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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Merry Hell Go Retrospective And Set To Release 28 Track Double CD 'Let The Music Speak For Itself'

After 12 years, 6 albums and hundreds of gigs English Folk-Rock Band, Merry Hell, have taken a little time to look back on all that has passed. The result of this reflection is a 28 track, double CD covering tracks from all their releases, a history of the band if you like, or maybe an introduction for those who have recently climbed aboard their unstoppable folk-rock charabanc of joy.

Let The Music Speak For Itself, will be released on Friday May 12th on their own Merry Hell Music label. The album name refers to a track that is frequently played at gigs but also describes their approach to what they do. Most of the 28 tracks were chosen by friends and supporters, in response to questions on the band’s social media channels, with each of the 5 songwriters then allowed to choose one more of their own songs to make up the collection.

The album opens with ‘Drunken Serenade’ – the first song the band recorded, the first song they played live, and the first song on their debut album ‘BLINK… and you miss it’. It was also the first Merry Hell song played on the radio, and as legend has it, the first song on the 4-track demo picked off the floor by Mrs Casey Records supremo Steve Heap, that led to their first record deal. The song, written by Bob Kettle, captures all the spirit, joy and energy of Merry Hell in just 2 minutes and 34 seconds of musical passion and lyrical beauty.

As the band has evolved, so has the song, and when a violin player was added to the line up, and acoustic gigs became more of a feature, then Drunken Serenade was extended with the addition of the fiddle tune The Banshee Reel. This version was included on the acoustic album ‘Anthems To The Wind’ which coincidentally takes it’s title from a line in ‘Drunken Serenade’. Inevitably, this song also featured in the band’s first video

For those who like to know the story behind the song, Bob and his bandmate brothers, John and Andrew, grew up in a small terraced house on a main road out of Wigan. On weekend nights, the three young lads would watch from their shared bedroom window as the drunks rolled home, often stopping on the corner near their home to chat and sing. The joy they took in sharing these moments is reflected in the song!

The two versions of the song open the first disc and forms the penultimate track of Disc 2. More of the other 26 tracks will be revealed in due course.

The band have established a fearsome reputation as a live act and resume their never-ending tour of everywhere on April 13th before starting a fabulous Summer of Festivals.

TOUR DATES (more to be added)

April 13th: Penistone: Yorkshire: Cubley Hall Hotel

April 15th: Oxford Folk Weekend at Harwell Hall

April 22nd: The MerryMeet: Merry Hell and friends at The Philharmonic, Liverpool – afternoon concert with Anthony John Clarke and evening concert with Jenny Colquitt

May 5th: Tredegar House Folk Festival

May 6th: Ey Up Mi Dick Festival: Epworth: Yorkshire

May 7th: Cromer: Folk On The Pier Festival

May 8th: Cromer: Pavilion Theatre: North Norfolk Foodbank Fundraiser Matinee Gig

May 13th: London: Half Moon Putney: Weekend Takeover: Electric Saturday

May 14th: London: Half Moon Putney: Weekend Takeover: Acoustic Sunday: Matinee Gig

May 26th: Chester Folk Festival

June 3rd: Wessex Folk Festival

June 16th: National Forest Folk Club: Moira, Leicestershire

June 18th: Beardy Festival, Shropshire

July 14th: Folk On The Farm Festival: Anglesey

July 28th: Chickenstock Festival: Kent

July 28th: Trowbridge Festival

July 29th: Oswestry TBC

August 5th: Grayshott Folk Club: Hampshire

August 6th: Wickham Festival

August 10th: Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival, Oxfordshire

August 24th: Towersey Festival

August 28th: Towersey Festival

September 10th: Swanage Festival

September 14th: Hungry Horse Festival, Ellesmere Port

September 16th: The Peace Through Folk Gathering, Staffordshire/Peak District

October 4th- 10th: Costa Del Folk Festival: Portugal

Autumn Winter Dates to be released soon!

Merry Hell is a band founded on the ever evolving Folk tradition – music made by the people and shared by the people. Though their hearts and souls are tuned to the songs which came before them, they bring you new words and music forged from their own experiences, from the lows and the loves of their lives. Their art is energy and their hope is unity. Their pleasure is to please: let the audience be the acid test and let the music speak for itself...


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