Virginia Kettle is at the heart of the creative force within Merry Hell and the energies that have driven the band ever upwards, whether this be as a songwriter, or performing as female lead singer. Born in Manchester, raised in Chester and shaped by a lifetime of music and adventure, Virginia had long been a solo-singer songwriter under her maiden name of Virginia Barrett, releasing two albums, The Quiet Bridge and Sense Of Human, before joining husband John and his two brothers as they formed the folk-rock monster that Merry Hell has become.
The formation of the band gave a further outlet to her creativity and many of her songs have become anthems for fans of the band, with ‘Bury Me Naked’ producing mass swaying among crowds wherever they play, with others, such as ‘The Baker’s Daughter’ being so infectious that audiences can’t help but dance in whatever way they see fit.
As a prolific writer of songs, Rolling Folk gives Virginia the chance to share a variety of songs not included in the Merry Hell repertoire. It is not a replacement for the band, but an additional outlet for her creativity and energy.
Offering the same level of songwriting excellence as Merry Hell, but a different, more intimate feel, as well as some additional musical explorations, the Rolling Folk project surrounds Virginia with a fabulous and interesting selection of players, particularly multi, multi-instrumentalist Chris Lee, (Full House, Time Bandits, Family Mahone, Galleon Blast, Rad Co., etc, etc etc) and percussionist, whistle player and flautist, Mark Wooley (Ade Edmondson’s Bad Shepherds, Full House, session master and more) – as well as husband John, all giving breadth and depth to her musical and lyrical visions.
Delivering a fine selection of her songs, the sound is augmented by further friends old and new, sharing a level of excellence that will add both surprise and texture to her catalogue of songs.
To be released in March 2024, East Of Elsewhere, the debut Rolling Folk album offers ten new songs from the pen of Virginia Kettle, covering a range of styles and themes but united by Virginia’s observational instincts, whether they are focused on the world around her, or directed at her own experiences and emotions. All human life is here, from the glory and passion of love to its disappointments and pain, from the whole wide world to kitchen sink dramas. The first taster single ‘Sailing On The Inside’ draws on Virginia’s years of spiritedly independent travel and the realisations that it brought. Already a live favourite, it makes a fine introduction to her new venture.
‘Sailing On The Inside’: