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.

Showcase
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.

Meanwhile…
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.

Full Program/Full House

By |December 11th, 2018|1 Comment

Tom, Dick and Harry

I think it would be fair to say we were packed to the rafters on Thursday, being just five short of the function room’s maximum capacity of fifty. No fewer than nineteen of the gathered throng got up to sing or play for us, providing an entertaining an varied evening of music.

Four of those banded together to open the evening in fine style, in the form of the Tom, Dick and Harry band – plus John Bass. “First You Lose Your Rhyming”, they didn’t of course, as they sang the Harvey Andrews song of that name, before going on to sing the Elvis classic “Blue Christmas”.

Skeet Williams

Next up, making a rare appearance at the club was Skeet Williams, demonstrating his superb finger-style on a fine instrumental version of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” followed by an even rarer phenomenon – Skeet singing. He chose the lovely Jeffrey Foucault song “Northbound 35”.

We had a fine selection from the usual suspects: Lynda Degney, Richard Eastwood, Joe Lyon, Glyn Hudson, Penni Neale, Geoff Hollis, Rhodri Hampson Jones and Yours Truly.

No new faces this week but a few that we see only once in a while.

Linda Bostock was the first of these and she sang two Fairport Convention numbers. She and husband Mike hail from Reading and make a point of visiting Ruthin AllStyles during their annual North Wales walking holiday. For Mike’s spot, he chose a couple of Irish folk songs.

Phil Jones, AKA Canada Phil

Canada Phil is another annual visitor, although he’s in the UK for a bit longer this year, so hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of him this time around. Phil sang “Where have all the Flowers Gone” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”.

Robin Spreckley posed the question: “Who Shot the Sheriff”. Then he roped in Brian Peters to accompany him on a lively bluegrass number “Old Jo Clarke”.

And then Brian remained on stage for the finale spot to send us home with mighty fine blues numbers echoing around our heads.

Next Week…
It’s the Christmas Knees-up. Basically, a Singers’ Night with food and silly hats. We have caterers providing sandwiches and mince pies.  It’s just the usual £1.50 admittance. All we ask is that everybody brings a small contribution to the cold finger-buffet table. Nothing that requires heating as there are no cooking facilities.

 

A bit of BeBop down at The Feathers

By |December 4th, 2018|0 Comments

It started with the BeBop. Or to be precise, another fine evening of music started off with a spot of lovely a cappella harmonies from Mamma G and the BeBop Brunettes.

In fact, Angharad, Lyn and Laura opened both halves of an evening in which saw eleven acts, involving fourteen performers, doing two spots each.

Joe Lyon sang about the wind and the rain. The Degneys went all Christmasy with “Mary Did You Know” and Glyn Hudson sang about Time and Donna Donna.

Penni Neal sang an Irish Lullaby and Richard Davies sang about the Hobo’s Lullaby.

I sang some Paul Simon before accompanying Bob Hall on the Shirelles classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”.

Making his debut at Ruthin AllStyles was Chester songster, Keith Pemberton, who served up some pretty fine blues numbers.

Before we knew it, finale time was with us, and it was Peter Hodgson and John Helm who rounded things off with Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl”.

More of the same next Thursday, folks.

Seventeen Singers

By |November 20th, 2018|0 Comments

With seventeen performers and more than double that number in the room, it was another fine night of music in the function room at The Feathers.

Joe Lyon got things off to a flying start with a helping of The Searchers and Ray Davies songs. Next up were Richard Eastwood and Alan Thompson, followed by Geoff Durno who demonstrated some interesting ‘half capo’ techniques for alternative tunings for his set that included the Alan Taylor song “Going Home”.

After accompanying Linda, Tom Degney treated us to a tune or two on the new banjo he’d recently finished building.

Robin Spreckley gave a lively and animated performance on his mandolin, in a collaboration with Brian Peters on blues guitar.

Bob Dylan and Steve Earl songs made up Chris Birchall’s set. Then Wendy Eastwood enlisted Richard’s help for some harmonies on the Amy Macdonald song “This Is the Life” (below).

 

Taking us up to the break, John Bass and Llinos Finnie played a set in tribute to their dear friend and fellow band member Neil Wilkinson who sadly passed away earlier this month. They played three of Neil’s favourite songs: “Fields of Gold”, “Love Song” and the John Lennon classic “Imagine”.

Joe opened the second half with Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Dansette Dreams” and Gerry Marsden’s “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”.

Next up was a gentleman who was holidaying in the area, by the name of Kelly (above). He’d come unarmed, so Joe graciously lent him his guitar which he put to good use to perform “The Crow on the Cradle” and “My Old Man’s a Dustman”.

Glyn Hudson sang Donovan’s “Yellow is the Colour”, John Williams gave us an Alan Taylor song “Colour to the Moon”, and Robin the Busker told the tale or “Willie McBride”.

Our own ‘Mr Blues’, Brian Peters, sang the Eric Bibb number, “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” followed by “Big Road Blues”.

Penni Neal amused us with “The Same Thing Twice”, and took us right up to finale time with the lovely “Can’t Remember if I Said Goodbye”.

And it was indeed almost time to say goodbye and it was over to Llinos and John Bass who brought the evening to a close with another couple of songs from their ‘Breeze’ repertoire, Mary Black’s “Katy” and the Carpenters classic, “Yesterday Once More”.

Yesterday Once More – Breeze

 

Reminder: Neil Wilkinson’s funeral will take place next Wednesday, November 21st, 110.30am at Pentrebychan Crematorium. His widow, Mary, has asked me to say that any of Neil’s musical friends are welcome to attend the funeral and afterwards at the wake in The Dudley Arms in Llandrillo.