He appeared on ‘The Voice’ and was mentored by Sir Tom Jones. Since then Gary ‘Ragsy’ Ryland has continued to do what he says he loves best and that is to sing. This loveable balladeer has the magic to silence a room and that is exactly what he did as he toured the pubs of Llanelli on Friday (Jul 21). The tour formed part of the Gwyl Llanelli Festival organised in part by the BID, Cadno Music and Owain Glennister from Y Lle.
The festival itself continues on Saturday from midday when a number of bands will perform live in Spring Gardens. Ragsy began his first set at the Thomas Arms Hotel where there was a wedding taking place. Not only did Ragsy play to the gallery in the bar but he serenaded the bride and groom with one of their favourite songs.
Following a wonderful set at the hotel he took a brief walk down Thomas Street to The Drovers Arms where he managed to squeeze into a corner to perform to what was a noisy crowd. Within a minute of belting out an acoustic version of the Kings of Leon number ‘Be Somebody’ there was absolute silence. After posing for photographs and chatting with fans Ragsy took another short walk to The Lemon Tree where he was welcomed by the landlord Martin Lemon. A different, younger audience here and lots of noise to compete with. Again, the musical maestro did his thing and all eyes and ears were focussed on this down to Earth, charming musician who would not be out of place in the O2 arena alongside the likes of Ed Sheeran.
The guitar was packed away and another walk this time to Ruby’s Bar. There happened to be an open mic night taking place and so it was easy for Ragsy to plug in and go electric again. By now the followers who had toured around the pubs with him had grown in number and there was a real buzz as Ragsy took to the stage once more. Llanelli had been spoilt with this first class performance by the tousled haired artiste.
The tunes were still drifting out of Ruby’s onto the night air around the Parish Church as we left Ragsy in the company of his adoring fans old and new. This was a night to savour and remember and a night when music was alive and kicking in Llanelli all thanks to a handful of dedicated volunteers.
We made a film of the tour, which will be available to watch soon. Look out for our interview with Ragsy too.