Cirrus, Stratus and Cumulus

By |November 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Amazing as these three cloud types are, I usually associate them with landscape photography.

It was far too dark for such an activity on Thursday evening, of course, so it was just as well they manifested themselves in the shape of Pete, Di & Dom, aka ‘The Amazing Clouds’.

Tash Allcock

This three-piece band from Corwen paid us a visit ahead of a gig they are playing at The Centre, in Ruthin on the 24th November, alongside the equally amazing John Williams.

They opened up the evening by taking us to a place not normally associated with having any clouds at all, with sounds of the Arabian Desert in “The Sandstorm Set”. Later they deposited us in foggy old London with Cockney Rebel’s “Make Me Smile”.

Lynda Degney took us to the “Northern Plains” as Tom went “Clickedy Clack” down the railway track, whilst all the time Richard Davies was “Living on Tusla Time”.

The tale of the “Ballymore Fiddler” was retold by Glyn Hudson in nya nya nya fashion, and Joe Lyon was dreaming “Dansette Dreams” and yearning for “A Place in the Sun”.

My own contributions came courtesy of Willy Nelson and Bread.

“One More Cup of Coffee for the Road” was on Robin Spreckley’s mind, for which he was joined by Penni Neale.

Young Tash Allcock made a welcome return to the club, juggling her musical endeavours with her academic studies. Alternating between guitar and ukulele she treated us to three lovely songs including Elton John’s “Yellowbrick Road”.

Denbigh musician John Evans sang two of his fabulous self-penned numbers, roping in his former band buddies Linda Thompson and Alan Thompson.

Linda also provided some beautiful backing vocals for her brother Alan’s own sets which included the Tears for Fears hit “Mad World”.

It was Penni Neale took us up to chucking out time with Richard Shindell’s beautiful, “Ballad Of Mary Magdalen”.

October 25th Singers’ Night

By |October 31st, 2018|0 Comments

Geoff Hollis

Sixteen minstrels made their way down to the tavern that is The Feathers last Thursday, together with a dozen or so followers.

Ale was drawn, tea was poured and soon after 8.00pm, the merriment began with a rousing set from Sir Richard of Ruthin accompanied by Lord Degney of Deganwy.

In fact, Tom was led on a merry dance throughout the evening’s festivities, having no sooner sat down from accompanying one performer before being called upon to accompany the next. Luckily his instruments had a chance to cool down as he used his guitar, mandolin and Jumping Flea (his ukulele) in strict rotation.

Cath Bryan

It was a varied and thoroughly enjoyable evening with everything from a-cappella folk songs from Glyn Hudson and Geoff Hollis to Gershwin from Jeff Jones. There were rebel-rousing busking favourites from Robin, Bluegrass favourites from Linda, Beatles from Joe Lyon and some dark and dusky Cohen courtesy of Neil Martin.

The Kirkham and Bryan partnership offered a contrast of styles with Pete also delivering some powerful ‘dark and dusky’ stuff, whilst Cath took us in the opposite direction with her sweet songbird voice.

Peter Leslie treated us to songs that admirably demonstrated his song-writing skills and even included a home-grown protest song.

Alan Thompson and Tom Degney

One of our most recent ‘regulars’ Alan Thompson, called upon one of most long-standing regulars, Tom Degney, for his mandolin skills on a traditional song about the Blue Ridge Mountains and a somewhat less traditional Grateful Dead song “Friend of the Devil”.

Peter Leslie

Then before we knew it, finale time had arrived. Wendy and Richard had each performed their sets, Wendy giving a first airing to her version of the lovely Kacey Musgraves song, “Rainbow”, and Richard honouring Don Williams with “It’s Who You Love”.

For the finale, we brought them both to the stage for that lovely duet “Sunshine on Leith” by the Proclaimers.

Role Call:  Robin the Busker, Jeff Jones, Peter Leslie, Pete Kirkham, Lynda Degney, Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Cath Bryan, Richard Eastwood, Richard Ruthin, Glyn Hudson, Chris Birchall, Geoff Hollis, Neil Martin, Alan Thompson, Wendy Eastwood.

Singers Night October 18th

By |October 25th, 2018|0 Comments

Sorry, there is no write-up this week due to hackers blocking access to the site.

I have managed to get some pictures uploaded though and big thanks to all who made Thursday yet another great night of music at The Feathers.

Here’s the roll of honour…

  • Rhodri Hampson Jones, Lynda Degney, Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Colin Campbell, Alan Thompson & Linda, Dave Hytch, Geoff Durno, Chris Birchall, Neil Martin, Robin the Busker, Richard Eastwood, Wendy Eastwood, Brian Peters, Tom, Dick & Harry with John Bass

October 11th Singers’ Night

By |October 17th, 2018|1 Comment

Tara Crank

Following on from last week’s Jon Coley concert, it was back to normal with our regular Thursday Singers’ Night.

Not that there is anything wrong with normal. We are so lucky at Ruthin AllStyles, to have a vast number of musicians frequent our weekly sessions in the function room at The Feathers.

In addition to a small core of die-hards who we see on a regular basis, there are those we might see once a month or so, those who we might see once in a blue moon and, of course, the steady trickle of new faces.

Tara Crank

And with them comes a wonderfully diverse range of styles and genre, helping the club live up to its ‘AllStyles’ epithet.

The evening was opened by Carmarthenshire lass Tara Crank who was making her third visit to the club, bringing with her a unique and personal interpretation of songs by Joni Mitchell and Lisa Hannigan, complimenting a sweet and pure voice with some rather nifty guitar work.

Then she served up a lovely cover of the 1980s song by The Chieftains, “My Lagan Love”, singing a cappella, interspersed by some beautiful solo passages on her violin.

Richard Davies with Dawn and Carol

Two ladies making their AllStyles debut were Carol and Dawn, who we have seen a time or two at the Rhyl club. They recruited Richard Davies as second guitar for the Kate Wolf song “Across The Great Divide”, following up with “Roseville Fair” by Bill Staines.

Richard was kept busy, joining Tom Degney to accompany Enid Toft on the lovely traditional Welsh song “Myfanwy” as well as both doing their own spots.

The evening progressed in fine style with some great sets by Richard & Wendy Eastwood, Steve Bailey, Jim Cole, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Lynda Degney and Rhodri Hampson Jones.

And before we knew it, the evening drew to a close with an encore from Tara singing one of her own compositions, “Postcards”.

See you all again next Thursday.

“Flowers” performed by Tara Crank

Two Robins Do Not a Winter Make

By |October 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

Robin Wynne Jones

Although it is true that the regular appearance of one particular Robin does herald the end of the Summer. For people’s busker Robin Wynne Jones, tends to spend those balmy days weeks and months on his narrowboat cruising the waterways, singing to raise money for charity in between stop-offs at a number of prominent folk festivals.

As the nights draw in, we have the pleasure of hearing his barmy tales and listening to some of the songs that have helped Robin raise over £9,000  busking for Cancer Research.

The other Robin who made an appearance at The Feathers this week was not Robin Red-Breast but Robin Spreckley, and it’s always such a pleasure to enjoy his animated performances as he delivers his own particular style of song, along with mandolin accompaniment.

The real Wayne Fontana (Photo ©Daily Express)

The Game of…
Adding a touch of amusement to the proceedings, a gentleman turned up and introduced himself as Wayne Fontana. The sixties rock star (real name, Glyn Ellis) had lived in Ruthin during his teens before becoming famous for the 1965 hit “Game of Love” with the Mindbenders.

The fun started when a few of us started Googling ‘Wayne Fontana’, only to find that, whilst this guy bore a passing resemblance, he had miraculously grown a silver mop where a bald dome should be.  The sight of his fellow audience members tapping away at their phones must have made him realise he’d been rumbled. Announcing he was going to get a drink, the imposter headed through to the bar where he serenaded the barmaid with a few bars of ‘Game of Love” before heading off to “Catch his 10pm flight”, presumably to La-La Land 🙂

Robin Spreckley

Back to the Music
The evening also saw a flock of our regulars perching behind the microphones, namely Joe, Chris, Rhodri and Andrew. We spotted Alan Thompson and the first of only two female songbirds of the evening, his sister Linda, the other being Lynda Degney.

With Lynda, of course, was husband Tom, who also accompanied Richard Davies during his set.

And multi-instrumentalist Tom took to one of his recently-built banjos to accompany Robin the Busker in the finale spot, rounding off with a medley based around “The Belle of Belfast City” and “All For Me Grog”.

Richard Davies and Tom Degney

Next week we have the wonderful Cheshire Singer/Songwriter Jon Coley. Jon will be performing two 45 minute spots, but do please bring your instruments, as the evening will begin with a round of Floor Spots as usual.

 

Folk Songs, Birthday Songs, Wedding Songs and Kinky Songs

By |September 25th, 2018|2 Comments

Listen while you read. Click ► on the MP3 below for one of the best solo covers of Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done” that you are ever likely to hear.

Alan Thompson performing “Needle and the Damage Done”

Steve Bailey

It was Neil Martin who got things underway this week with Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr Bojangles” and then, in honour of what would have been Leonard Cohen’s 84th birthday, he sang a great version of the great man’s “Boogy Street”.

Steve Bailey was next up, with a fine a cappella helping of traditional folk

Tom Degney gave us a Tim O’Brien song, before accompanying Lynda on “Making Good Time” by the Gibson Brothers.

Back from his hols, Joe Lyon told us all about the “Comedians and Angels”.

Karen White

Our next act is known as ‘The Quirky One’ whose material has been known to — how shall we say, contain expletives that are pretty much commonplace in her homeland of Australia. Tonight, however, Karen White was whiter than white – although I have to say, one of her songs was a bit kinky, inasmuch as “Thank you for the Day” was written by Ray Davies and recorded by The Kinks.

She also gave us some lovely Kirsty McCall songs which Karen has recorded for her forthcoming new album. We always enjoy seeing her and John on their annual ten thousand plus miles pilgrimage to Ruthin. Check out Karen’s  website, http://quintessentialquirk.com.au/pc/

Singing unaccompanied, Glyn Hudson delivered “The Wedding Song” to mark the fact her daughter is about to be married, and Penni Neale gave us “Little Things Mean a Lot” which she has been asked to sing at Glyn’s daughter’s wedding next week. Penny also sang a fabulous version of “Reconciliation” written by the Irish singer/songwriter Ron Kavana.

A traditional American folk song “Cold Rain and Snow” was Cath Bryan’s contribution before accompanying Pete Kirkham on Chris De Burgh’s “Lonely Sky”.

Neil Martin

Chris headed the “Revolution”, singing the John Lennon song of the same name, followed by “Jealous Guy”.

Then we had another great set from Alan Thompson, which included Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done” and “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead.

What we “All I Want is a Quiet Life” – and so Neil Martin gave us his homegrown song of that very title as a fitting end to a lovely and varied evening of music.

Same again next week?

Thursday the 13th

By |September 18th, 2018|0 Comments

Flossie’s brand new album: Live – June 2018

No. It was nowt to do with superstition. The reason Jayne and I went AWOL last week was because we were taking a well-earned short break, Ee bah gum, up int’ Yorkshire Dales.

We also got to see the lovely Flossie Malavialle performing songs from her brand new live album, at a gig in the Sports Club over at Ulverston .

So I trust you will excuse the rather short post and join me in thanking Tom, Lynda, Wendy and Richard for setting up and running the evening in our absence, to Capt’n Pugwash (aka Rockin’ Robin) for being the MC. And thank you too, to all who turned out to support them, either as performers or as members of the audience.


This Thursday (Sept 20th)

It is another Singers’ Night, so do come along and join us in the function room at The Feathers.


…and looking forward 2 weeks to October 6th, we have a concert by the fabulous

Jon Coley

This young Chester musician has carved out a unique style all of his own, encompassing the romance of Folk and the heartbreak of Blues.

Jayne and I have twice seen Jon perform. Once at The Nordic Church in Liverpool and again at Thornton Hough Village Club, on both occasions doing the support spot for Gary Edward Jones. We had no hesitation in booking him to come and share his music with us.

Tickets are available at just £6 from WeGotTickets. Members concessionary tickets are available at The Feathers on club nights.

30 Cakes Hath September…

By |September 11th, 2018|0 Comments

Blowing the candles out this week were Wendy Eastwood and Gwynn Jones

Well it certainly feels that way in my house, we have so many family and friends birthdays during this, the ninth month. What is it about the run up to Christmas? Wouldn’t you think everybody would have been too busy to be frisky!

Anyway, two of said birthdays also occurred in the Ruthin AllStyles stable. Songbird Wendy Eastwood and regular audience member Gwynn Jones. I’m far too much of a gentleman to give a lady’s age away. Suffice to say they clocked up 120 years between them …and the candles were evenly distributed 😉

As we all scoffed cake during the break, birthday boy Gwynn also won the wine in the raffle. But the icing on the cake (and which goes to reinforce my earlier observation) was that Gwynn became a granddad in the early hours of the following morning.

Penni Neale

Penni Neale got the proceedings underway, giving her new toy its first public airing. There was nothing to see but plenty to hear courtesy of the unique Tonewood Amp strapped to the back of her guitar. Willie Nelson’s “Till I Gain Control Again” had the honour of being the first song it delivered.

A tale of the legendary “Carmarthen Oak” and the associated floods was Richard Ruthin’s first offering with additional mandolin accompany from Tom Degney. Tom stayed stage-side to accompany Lynda on “Plant Your Fields” and other bluegrass delights, before flying solo on his ukulele to play “The Third Man”.

I was in a Beatles kind of mood and my guitar was ‘gently weeping’.

Pete Kirkham (left) gave us Glen Hansard’s “Falling Slowly” with Cath on guitar, after which he took charge of it for the first time at the club (he’s been quietly learning to play, the dark horse) and the song he chose was the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt”.

Richard Eastwood doffed his cap to Don Williams with “We Should be Together”, and Wendy went all Swedish in an ABBA kind of way.

Cath Bryan sang a jewel of a song called “Hands” and Andrew Bowsher picked out some fine instrumentals on his parlour acoustic.

One of our newest ‘regulars’ is Denbigh’s Alan Thompson and in addition to some Ryan Adams goodies, he sang Stephen Stills’ “Four and Twenty”.

We always welcome new faces to the club, especially because they often become regulars. This week it was Lester Parrott, who hails from Llangollen. “Black Jack”, and Bob Dylan’s “I’ve Got the Worried Blues” where amongst his excellent songs.

The finale came before we knew it.  We had already heard The Carpenters’ “Only Just Begun” and a beautiful rendition of two lovely French love songs from Mike and Rosa (pictured below). The earworm they sent us home with tonight was the rhythmic classic, “Carnival”. (Click below to listen)

Next week: A Singers’ Night hosted by the Degneys and the Eastwoods.

End of August Gathering

By |September 4th, 2018|0 Comments

Click and listen to Bob Dylan’s epic tale “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” as told by Neil Martin

.

Peter Leslie

Thirteen musicians plus another seventeen in the audience, made for a comfortably full function room on what turned out to be another excellent evening of music.

It was an evening that began in fine style with a set by Wrexham songwriter Peter Leslie and ended in equally fine style with the smooth sonic and vocal reverberations of Penni Neale.

And in between we had a wonderful varied mix of style and genre. We had solos from Linda Griffith and Rhodri Hampden Jones, original poetry from Colleen and finger-picking instrumentals from Andrew Bowsher.

Neil Martin

In addition to some of his own material, Neil Martin told Bob Dylan’s epic tale of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”. (If you clicked the soundbite above, you should be listening to this right now).

Country, bluegrass and Americana was the order of the day so far as Richard Davies, Tom and Lynda Degney were concerned.

Joe Lyon raised a music glass to mark the 77th birthday of John McNally, founding member of The Searchers, and I ventured into Beatles territory.

It’s no secret that Alan Thompson is a fan of Ryan Adams, so it was no surprise to hear he and Linda sing “My Wrecking Ball”. They followed this beautifully with Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires”.

Finale time came with Penni’s lovely version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.

Another Splendid AllStyles Singers’ Night

By |August 13th, 2018|1 Comment

Wendy Eastwood

Sixteen singers plus another twenty-two who had come along to enjoy the music, meant the function room at The Feathers was comfortably full on what promised to be another splendid AllStyles Singers’ Night.

And it was a promise fulfilled, with a wide variety of styles by musicians who joined us from as far as Llandudno, Rhos-on-Sea, Abergele, Denbigh and Rhyl to the north-west; and from Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port and Malpas to the north-east. They came to share in, and contribute to, a wonderful evening of live music.

John Williams

No ‘new faces’ as such tonight, but it was good to see Colin Campbell and Mike Whitaker back at the club, Mike having added to his repertoire of self-penned songs since we saw him last.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard Linda Griffiths adding beautiful harmonies to the (mainly Ryan Adams) songs sung by her brother Alan Thompson. This week she did a spot in her own right, starting with a rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”, sung a cappella, as intended, with a powerful voice that fair knocked our socks off. Then she spiced things up with “Hesitation Blues”, accompanied by Alan on guitar.

The evening had been kick-started by the maestro John Williams on his cello mandolin with Richard Thompson’s “Lawrence, Kansas” followed by the American folk song written by Ray Lamontagne, “Roadhouse Girl”. Later in the evening we also heard one of John’s own songs, “Red Door”.

 

Mike Whitaker

The finale spot this week fell to Neil Martin who, in melancholic mood, treated us first to a Don Mclean’s Crossroads, followed by an autobiographical blues number, “Walking”.

For an encore, Neil acceded to a request (from me) for a Leonard Cohen song. He chose “Famous Blue Raincoat”, which happens to be one of my favourite Cohen songs. (Click the ► above to listen in).

And so another exceptional evening of music drew to a close.

From the striking of the first chord to switching off the mics had been three hours, three minutes and fifty seconds (the length of the WAV file on the mixing desk) and the full list of contributors were: Richard Davies, Colin Campbell, Richard and Wendy Eastwood , Glyn Hudson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Cath Bryan, Chris Birchall, John Williams, Linda Griffiths, Penni Neale, Mike Whitaker, Alan Thompson, Neil Martin and Joe Lyon. (Click ► below to hear Joe’s “Long and Winding Road)

Don’t forget folks…
There is no club night at The Feathers next week (August 16th).

We are back on the 23rd with a Showcase by Fuchsia Jones – plus floor spots, so bring your instruments as usual.