Merry Hell announce double-CD retrospective and more tour dates

Merry Hell
Photograph by Jenfoto

After twelve years, six albums and hundreds of gigs, 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 our 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 our approach to what we 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 its title from a line in ‘Drunken Serenade’.

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!

Artists’ website:

‘Drunken Serenade’ – live:

Tour Dates

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
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