Six of One, Half-Dozen of the Other

By |September 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Pete Kirkham

Yes, the performers totalled an even dozen, with an equal number of men and ladies and, with almost double that number in the room, it made for a terrific atmosphere.

It also meant that, unlike many of the busier nights we’ve been having recently, everybody had two spots each, providing an eclectic mix of three dozen songs, with Wendy’s encore in the finale ramping it up to thirty-seven.

And although it wasn’t planned, it turns out that everyone who performed, except Birchy himself, fell victim to the Hairy Photographer’s lens.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Richard announced that he and Tom were going to do “Baker Street” and apologised for the lack of a saxophone player.  Quick as a flash, Lynda jumps onto the stage to perform the saxophone solo on her kazoo.

Tonight’s Roll Call…
Chris Birchall, Lizzy Pegler, Alistair Irving, Pete Kirkham, Cath Bryan, Glyn Hudson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin, Penni Neale, and Richard and Wendy Eastwood

October 10th – An evening with Anthony John Clarke

Tickets are now available

Non members £4 from

Regular members concessionary tickets can be purchased on any club night

They Came by Land, Sea and Air

By |September 12th, 2019|0 Comments

Robin the Busker with Tom Degney and Mark Thatcher

Just a short write-up this week. Suffice to say it was another great night of music with twenty-three musicians and almost forty in the room.

We were delighted to welcome a new face, as Rhys Davies made his AllStyles debut. Coming from Bala, you would have expected Rhys to win the ‘long-distance’ award (or at least share it with Tom & Lynda). He was trumped, however, by John Williams of Birkenhead, who in turn was trumped by Karen White, who had travelled some 9,500 miles to sing for us.

Rhys Davies

Karen, the Quintessential Quirk (take a look at her website), spends a few weeks visiting family in the U.K. every year and always makes a point of joining our music nights. Tonight she treated us to the songs of Kirsty MacColl.

It was good to see our ‘Mr Blues’, Brian Peters, again and also Mr ‘Give Prostrate the Finger’, Hugh Rolands, who’s songs carry a health warning to raise cancer awareness.

Robin ‘the busker’ Wynne Jones was back in our midst after a summer on the rolling seas (well okay, the calm canals).

Everywhere he moors his narrowboat, Robin makes a point of doing a busking session to raise money for charity. Most recently, the Cropredy Folk Festival was his point of focus, boosting his contribution to Cancer Research to over £12,000

Tonight’s Roll Call: Chris Birchall, Hugh Rolands, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Eastwood, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Glyn Hudson, Luis Riley, Mark Thatcher, Rhys Davies, Dave Ryder, Neil Martin, Robin the Busker, Richard Ruthin, Vicky Riley, Alan Thompson and Linda, Karen White (the quirky one), Joe Lyon, John Williams, Penni Neale, Enid Toft, and Brian Peters

August 29th Singers’ Night

By |September 4th, 2019|0 Comments

Joe Lyon

Fifteen performers plus almost the same number of audience made for a great atmosphere and another varied night of music and mirth.

It was good to see Mike Kendrick again, taking time off from gigging with his bands, the Dansette Alligators and the Shambolics, to do a floor spot at the club.

He arrived on foot this time, leaving the Llanfairfechan Horse in its stable 🙂

Joe Lyon got the evening underway with the Scott Walker classic, “Lights of Cincinnati” with Mark Thatcher accompanying on bass.

Mike Kendrick

Thirty-four Songs
Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” was the thirtieth song of the night, delivered by Penni Neale accompanied by Tom on dobro. We’d all done two songs each and so we fired up the Random Name Generator to choose four performers to fill the remaining twenty-five minutes.

The last of these was Alan Thompson who sang one of his own lovely songs, “Try”.

Alan had also been busy during the evening filming and kindly compiled this little selection of clips:

Tonight’s line-up: Lynda and Tom Degney, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Richard Eastwood, Cath Bryan, Pete Kirkham, Mark Thatcher, Dave Ryder, Chris Birchall, Alan Thompson, Mike Kendrick, Joe Lyon, Richard Ruthin, Neil Martin, Penni Neale

A Photo Essay of a Busy Club Night by Sharon Cheema

By |September 2nd, 2019|0 Comments

This lovely Canadian couple, Sharon Cheema and Ian Hanchet, took some great photos when they visited Ruthin AllStyles recently.
Click the little blue [ f ] below to view them.

The numbers game

By |August 28th, 2019|0 Comments

Pete Kirkham and Cath Bryan

I have an app called List-Maker on the tablet we used for club nights. It’s a handy way of entering the names of the performers, ordering them into a running list and ticking off each one once they’ve performed.

If someone’s name is in the app, it doesn’t need entering again as they can just be slid up the list into the current week’s lineup.

Tom Goodall

There are currently 136 names on that app, all of whom have performed at the club at some point since we ‘went digital’ almost three years ago.

I’ve often joked about having nightmares in which all 136 of them turn up to do a floor spot on the same night.

Over the years, numbers have varied from a comfortable dozen to a manageable sixteen, only occasionally edging up to the twenty mark with its consequential late finish. In the last month, however, the performer numbers have been sixteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty and twenty-eight.

This week there were twenty-three. Not that anyone is complaining, of course. In fact, week after week we get nothing but positive comments at the end of the evening from audience and performers alike as well as in the comments on social media. Despite only getting one floor-spot each when it is as busy as this, it is rewarding to be part of such a fabulous evenings entertainment.


A Prompt Start.
On a practical level, I do think we need to ensure the music starts at 8.00pm on the dot and not dilly-dally in between slots. Everyone can help by making sure their instruments are tuned ready and to that end, I will ensure that you are all pre-warned about the running order.

We will always strive to give everybody a spot but whenever the numbers look like taking us past the 11.00pm finish (the venue’s music licence requirements), we may have to limit some of the late-arrivals to one song.

New faces this week were Keels, who came over from the Wirral to sing for us, Dave Ryder from Prestatyn and Catrin who is one of Skeet’s guitar pupils.  She didn’t play tonight but instead treated us to her lovely singing voice, accompanied by the maestro himself.

This week’s roll call: Jim Cole, Jules Pellatt, Ron Stevenson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Mark Thatcher, Lewis Riley, Deborah Jackson, and Catrin with Skeet Williams, Keels, Tom Goodall, Neil Martin, Dave Ryder, Pete Kirkham, Cath Bryan, Peter Leslie, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, Harri Owen and Paul Riley.

Young and Not-so-Young, Near and Far

By |August 21st, 2019|0 Comments

Steve Juckes-Hughes

We started nice and early just in case it was another busy night …and it was!

In the end, nineteen performers played to a room that was ‘comfortably full’ with an audience of thirty-four. Everyone had a seat and room to breathe.

There was even more room to breathe after Ninja Jayne ejected a drunk who had wandered through from the bar and insisted upon gyrating to the music, talking loudly and generally spoiling people’s enjoyment.

Having seen the Ninja in action I don’t think anybody will ever again dare to talk during the performances. Now you know why I am so well behaved! 🙂

Wendy Eastwood

Haha… to be fair, in the main our audiences are very respectful, reserving their conversations for in between the songs, which is one of the things that makes performing at the club such a pleasure.

It was Richard Eastwood who got the evening underway and he returned later for a couple of duets with Wendy to open the second half.

As well as the ‘usual suspects’ we had four new faces. Local musician Steve Jukes-Hughes made his AllStyles debut, as did Paul Riley, his wife Vicky and their 13-year-old son Lewis. All turned in cracking performances and we certainly hope to see them again soon.

Skeet Williams and Glyn Hudson

Our long-distance award winner, Ian Hanchet returned again this week for one more excellent floor spot before jetting back to Montreal. we trust he and his lovely wife Sharon enjoyed their stay in North Wales and hope they will come an see us next time they visit.

We managed to fit everybody in, overrunning by only eleven minutes this week, with a finale spot by Alan Thompson and his sister Linda that was well worth waiting for.

Once again it was a special evening. Let’s do it all again next week 🙂

The Riley Musical Family Album

Tonight’s roll of honour…
Robin Spreckley, Mark Thatcher, Mike Hastings, Chris Birchall, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, Glyn Hudson, Paul, Vicky, and Lewis Riley, Peter Leslie, Jeff Jones, Ian Hanchet, Steve Juckes-Hughes, Skeet Williams, Deborah Jackson, Joe Lyon, Alan Thompson and Linda Griffiths.

Elastic Walls, Flexitime and a Carrot’s Appendage

By |August 13th, 2019|2 Comments

Mamma G and the BeBop Brunettes

Well, we broke a couple of records this week. With our highest number ever for a Singers’ Night, no fewer than fifty-two revellers squeezed into the function room, just over half of whom were minstrels.

Jules & Chris

And in fact, the only way we managed to give each of the twenty-eight performers their two-song floor spot was because that number included a trio and a couple of duos, in addition to which, regulars Wendy and Richard Eastwood offered to forego their solo spots and perform duets, as did Cath & Pete and Skeet & Deborah.

As an added bonus, however, this did mean we got to hear some of Wendy and Richard’s fine harmonies, Cath and Pete’s wonderful interpretation of Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue’s Wild Rose”, plus a rare opportunity to hear Skeet sing!

Mark Thatcher

New Faces
We were delighted to welcome Jules & Chris who travelled from the other side of the mountain to make their Ruthin AllStyles debut. They sang “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin and Jim Croce’s “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” on what was hopefully their first of many visits.

The two other new faces came from a little further afield. From Montreal, in fact. Ian & Sharon Hanchet were holidaying in the area with Jeff Jones, and as well as their duet spot, Ian accompanied Jeff on a couple of blues numbers.

They also enlisted the services of bassist Mark Thatcher. At the start of one number, Mark was heard to say “I don’t know that one. What’s the first note?”. Not only did he pick it up straight away, but he also went on to contribute a rather tasty bass solo to the delight of the appreciative audience.

Ian & Sharon Hanchet

The evening had begun with some lovely close harmonies courtesy of Mamma G and the Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered Bebop Brunettes 🙂 .

Angharad, Lyn and Laura might be confused about what to call themselves but they certainly had us all bewitched by their beautiful close harmonies.

In fact, girls, why not go with Bewitched? Nice and simple, that would be a great name for the band.

Elfin Bow
To round off what had been an exceptional evening of music, it was a pleasure to welcome back the lovely Elizabeth Ann Jones, aka Elfin Bow, who captivated us with two of her latest songs, “Dorothia” and “Lay With Me”.

Skeet Williams and ElfinBow

Elizabeth’s gentle style of playing resulted in the sweetest sound you will ever hear from a banjo, mellifluously blended with Skeet Williams’s immaculate finger-style guitar. Add into the mix some lovely backing vocals from Deborah Jackson and what you get is a beautiful performance that has been captivating audiences at gigs and festivals throughout the summer.

By now, we were already twenty-five minutes past our normal finish time so, in for a penny in for a pound, we brought Elizabeth back for an encore. She gave us a brand new song “Oh How the Strong Ones Fall”, inspired by a recent walk in the woods behind her home nestled in the folds of the Clwydian hills.

If you liked what you heard, you can soak up more of the same when the three perform an open-air concert, Elfin Bow – Live in the Woods at the Woodland Skill Centre in Bodfari on the 30th of this month.

We’ve got our tickets, click here if you want to join us.

Click ► below to listen to excerpts from Elfin Bow’s finale spot.

Tonight’s mammoth roll-call:
Richard Ruthin, Joe Lyon, Mike Hastings, Chris Birchall, Mark Thatcher, Neil Martin, Ron Stevenson, Tom &, Lynda Degney, Alan Thompson, Mamma G & Bebop Brunettes, Peter Leslie, Wendy & Richard Eastwood, Cath Bryan & Pete Kirkham, Deborah Jackson & Skeet Williams, Jeff Jones, Ian & Sharon Hanchet, Jules & Chris, Lizzy Pegler, Robin Spreckley, and Elfin Bow.

Alan’s rude carrot

And finally…
The “Carrot’s Appendage” …what’s all that about?
Well, Alan Thompson’s contribution to the evening wasn’t limited to his colourful tee shirt and excellent songs. He also donated a rather rude carrot that he had grown in his own garden, which was won in the raffle by a bemused Lizzy Pegler.

Jeff Jones, Ian Hanchet and Mark Thatcher


In Fine Voice

By |August 6th, 2019|0 Comments

Wendy Eastwood

It was a balmy evening and the room was comfortably full with just short of forty in the audience and seventeen performers providing the entertainment.

The first of these was Wendy Eastwood, who got the music off to a fine start with Crystal Gayle’s  “Brown Eyes Blue” followed by the Eagles song “Love Will Keep Us Alive” with Oohs and Ahhs provided by husband Richard.

It was good to see Coventry musician Pete Jackson back for a second visit and this time he treated us to some fine instrumentals on his guitar. Sadly, their lovely little doggie was poorly, so he and his wife had to leave early but they have a caravan in North Wales now, so hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of Pete in the future.

Pete Jackson

Tom Degney was also in an instrumental mood as he wowed us with his mastery of the dobro. Then through the evening he variously accompanied Lynda, Richard Ruthin and Jeff Jones, alternating between dobro, mandolin and guitar.

In Fine Voice
The rest of our regulars came up trumps yet again, with a wonderful selection of covers and originals. The whole audience were in fine voice too, joining in on many of the songs and not just the well-known numbers, for when Peter Leslie sang of one of his own compositions “Relentless Rain”, the gathered throng was voluminous on every chorus.

As the end of the evening approached, Penni Neale sang out a plea for “A Little Help From (her) Friends” before providing a little help to Enid Toft by accompanying her for the finale spot. It is so lovely to have Enid back in front of the microphones, with Penni providing vocal harmonies as well as instrumental accompaniment.

And then it was time to go home. Although that almost didn’t happen for three of our coastal members, Richard, Tom and Lynda, as Richard’s car had been firmly blocked in by a person or persons unknown. Luckily, a solution was found with Penni driving the three to St Asaph, where the Degney’s car was parked and they, in turn, took Richard home to Rhyl. The final part of the relay operation took place the following morning with Richard enjoying a bus ride back to Ruthin to liberate his car.

As John Lennon said: “There are no problems, only solutions”.

Tonight’s roll call…
Tom and Lynda Degney, Pete Jackson, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Glyn Hudson, Richard Ruthin, Jeff Jones, Cath Bryan, Mike Hastings, Peter Leslie, Pete Kirkham, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, Neil Martin, Penni Neale, and Enid Toft.

Something About Gary

By |July 31st, 2019|0 Comments

As I write this, Gary Edward Jones is preparing to go on stage at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for the first of twenty-seven concerts, performing his show “Something About Simon”.

Gary Edward Jones

The hour-long Edinburgh version of the show, which catalogues the life and music of Paul Simon, had a preview airing at Thornton Hough Village Club at the weekend but before that, Gary joined us at Ruthin for last Thursday’s Singers’ Night, treating us to a couple of the songs from the show.

He is, of course, a superb songwriter in his own right and he opened the evening with “Take me Back” followed by “Composing Skies”.  After the mid-evening break, the music continued with Gary’s fingers picking out the familiar and distinctive intro to the Paul Simon classic “Still Crazy” and then the song that Paul Simon reputedly wrote during a visit to the North West of England in 1963, “Homeward Bound”.

Several in the audience had already experienced the “Something About Simon” show. Many saw it at Theatr Colwyn last month but for those who haven’t yet, these two songs provided a valuable insight into what to expect.  Gary’s interpretation of Paul Simon’s music is really authentic and his guitar playing is absolutely true to the style of the man himself.

We are so lucky to have Gary and his equally talented wife, Elizabeth (aka Elfin Bow) living on our doorstep and as members of Ruthin AllStyles. We wish Gary every success with his month in Edinburgh and that is will give his show and his music the recognition it deserves and lead to even greater things.

John Williams

Floor Spots
But back to our Thursday evening at The Feathers. It was, of course, a regular Singers’ Night and it turned out to be one of our busiest of the year, with nineteen other floor spots providing a magnificent mix of originals and covers to a packed room.

We had another visit from Wirral musician John Williams two days before his duo gig with Erica Harwood at the wonderful Woodland Skills Centre in Bodfari (which was absolutely brilliant and featured a support spot by Penni Neale).

It was good to see return visits from Alistair Irving, Mike Whitaker, Jeff Jones and from Ian Buchannon who also stepped up to accompany Tom Degney and Richard Ruthin on his dobro.

Ian Buchanan

Regulars Richard Eastwood, Neil Martin, Joe Lyon and Pete Kirkham turned in some fine performances, as did the strong female contingent, Wendy Eastwood, Enid Toft, Cath Bryan, Lynda Degney, Lizzy Pegler and Penni Neale.

With so much fine music, we forgot to watch the clock (well, we turned a blind eye, more like) and when Alan Thompson stepped up to do the finale we were already almost half an hour past our normal finish time.

Alan followed Ryan Adams’s “Come Pick Me Up” with “Take This Heart Of Gold”, a Mandolin Orange song that he had recently discovered. It was a lovely end to another fabulous evening.

A Quiet Night …NOT

By |July 24th, 2019|0 Comments

John Williams

There is always some speculation at the start of the evening. Will it be busy or will it be a quiet night? I’m half expecting Joe to run a book and start taking bets, especially when he’s egged on by his partner in crime, Robin the Busker.

Even as the music commenced at about five past eight, it was looking like being around ten or so performers and people were looking though their song lists to decide what they would sing in the second half.

By 8.20pm all that had changed and we ended up with sixteen performers and nearly double that number in the room.

Part of the appeal of Ruthin AllStyles (and part of the challenge in running it) is not knowing from week to week, just who might turn up – and we are rarely disappointed. Mr John Williams had taken time out this week, from his busy schedule of gigs and festivals and journeyed from Merseyside to entertain us. Similarly, Peter Leslie from Wrexham and Richard & Wendy from Abergele.

Alistair Irving

Making his Ruthin AllStyles debut was another Wrexham singer/songwriter, Alister Irving. He gave us two excellent self-penned songs and I really hope we see him at the club again soon.

A couple of guys we’ve not seen much of since the Clwydian Rangers disbanded last year, were Oli Bradley-Hughes, and Harri Owen. And so it was great to welcome them back, not as a band, just a duo, making music and having fun.

And then, of course, there was our ever-growing band of talented regulars who bring such an eclectic mix of superb music week after week. Robin Spreckley, Glyn Hudson, Richard Ruthin, Joe Lyon
Chris Birchall, Mike Hastings, Lynda and of course, the hard-working Tom Degney.

Harri and Oli

Having accompanied several performers on his mandolin, dobro and guitar, Tom joined Penni Neale in the finale. First on Gershwin’s “Summertime” and finishing with one of my favourite songs, Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning”, taking us right up to 11.00pm – on the dot.

Something About Next Thursday
So what will this coming Thursday bring? Well, all I can say is that our very own Gary Edward Jones is in the final preparatory stages for the 27-day run of his “Something About Simon” show at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival. A little bird tells me he might just pop along to give us a little taste.