NEWS FEBRUARY 2015
THE NEW ALBUM - RELEASE DATE
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.
CLITHEROE - THE DVD SHOOT
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.
GREETINGS FROM BOB
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".