The latest news on Folk-Rock band, Merry Hell.
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The countdown has begun to the new Merry Hell album, "The Ghost In Our House and other stories..." We now have an official release date: 30th March.  There are 15 new tracks to enjoy and, while we can’t reveal the track listing just yet, the more astute among you will have already worked out some of the songs.  Those who saw the band on the “Ghost in Our House” and “Ghost Acoustic” tours last year will know that three new songs were aired at those shows - two of which were from the Ghost EP.  Bob’s “The Old Soldier” was also played several times during the acoustic dates. And, of course, there are even more original tracks that you have yet to hear... 

We are offering one lucky person the chance to win the first copy of the new album, signed by all the members of the band and posted out to arrive the day before the official release. All you have to do is e-mail us with your favourite Merry Hell song.



A reminder to everyone that the filming for the live DVD at The Grand in Clitheroe is just weeks away on Saturday, 28th February. This will be the first show of the year for the band who are locked away in intensive rehearsals learning an epic set. Not only will you hear all your old favourites but there will be brand new material in the set and one or two surprises... If you plan to be there and haven’t got your ticket yet then don’t leave it too long. We are eager to finalise numbers for the coach so we can sort out pick up times.  The venue opens at 7.00pm so the coach will be leaving Wigan at 5:30pm.  The pick ups for St Helens and Widnes will be earlier and will be announced as soon as we know the final numbers.  As revealed last time we also plan to interview some of the audience on the night so some of you may appear in the "extras" section of the DVD. Remember, tickets for the show only are available from The Grand.  Combined coach and show tickets from the Merry Hell Shop.

We now have a voice from within the band as we welcome Bob for what we hope will be a regular contribution, or at least as regular as his time allows.



New Year's Greeting from the Band


Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year (albeit belated) – and a Merry New February – from the band: going out to all who've supported us throughout 2014. We'd like to take this opportunity to think back to the good times we've had and look forward to yet more to come in 2015...


Our brightest hopes for spring were realised – not only with the release of our video for 'Loving The Skin You're In' but also and especially in the faces we saw, the voices we heard and the people we met when we toured the country to celebrate that song. We got some wonderful welcomes. Hearing our supporters singing our words back to us and seeing them simply being themselves in our company was unforgettable. We have some magic memories from the summer festivals: singing 'Drunken Serenade in the rain' (literally) with the crowd at Bearded Theory, playing alongside The Levellers at Wychwood and opening up for Richard Thompson at Towersey are just a few of the experiences we'll always treasure. Autumn, too, was golden with music and moments: the Armistice Pals project, conceived by our manager, Damian Liptrot, allowed us to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WWI and to bring together the wider Folk community in the spirit of Peace. We were also proud to present our video and to take another tour for 'The Ghost in Our House'. It was particularly fitting to share that song with the crowd at our our annual 'Merry Helloween' event in St Helens. We loved the intimacy of the acoustic tour which followed – and the chance to chat directly with our audience during the 'Secret Gigs' at the end of the year. 


In 2014, Merry Hell had to bid a sad farewell to our former bass player, the excellent Andrew Dawson (who was moving on to pastures new). We've since welcomed the very wonderful Nick Davies into that role. He has brought his consummate musicianship, fantastic sense of timing and sensitivity to the 'song as a whole' to the band's performances. It's great to have him around. The group's newest member, Neil McCartney, also deserves a special mention. He's been a friend of all 3 Kettle brothers since their schooldays. Returning to his hometown after years travelling the world in the service of music, he has offered his virtuoso talents as a fiddler – bringing a whole new range of textures and emotions to our sound. 


So, together, we're eagerly anticipating what 2015 has yet to bring: we're shooting our live video at The Grand, Clitheroe on 28th February – hoping that we can capture some of the excitement and enthusiasm of our awesome audience on film. We're very much looking forward to getting our new album out to you on 30th March. Merry Hell are on the road again throughout April and May before gearing up for another summer full of festivals. We already have plans for recording and performing in the autumn and winter. We've got very much more to tell you about that – but, for now, we'll let the music speak for itself... 


Love to All.

Bob Kettle (on behalf of Merry Hell)



There will be  a rare opportunity to see Virginia perform solo as part of a new monthly  “Folk Sunday” at the Old Courts in Wigan on 22nd February.  The event will include two support acts, one of which will be our our old friends Dave & Pete, (aka “Mather & Robinson”) presenters of Salford Radio’s Folk show.  Virginia will be doing two sets, hopefully with a sprinkling of her old solo material, some brand new songs and possibly a few Merry Hell numbers. The show will run from 3.00pm - 8.00pm and entrance on the day is £3.00 but to be sure you get in the best option is to contact the Old Courts to check whether advance booking is available. We hope the Folk Sunday events will be well supported in the future as we would love to see the Old Courts become an established venue for live music, hopefully attracting some of the big names on the folk scene.


A quick mention for our Merry Hell studio experience which offered fans the opportunity to visit the Old Courts studio to record their own vocals on a Merry Hell song of their choice,  using the original backing tracks from the albums. John offered participants an insight into studio techniques and produced the recordings which they were able to take away on CD.  Feedback  for the experience has been excellent.  Due to time constraints at the studio we could only offer a limited number of slots, which were soon filled but it has proved so successful that we are considering repeating it in the near future.  That will give everyone time to learn the songs from the new album as people may discover new favourites that they wish to attempt.  The songs that people chose to record were "Pendle Hill", "I Hope You Don't Mind", "Iron Man", "Drunken Serenade", "Emerald Green" and Rosanna's Song".
I've finally completed the near hour long video of what the band got up to in 2014 and it is now online. After the "Blink" and Loving the Skin" youtube videos I decided to attempt something more ambitious covering the entire year. I've tried to include a snippet of every show I filmed at,  though I did miss a handful of gigs so it wasn't possible to feature every one. Fortunately, Damian had filmed at a couple of the acoustic shows so I was able to include these.  It was filmed very much off the cuff, grabbing the camera and marching off into the crowd, often at the mercy of the lighting or the sound in each venue so while some sections aren't perfect there is some nice footage to enjoy.  In addition to  the gigs there is behind the scenes footage of the Armistice Pals recording sessions and the "Ghost in our House" video shoot, hopefully the sort of things that many of you who responded to Damian's Facebook survey last year, said they would like to see.  Some of you might even spot yourselves on there so if you have 56 minutes and 44 seconds to spare the video is here

The Armistice Pals Project continues to go from strength to strength and recently won not one, but two awards. Fatea Magazine’s “EP of the Year” and “Best Traditional Song/Cover” on the “Talk Awhile” Folk Corporation Forum. The song has been a success on all levels, bringing people together at the various Armistice Pals events, honouring the memory of Pete Seeger and benefiting the four peace promoting charities who will split the profits from the single.  Again we say well done to Damian, John and everyone else who has been involved.

Many of you have already seen Julian’s poster for the new "Ghost Tour" dates.  We can’t provide links for the dates just yet as some of the information isn’t finalised but what a way to kick things off with our support slot to 'The Men They Couldn’t Hang' at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. The Widnes benefit gig has become an annual event with our good friends, Ged and Ste Flynn and Graeme Scragg raising money for Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide) it usually sells out so book soon ( We also have our first Manchester gig at the Ruby Lounge when we will be supported by Liam McLair, who is the son of former Manchester United striker, Brian McLair. Dates are still being added and we will be booking more festival appearances so keep checking the web site and Facebook pages for updates.


As we gear up for another year of  Merry Hell we are really looking forward to the release of the new album but first the DVD shoot is shaping up to be quite an exciting night. I'm sure there will be a great atmosphere on the coach, it would seem to be an ideal opportunity to get in the mood for the gig by rehearsing some of the singalong sections on the journey over.  We want to capture the band at its magical best and we can only do this with a great audience. There should soon be a site for the project with details of how to order the DVD.  We hope to see lots of familiar faces at Clitheroe, bring your singing voices!

Jonah (For Merry Hell)

Photos/Images this time - Jonah & Julian
Copyright © 2015 Merry Hell, All rights reserved.

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