A taste of things to come

By |February 27th, 2019|0 Comments

Gary Edward Jones

It started off looking like it would be a quiet night but soon busied-up until there were just shy of thirty, which was quite a respectable Singers’ Night tally.

And there was nothing shy about the eleven performers who confidently provided us with a splendid evening of musical merriment.

We were pleasantly surprised to see Gary Edward Jones saunter through the door armed with his Recording King, Dirty 30’s, Dreadnought.

Gary had come along to tease us with a few of the songs he will be performing here during his Intimate Concert in two weeks time (March 7th). We were privileged to enjoy the first public airing of three brand new songs – one so new didn’t yet have a title.

Alan and Linda

Personally, I can’t wait to hear them again on the 7th, along with some of the classics from his 2014 album ‘The Cabinet Maker’ and a helping of some of the Paul Simon covers that feature in his hit show ‘Something About Simon’.

Tickets are selling fast for the concert so click here to grab yours now at the massively subsidised price of £8.

Regular members get the usual concession and can pick up their tickets this coming Thursday at the club.

Glyn Hudson and Bob Neale

Speaking of our regulars, the evening brought some fine solo performances from Joe, Richard, Chris and Penni, as well as a few collaborations, namely Tom & Lynda Degney; Glyn Hudson & Bob Neale; and Alan Thompson and his sister Linda.

When it came to finale time, Gary Edward Jones treated us to a couple of Paul Simon classics, “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “Kathy’s Song”.



Valentine’s Music Night

By |February 19th, 2019|0 Comments

Brandon Ridley

It was a quieter night than usual, with several of our regular couples indulging in candle-lit rendezvous elsewhere, encouraged, no doubt, by an arrow from Cupid’s Bow.

Nevertheless, our music lovers numbered twenty-three, with the performers tallying a perfect ten.

Proceedings began with a couple of numbers by our guest for the evening, Brandon Ridley sporting an authentic Stetson that holds a clue to the Americana influences in his songwriting.

Neil Martin

Next up was Joe Lyon, who was turning “A Whiter Shade of Pale” with a rather tasty cover of the sixties Procol Harum hit. Then I borrowed Joe’s six-string to do a topical rendition of Henry Priestman’s  “Valentine’s Day”.

Alan Thompson opened his first set with the Grateful Dead song “Deal”, followed by the first public performance of his latest composition, “Try”.

Another first public airing came in the form of Neil Martin’s “One More Night in Vienna” – or at least the first time it had been heard in its current form. It was one he had written back in 2016 and decided to revisit the song for a facelift and re-write over the last week or so.

The Degneys took “A Walk in the Irish Rain” before venturing up onto “The Northern Plains”, the latter garnering the customary wolf-howl accompaniments from the auditorium.

Lizzie Pegler

There was more Americana to come. With Tom Degney riding shotgun on his trusty mandolin, Richard Ruthin took to “The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia”, the Utah Phillips song made famous by country legend, Emmylou Harris.

We were pleased to welcome a new face to Ruthin AllStyles tonight. It belonged to Rhyl singer-songwriter Lizzie Pegler who sang two excellent self-penned songs, “Trust” and “Roost”.

Taking us up to the mid-evening break, Robin the Busker almost sang about Valentine’s Day with an almost love song in the shape of Rag ‘n Bone Man’s “Skin”.

After the Break
Brandon had joined us to showcase half a dozen songs from his album Mighty Fine, Broke and Free which is due for release on the 22nd of this month and to open the second half of the evening we heard “The Balad of Walt and Jess”, “Take My Blues”, the lovely ballad “Light a Spark”, and the upbeat “Slap the Jukebox”.

Working closely with the Goat Ropers Rodeo Band, who produced the album, Brandon is also due to appear with them as the support act on the band’s forthcoming tour which will take in London, Bangor, Church Stretton and Edinburgh.

Then, when our floor singers had performed their second set it was over to Brandon the end the evening with a great cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” followed by an encore in the form of the Leon Russell song “Hurt Somebody”.


A Brillig Night

By |February 13th, 2019|0 Comments

Gill, Gilly, Mick and Ian – Jabberwocky

Yes, in the words of the nineteenth-century author Lewis Carroll: ‘Twas brillig. 

And on the subject of Lewis Carroll, how brillig it was to see and hear Jabberwocky back at Ruthin AllStyles. They opened the evening for us with “Handbags and Gladrags” and later they gave us songs from the likes of Chris Rea and The Supremes, plus a lovely song of their own, entitled “Full Moon in Winter”.

Mick, of course, has a long association with the club, harking back to when he was the front man in the band Raven, together with John Rowell and the late Bryn Roberts. In Jabberwocky, he shares the vocals with Gill and Gilly, plays bass guitar and harmonica, accompanying the band’s versatile cornerstone pianist Ian.

Pete Kirkham

Together they perform covers spanning six decades of popular numbers that demonstrate their love of vocal harmony and have built a repertoire that includes many styles and tempos from slow ballads to energetic foot-tappers. Also to their credit, the band have raised almost £11,000 for cancer charities over the past four years.

But it wasn’t just a band night; we had eleven solo performers singing up to three songs each.

Richard Ruthin sang “He Was a Friend of Mine” enlisting the help of his friend Tom Degney to accompany on mandolin. Tom stayed up to play the guitar for his wife Lynda who sang the Christy Moore classic “Ride On”, before doing his own solo spot which included “Darling Nelly Gray”.

Geoff Durno

Glyn Hudson aired two new songs “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” and “Crystal Chandeliers”. Pete Kirkham sang about the “Dirty Old Town” and Joe Lyon told us about “Comedians and Angels”.

Steve Earl’s 2017 song “Girl Upon the Mountain” formed part of my set and “This Old Guitar” was the mainstay of Geoff Durno’s.

Songstress Cath Bryan sang “Crazy Baby” and “Obvious Child”, and Rachael Stanley did an a cappella version of Mike Batt’s “Caravan Song”.

John Williams

The ‘long-distance award’ went to Wirral John Williams who sang one of his own songs, “Peel Island”, and acknowledging that St Valentine’s Day is around the corner, a rather tasty version of Ed Sheeran’s love song “How Would You Feel”.

Then for the finale spot, we called Jabberwocky back onto the stage to send us home with our feet tapping to the 1972 Roxy Music hit, “Virginia Plain”.

Next Week:
It’s another Singers’ Night plus a “Big Spot” by Brandon Ridley who will be showcasing half a dozen songs from his just-released CD.


Yellow Snow

By |February 2nd, 2019|1 Comment

John Bass

It will take more than a yellow snow warning to stop a merry band of minstrels from enjoying themselves down at The Feathers.

Fourteen turned up to perform, plus the same number again who came to enjoy the entertainment.

Tom, Dick & Harry were joined by John Bass to get things moving at the “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”. Then Chris, Glyn Hudson and Bob Hall respectively honoured Neil Young, Willy Nelson and Gerry Marsden.

The Kinks were on Joe Lyon’s mind as he painted us a “Waterloo Sunset”.

She might have been nursing a sore thumb but you wouldn’t know it, listening Penni Neale’s stunning performance of “Autumn Leaves”.

“It’s all right now” sang Lynda Degney in Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party”, accompanied by her husband Tom, who went on to sing about Darcy Farrow in his solo spot.

Dave Noakes

With backing vocals from his wife Penni, Bob Neale put his money on Kenny Rogers’s “The Gambler”.

“The Punch and Judy Man” was the opening song from Ruthin AllStyles first-timer Dave Noakes. He was obviously looking forward to the summer following up, as he did, with the Chris Foster song about the swallows “Flying High, Flying Free”.

Another antidote to the cold snap came as Neil Martin harked back to the 1990s and warmed our hearts with a song he had written on a sun-kissed beach in Tobago, followed by Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”.

Alan Thompson aired another song from Ryan Adams’ back catalogue and then enlisted the help of his sister to provide some beautiful backing vocals on one of his own compositions “Take Me To the Place”.

Harry Robertson

Then to finish the evening it was back to Tom Dick and Harry who took us on “The Walk Of Life” with Richard on lead vocals.

And for an encore, they give us Harry Robertson’s lovely ballad “When I Danced With You”.


Elastic Walls, Glaas Walkers and Wild Roses

By |January 26th, 2019|2 Comments

Glaaswalkers Mike Clark and Brian Connaughton

It was yet another of those evenings for which elastic walls would have been beneficial. With the numbers nudging forty, we were just short of “standing room only” (or at least stealing stools from the main bar).

Lynda Degney opened the proceedings with the Gibson Brothers’ song, “We’re Making Good Time” accompanied by Tom on guitar.

And as always, the dynamic Mr Degney was also kept busy throughout the evening, providing guitar, mandolin and dobro backing for a whole host of performers, including Robin the Busker and Richard Ruthin.

Cath Bryan and Pete Kirkham

Joe Lyon was in a Beatles kind of mood and I ventured into Neil Young territory, giving the 12-string it’s first outing since raconteur and luthier extraordinaire Harry Miller worked his magic on it to fix a bridge that was threatening to launch itself into outer space.

The night included three performers who sang a cappella: Rachael Stanley chose a Van Morrison number,  Bob Hall became “The Piano Man”, a la Billy Joel, and Deborah Jackson gave us a lovely version of Willy Nelson’s “Crazy”.

Making his first appearance in many a blue moon, Rhyl singer-songwriter Roland Hughes had everybody joining in the chorus on his topical and what turned out to be a very popular political protest song “We Don’t Trust You Anymore”.

Then it was a case of Tonight Matthew, Pete Kirkham and Cath Bryan are going to be… Nick Cave and Kylie – and what a brilliant job they made of “Where Wild Roses Grow”.

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome two-thirds of Llangollen band The Glaaswalkers, Brian Connaughton and Squeezebox Mike, who treated us to a helping of their rousing original material, accompanied on one of the numbers by Sue Loose on the triangle.

Linda Griffith

The brother and sister partnership of Linda and Alan Thompson were on fine form. We are used to seeing Alan providing guitar accompaniment for his sister. Tonight however, Linda demonstrated that she is an excellent guitarist in her own right, performing an excellent version of John Martin’s “May You Never”. (Click ► below to hear it)

For his own set, as well as the obligatory helping of Ryan Adams songs, Alan treated us to his beautiful and touching composition “For a Little While” with some enchanting harmonies from Linda.

After the Break
With eighteen performers, there was never going to be a second spot for everybody, so our random generator saved the day by selecting half a dozen to fill the last half hour.

One of those was Neil Martin who had earlier delighted us with his humorous composition “Neil Diamond Sang the Songs” (coincidentally on Diamond’s 78th birthday). And so it was he who brought this excellent evening’s entertainment to a close for us with another autobiographical song, “Walking”.

The Narrowboat Sessions

Mark Holdsworth

Mark Holdsworth is one of the area’s greatest ambassadors for original folk music. Each summer he travels the waterways of England and Wales, inviting singer-songwriters aboard his narrowboat, Cariad, to be filmed and recorded for his website and Facebook page.

Each year a selection of the songs are then taken into the studio to be professionally mastered to produce a double CD.

Each is an amazing collection of material by a wide range of performers and at just £10 including postage, fantastic value for any music lover.

Once production costs have been met, all profits go to Cancer Research UK – giving you yet another reason to Click Here to buy one.

Team Spirit

By |January 22nd, 2019|0 Comments

There was no big match on in the main bar this week but there was plenty of team spirit as we fielded eleven players, united in one cause …to put on a great evening of music in the function room of The Feathers.

When you add a dozen or so audience members, the room was sufficiently filled to provide a really nice atmosphere.

Since moving our home ground to The Feathers four years ago (pretty much to the day), we have seen the average audience numbers grow and although this week’s attendance was just about half the room’s maximum (seated) capacity, it’s easy to forget that with the same number in our previous venue, every seat would have been taken.

It’s also nice, once in a while, to have fewer performers, because having around a dozen or so means everybody gets to do an extra spot in the second half of the evening.

The “running order” app on my tablet contains an astonishing 120 names of people who have performed at the club since we started using that system two years ago. My biggest nightmare would be if they all decided to turn up for a floor spot on the same night!

As for this week, it was nice and relaxed with the usual eclectic mix of styles and genres that make Ruthin AllStyles so much more than just a folk club. That said, we did have somewhat of a Ryan Adams fest with four super songs from Alan, including the lovely “La Cienega Just Smiled”  as he opened both halves of an evening which ended with Penni Neal’s fabulous version of Adams’s 2011 hit “Dirty Rain”.

Roll call
Alan Thompson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Bob Neale, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Glyn Hudson, Richard Ruthin, Rachael Stanley, Robin the Busker and Penni Neale.


Second Singers’ Night of the Year

By |January 15th, 2019|0 Comments

Robin the Busker with Tom Degney

What a great turn-out for our second music night of 2019. Despite the bitter chill outside, no fewer than twenty-one performers played to a room of almost double that number.

There were three making their Ruthin AllStyles debut, namely Deborah Jackson, Mark Holdsworth, and young Helen who duetted with the mandolin-wielding Robin Spreckley. And it was good to see last week’s two ‘new faces’ Victor Pennington and Rachael Stanley returning – maybe to become regulars, who knows?

Mark Holdsworth

Mark, of course, is no stranger to the club although this was his first time at the business end of our microphones.

He is known to many as the man responsible for the Narrowboat Sessions, where musicians board his floating studio to perform songs that are videoed for broadcast via his website and Facebook Group, some of which make their way onto an annual double CD that is sold to raise funds for cancer charities.

Deborah Jackson

He was in good company tonight, with three other canal faring musicians in our midst, namely Neil Martin, Deborah Jackson and Robin the Busker who kicked-off both halves of the evening in typical rousing Robin style.

And there was music aplenty throughout the evening from our merry band of regulars, taking us up to a rather late finish this week with a finale spot by our old friend Canada Phil who, I am pleased to say, we have seen more of this year due to an extended visit to his homeland of North Wales.

Roll Call
Geoff Durno, Bob Neale, Glyn Hudson, Victor Pennington , Joe Lyon, Bob Hall, Robin Spreckley and Helen, Steve Bailey, Jim Cole, Alan Thompson, Robin the Busker, Neil Martin, Deborah Jackson, Chris Birchall, Rachael Stanley, Mark Holdsworth, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin and Canada Phil.

A Great Start to the New Year

By |January 8th, 2019|0 Comments

Victor Pennington

Sixteen singers sought to secure a super start to 2019.

And with a total attendance of almost double that number, the room provided a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our first Singers’ Night of the year.

In fact, it was a lively atmosphere all round as the big screens in the far bar were showing the Liverpool vs Manchester City match. Our resident football aficionado Joe Lyon kept an eye on the scoreline for us and, being a staunch Evertonian, delighted in reporting that City was one up against Liverpool FC as he came to the mic for his floor spot. He had intended singing the Manchester team’s signature tune “Blue Moon” but Cath Bryan had already sung “Once in a very Blue Moon” and Richard Ruthin’s set had included “Blue Moon Turns to Gold”. Joe concluded that those two song titles summed up the situation nicely and so treated us to a couple of rather tasty John Denver numbers instead.

English Folk, Americana and Welsh Arias
We had some Welsh a cappella from Rhodri Hampson Jones, some tuneful folkiness from Glyn Hudson and a helping of Americana from Tom and Lynda Degney.

Tom’s mandolin and dobro skills were very much in demand during the evening. Amongst others, he had accompanied Penni Neale on “The Green Green Grass of Home” and the beautiful ballad “Hickory Wind”, but not before she, in turn, had provided guitar accompaniment for Bob Hall on “You’ll Never be the Sun” (right).

I dished out some Lennon and some Dylan, then Geoff Durno went all Donovan on us with that legendary Scottish songwriter’s lovely ballad “Colours”.

Wendy and Richard Eastwood got all loved-up, she singing “Only Want to be With You” and he replying with “Can’t Stop Loving You”.

New Faces
The night also played host to two new faces at The Feathers. Rachael Stanley (left) gave us a lovely a cappella version of the Joan Baez song “Lady Mary”, and Victor Pennington accompanied himself on guitar for two folk songs from his Brazilian homeland in the country’s native Portuguese language. We hope these will both come and see us again soon.

Birthday Boy
The finale spot this week fell to birthday boy Neil Martin, (right) who reached his ‘three score years and ten’ on Sunday.

Having earlier treated us to the Don McLean song “And I Love You So” and Paul Simon’s “Duncan”, Neil chose is own beautiful composition “Nothing Stays The Same” to bring what had been a fabulous evening of music to a close. (Click the ► below to hear it)

Nothing Stays The Same – Neil Martin


Sea of Heartache – Richard Davies & Tom Degney


A Happy and Melodic New Year to you all

By |January 1st, 2019|0 Comments

That was the year that was

Yes, another year is behind us and one that has left the stone walls of The Feathers’ function room reverberating with some mighty fine sounds.

It was Gary Edward Jones who kicked off the first of the year’s six concerts in January with a selection of his beautifully crafted home-grown songs plus a little hint of the Paul Simon material that would form the basis of his highly successful “Something About Simon” show that was launched over two nights to sell-out audiences at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre later in the year.

This was followed in March by the multi-talented Jon Brindley; in April by the exceptionally entertaining Flossie Malavialle and in June by Jimmy Rae and the lovely Sarah Lou who as Tennessee Waltz gave us a fabulous evening of Country and R&B goodness.

In October we played host to Chester singer/songwriter Jon Coley whose mesmerising guitar style wowed us through his own material interspersed with covers of songs by the likes of Guthrie, Paxton and Jansch.

For the final concert of the year, we saw the return of Ruthin AllStyles favourites Welcomme, Finnan and Chrimes who always go down well — even when we don’t have cake! This time though, we had cake aplenty, as the day of the concert coincided with John Finnan’s 80th birthday. Great music from talented multi-instrumentalists who also happen to be three of the nicest blokes in the business.

In Addition to the concerts, we enjoyed a number of mini showcase evenings featuring Raphael Callaghan; Fuchsia Jones; Alan Thompson, Linda Thompson and John Evans; and to celebrate Ruthin Festival Week, an evening with The Tom, Dick & Harry Band, Chester & John Bass, Fuchsia, and the S4C Song For Wales winners Ceidwad y Gán.

Singers’ Nights
As good as those ten nights were, there were forty other nights, our regular Singers’ Nights, which serve to demonstrate how much talent there is on the acoustic music scene locally and throughout the region.

For a start, we are so lucky to have an enthusiastic core of regulars and semi-regulars; I’m not even going to begin naming names; you all know who you are and how much your support is appreciated.

These are augmented by a goodly number of occasional and first-time visitors, some of whom travel a fair distance to get to us from all corners of the UK as well as some from the other side of the globe.

There have been several Singer’s Nights where the room has been described as ‘comfortably full’, creating a fabulous atmosphere for audience and performers alike.

On a Sad Note

At The Cross Keys January 2013

Back in October, we were all shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of long-time music club member Neil Wilkinson, who died suddenly following a short illness.

One of his last performances was at the end of July, with fellow band members Llinos Finnie and John Rowell as part of their recently formed band ‘Breeze’. John and Llinos intend to continue as a duo under the same band name and during our November 15th music night, they performed half a dozen of Neil’s favourite songs in his honour.

Looking Forward
We are in the process of finalising the dates for (probably four) 2019 Concert Nights. See the press cutting below, and keep an eye on our What’s On Page. There will no doubt, be a sprinkling of Mini Showcase Nights thrown into the mix as the year progresses.

Meanwhile, the first of our Singers’ Nights is this coming Thursday, January 3rd. We look forward to seeing you from 8.00pm onwards.

The 2018 Christmas Knees-up

By |December 17th, 2018|3 Comments

Is it me, or are the club’s Christmas parties really getting closer together? It hardly seems a year since we were doing this last time!

And what a great evening it was. A full house, touching on the room’s maximum capacity, and with no fewer than twenty-two performers. There were some great covers, some excellent originals and plenty of Christmassy songs during an evening that began with some fine blues from Brian Peters and was brought to a close by the Tom, Dick & Harry band, on stage with a six-strong choir and pretty much the entire room joining in on the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me”.

The Thank-yous…
A huge thank you to Jayne for all her behind-the-scenes work, decorating the room and sourcing and wrapping the mountain of raffle prizes. Also to the owners of The Feathers for donating wine for the raffle and to the bar staff for looking after us. Thanks to Joe Lyon for helping set out the room. A special thank you to Glyn for making that delicious Christmas cake, to Ayşe Aydın for catering a fine selection of sandwiches and to everybody who brought contributions to the buffet table. And finally, to the twenty-two performers who gave it their all and provided a wonderful evening of music and mirth. We’ll see you back at The Feathers for more fabulous music nights, starting on Thursday, January 3rd.

A Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to you all.


Christmas Roll Call:
Bob Neale, Geoff Hollis, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, Geoff Durno, Joe Lyon, Richard Davies, Harry Robertson, John Bass, Enid Toft, Brian Peters, Rhodri Hampson Jones, Chris Birchall, Canada Phil, Mamma G & Bebop Girls, Glyn Hudson, Penni Neale, and John Williams.