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”.
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.
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.
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.