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.

Cake, Poems, & All Styles of Music. Oh… and did I mention cake?

By |August 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Enid Toft

The room was comfortably full, and by the start of the second half of the evening, so were our bellies.

Because we now have such a large membership, we only tend to do cake for “special birthdays”. This week that honour was bestowed upon the lovely Enid Toft.

I’m far too much of a gentleman to reveal a lady’s age, so we celebrated the fact she has been attending our music nights fairly regularly since her first visit twenty years ago.

When she was fifty. 😉

We normally see Enid performing to the guitar accompaniment of Neil Wilkinson but as he was away on holiday, this week she took to the mic a cappella and treated us to two lovely songs in Welsh, “Adref” and the Ryan Davies song “Pan Fo’r Nos Yn Hir”.

Neil Martin

New Faces
Hailing from Ellesmere Port way, Colleen made her AllStyles debut on her ukulele with a rendition of “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, which was written by Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, and followed up with two of her splendid home-grown poems.

Another new face was that of Neil Martin. It was in fact his second visit to the club, but the first time doesn’t really count. It was back in the winter when he braved the heavy snow to venture over the Clwydian Range, to find the only others foolhardy enough to venture past their front doors were myself and Mark Thatcher. Nevertheless, a very pleasant evening ensued with the three of us jamming ’til closing time.

Tonight Neil gave us a fabulous version of the Jerry Jeff Walker song “Mr Bojangles” (click ► above) and Tom T Hall’s “How I Got to Memphis”. Hopefully we won’t have to wait for it to snow before we see him again.

Tom Goodall

We had a fine and eclectic mix of styles and genres from our regulars: “House of the Rising Sun” from Joe Lyon. I joined him on the 12-string for this classic Animals number, and ventured into Dylan territory for my solo spot. Jim Cole gave us some bonny Scottish jigs. We had Cash from Richard Eastwood and Cline from Wendy followed by the couple duetting on the Don Williams song “Shelter of your Eyes”.

Bluegrass and Americana were Tom and Lynda Degney’s preferences. Then for his solo spot, Tom showed off the latest instrument to emerge from his workshop, a solid-bodied electric midi mandolin.

Tom Goodall paid us a welcome return visit with three of his self-penned songs, including “A Beautiful Face but an Ugly Heart” and the touching, poignant “Mother’s Hug”.

It was good to see Alan Thompson and his sister Linda back for a third visit in as many weeks. Their voices harmonise so beautifully and I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping we have acquired a couple of new ‘regulars’. Alan is a self-confessed fan of Ryan Adams. “Invisible Riverside” and “To Be Without You” were on their menu tonight.
Alan and Linda singing “Deep Ellum Blues” filmed by Linda’s husband Kev.

Click the volume setting. If the video doesn’t play, you can find it on our Facebook page

In the second half they sang the Traditional American blues number “Deep Ellum Blues” made famous by the Grateful Dead back in the sixties. There had been spontaneous shouts of ‘More’ from the audience, so we brought them back to sing Ryan Adams’s “Oh My Sweet Carolina” for us in the finale.

These Singers’ Nights just keep on getting more and more enjoyable. We are so lucky to have so many talented musicians turning up week after week, both visitors and regulars.


A Welcome Breeze

By |August 1st, 2018|0 Comments

Breeze

Whilst we’ve all been lapping up the hottest summer for years, it was quite refreshing to see temperatures drop a little last week.

However, the welcome breeze that greeted us at The Feathers on Thursday was of the musical, rather than the meteorological variety.

Breeze were originally meant to be part of our Ruthin Festival Week event, last month, but unfortunately had to pull out due to illness. So it was with great pleasure we were able to invite the band back to perform a little Showcase Spot.

They are a new band based upon old traditions, in as much as Llinos Finnie and John Rowell (John Bass) performed together in the band “Mantra” some twenty years ago, during the formative days of the then Ruthin Folk Club.

Neil Wilkinson

Back then, the third band member was Bryn Roberts, a much loved club regular who sadly lost his battle with cancer some three and a half years ago. Recently, the pair hooked up with AllStyles regular Neil Wilkinson, giving the legacy of Mantra new wind in the form of Breeze.

Neil’s impeccable guitar style is the perfect compliment to John’s beguiling bass playing and Llinos’s lovely vocals as they perform cool covers and tuneful originals.

Their six song set included the Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More”, Sting’s “Fields of Gold”, a lovely instrumental written by Neil entitled Snowflake, and the late Bryn Roberts’ favourite from the Mantra era, “Love Song”, written by Lesley Duncan, which featured some beautiful harmonic backing vocals from John.

Click ► below to listen to Love Song

 

Floor Spots
Just like the weather, you can never accurately forecast who will be turning up for Floor Spots and in addition to Breeze, there were eleven other acts to warm our hearts in a top class manner with a varied mix of styles and musical genres.

Ron McSweeney

John Bass was kept doubly busy, performing as he does with the Tom, Dick and Harry band.

Harry brought with him a musical pal from Nottingham, in the form of Ron McSweeney, who opened both halves of the evening for us. And Tom Degney, of course, was as busy as ever providing accompaniment when called upon, on mandolin, guitar and dobro.

Tom also rounded off what had been a superb evening of live music, with his ever popular “Dr Jazz” medley.

Roll call:
Tom & Lynda Degney, Rhodri Hampden Jones, Glyn Hudson, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Cath Bryan, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, the Tom, Dick & Harry band (with John Bass), Ron McSweeney, and Breeze featuring Llinos Finnie, Neil Wilkinson and John Rowell.

Fields of Gold

Yesterday Once More

 

Sixteen Singers

By |July 21st, 2018|0 Comments

Geoff Durno

Sixteen singers, some thirty eight songs, including several collaborations and an a cappella trio.

It all added up to an great night’s entertainment for the forty-odd audience seated in the function room at The Feathers this week.

Joe Lyon got the evening underway for us with some Beatles and Ray Davies.

Tom Degney was kept busy, as always, accompanying his good lady, Lynda, as well as collaborating on songs by Richard Davies, Penni Neale and others, in addition to his own solo spot.

John Evans

Wendy too, as she provided backing vocals for Richard Davies and duetted with her husband Richard Eastwood.

Rhodri Hampden Jones sang for us in both English and Welsh, and Geoff Durno treated us to a musical history of the birth of the trade union movement.

Mamma G & the Bebop Brunettes made a welcome third visit to the club, Angharad, Lyn and Laura delivering some beautiful close harmonies.

We obviously hadn’t frightened off John Evans following his debut at the club last week. He was back tonight with more of his wonderful self penned songs.

Click ► below to hear Mamma G & the Bebop Brunettes

Mama G and the Be Bop Brunettes

So too was Alan Thompson. This time Alan brought his sister Linda and treated us to some lovely duets. It turns out the pair were once in a band with John Evans and the three took a stroll down memory lane by getting together on one of his songs.

The range of musical styles had been wonderful and the quality of musicianship superb, so much so that the end of the evening seemed to come far too soon. Penni Neale brought it to a conclusion for us, her lovely melodious voice complimented beautifully by the tone of her guitar, fresh out of the workshop of Geoff Rowland who had lovingly restored it back to its former glory.

Alan Thompson and his sister Linda, with John Evans