutely top class music all night. Starting with Harry and John Bass opened with half a dozen numbers, right through to when John returned to the stage to accompany Phil Bates for three or four numbers in the finale.

Anthony John Clarke

By |October 13th, 2013|0 Comments

What a terrific evening we had last Thursday, in the hands of singer/songwriter Anthony John Clarke. And as if his melodic, gentle vocals and his impeccable guitar style was not enough, Anthony’s cheeky Irish humour kept the capacity audience well and truly entertained.

The evening was opened by club member Phil Townson with a set of four of his latest self-penned songs.

Blue Mosquitos

By |June 20th, 2013|0 Comments


The Blue Mosquitoes are an a vibrant energetic young band from Tasmania with a growing reputation in both the Australian and British music scene and it is plain to see they are going to have a big future.  Their appearance at Ruthin AllStyles Music Club was part of their 2013 tour of the leading UK Folk Clubs and Festivals to promote their soon to be released ‘Live in the UK’ album.

Read a full review of the gig on the Hairy Photographer’s blog

They raised Merry Hell

By |March 28th, 2013|0 Comments

They came. They braved the bad weather  –  and they raised Merry Hell!
It was folk rock at its very best.  This Lancashire based band made a welcome return visit last night to the Ruthin AllStyles Music Club and as always, they went down a storm.
Comprising the three Wigan born Kettle Brothers: John, Andrew and Bob (guitar, vocals and Mandolin, respectively) plus John’s wife Virginia who alternates on lead vocals with Andrew.  The band’s repertoire consists entirely of their own material.  Their up-beat, uplifting music and their catchy lyrics have you singing along before the song is half through.  And by the time you been to two or three of their gigs, you find yourself knowing almost all the words.
Their songs are rocky and full of fun and humour yet, in true folk tradition, each has an evocative tale to tell. Many carry a strong underlying message; almost protest songs – but without the gloom.
Merry Hell are currently touring the Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales folk/music club circuit as a four-piece and larger venues as a seven piece, adding keyboard, bass and drums into the mix.
The band’s second album ‘Head Full of Magic, Shoes Full of Rain’ is due to be released any time now.  Meanwhile, you can download a sample track for free on their website:

Phil Bates rocks at the Cross Keys

By |February 28th, 2013|0 Comments

130228-4158One of the songs sung at Ruthin Allstyles this week was “Doesn’t get any better than this” …and d’you know, it really doesn’t!
Phil Bates gave us an evening’s entertainment as good as you would get anywhere. He has, after all, performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and was part of the second incarnation of the rock band ELO.
So what was he doing performing at the Cross Keys? Quite simply, he really likes the warm welcome he gets at Ruthin AllStars. This was the third time be has appeared as a guest – plus he even called in to do a spot on a regular “singers night” a couple of years ago whilst on holiday in North Wales with his family.
Sadly, this was his last gig in the UK before moving to Germany with his new band.
We were also delighted to see the return this week of Dawn and Alan, who opened the evening in fine style.

Jim Crawford plays the blues

By |August 20th, 2011|0 Comments

Jim GibsonThursday 18th August 2011 was the first guest night that Ruthin All-Styles Music has held at the Cross Keys. And with Jim Crawford as our guest, the usual high standard was maintained.

John Ryder introduced the evening and as always one of our own locals opened the evening and this time it was Phil who played three of his own brilliant songs.

As an impressive multi-instrumentalist, Jim kicked off with Bukka White’s ‘Jitterbug Swing’ on his slide resonator.  Then he played a few on his Gibson before moving on to the banjo.

jim UkeleleFinally he played the ‘jumping flea’ (or Ukelele to we non-Hawaiians).

Although Jim is an expert blues player, with an excellent ‘feel’ for the genre, he also is on top of other areas, such as bluegrass and folk, plus he writes his own fine material. The audience were delighted with his performance. (And, by the way, many thanks to those of the audience who travelled long distances to be with us).

Ros Ryder