MERRY HELL – The Ghost In Our House and other stories…(Mrs Casey Music MCRCD5102)

Merry Hell GhostThis is Merry Hell’s third album and the band are into their stride. There is a tightness and polish evident in this collection of songs, indicative of a band that is comfortable in itself. This is a jam packed feast of fifteen tracks, so, no sign of writer’s block here.

There are jolly jigs, shanties and a soupcon of country & western in the mix. The songs are often reflective, witty and never dull. The voices intertwine well and the musicianship accomplished.

There are so many good tracks that it is impossible to take it all in on any cursory listen. It is an album that insists on multiple visits. It also presents the reviewer’s quandary of picking favourite songs.

Nevertheless, here are my top picks from the disc. ‘There’s a Ghost In My House’ is a confident opener, with a melody that sticks. The marvellous ‘Human Communion’ starts with single guitar and Virginia Kettle’s solo voice tripping a catchy tune and slowly the band joins in. Also worthy of mention is ‘Love Is A Game’ a pleasant, danceable ditty. Topping the list are the barn-strutting   ‘No Money’ and the humorous ‘Hey. Scotty’. Of course, with subsequent visits, I am sure other tracks will become firm favourites. Such is music.

Not a filler amongst this choc filled album. It’s all typical “Merry Hell” and that should be good enough for anybody. Having enjoyed their first two albums, I am pleased to say the group is going from strength to strength.

If you have never sampled the delights of this band before, this album is an excellent introduction to their music.

Ron D Bowes

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Artists’ website: www.merryhell.co.uk

If you’ve not seen this before (and why not?) – ‘There’s A Ghost In Our House’:

Merry Hell – news from The Ghost In Our House tour

The first leg of the “Ghost In Our House Tour” is behind us and we are now busy rehearsing for the forthcoming acoustic leg.  For those who haven’t seen the acoustic incarnation of the band we can’t recommend it highly enough. Some of the venues on this leg will be seated giving you the opportunity to enjoy the more subtle side of the band but as ever there will be the opportunity to belt out an anthem or two! There may even be other new songs added to the set…

The band have been worked hard on the tour and actually played two sets in both Derby and Lancaster.  Derby saw the first performance of material from the new album when “The Baker’s Daughter” was aired for the first time by the six piece acoustic band.  It was played again by the full band at night along with ‘The Ghost In Our House’ and another driving rocker, ‘Rage Like Thunder’, though Stocksbridge were denied the latter which, due to a special request, was replaced in the set by ‘Emerald Green’. We made our third visit to Telfords in Chester, a venue where the audience are as close to the band as its possible to be which always makes for a lively night!

Our return to The Miller in London was an eventful night and a late one.  The pizzas and chips were as good as we remembered and so was the atmosphere.  Nothing could dampen our spirits even though the van key snapped in the lock of the tour bus. We had to leave the gear at the venue, get taxis back to the hotel then pay the congestion charge again the following day to get the van out of central London! Thanks to everyone who travelled to get there, especially our local contingent (Julian, Rachel, Janie, Denise, Anita, Col & Chrissie). We also held a raffle for 2 tickets for our London gig next April supporting The Men They Couldn’t Hang and the lucky winner was Yann Kerbiriou from Kent.

From there we headed back to the Midlands for a gig in the old Tansads’ stronghold of Chasetown, local haunt of Iron Man CD cover star, Oz, where John treated the locals to a special encore of ‘Horses’.  The band and crew were also treated to top quality pre-gig catering and hospitality from Oz.  Massive thanks again to Andrea and Ed in Stocksbridge who laid on a mighty feast that would have fed a football team and provided the most luxurious merchandise space to date with three entire tables to display our wares and to sign people up for the free Ghost EP.  We then switched South Yorkshire for North with our first visit to Keighley and an intimate seated venue, The Exchange, though it didn’t take too long for people to abandon their seats for the dance floor!

MERRY HELLOWEEN III

Closing the first half of the tour our third Merry Helloween event again proved to be one of the highlights of the year. With the Citadel packed to the rafters, the crowd suitably fired up and the band raring to go, a good time was guaranteed.  Turning the set list on its head as usual, ‘Hope You Don’t Mind’ was the surprise opener, followed by ‘Finest Hour’. The band were backed by screen projections showing an array of ghost related images.  All the usual favourites were there, just not necessarily in the usual order with the likes of ‘Drunken Serenade’ and ‘This Time’ appearing later in the set.  There was a welcome return for Lee’s ‘The Gentle Man’, which hasn’t been played in a long time with Lee’s Grandad, subject of and inspiration behind the song, appearing on screen at the end.

The band were visibly moved by the audience singalong sections with ‘Lean On Me’, ‘War…’,  ‘One More Day’ and John’s now traditional ‘Horses’ encore, all being loudly and proudly sang back at the stage. Making his Citadel debut, Nick also commented afterwards on how impressed he had been with the audience singing.  All too soon the fluorescent balloons were bouncing around in the crowd and on stage as the evening closed with a full tilt ‘Let The Music Speak’…or so we thought. The band returned for a surprise 2nd encre and how had no one noticed that ‘Rosanna’s Song’ hadn’t been played yet?  So many favourites, so little time – so who is up for doing it all again next year?

Artists’ website: http://www.merryhell.co.uk/

‘Ghost In Our House’ – the official video:

 

Merry Hell breaks loose!

Merry HellRising 8-piece folk-rockers, Merry Hell, release a new video and limited edition 4 track CD to tie in with their forthcoming tour and to herald the forthcoming album The Ghost In Our House (And Other Stories)coming in the new year.  The CD will be a free give away at gigs between now and Christmas but is also available to buy online from the band’s website. www.merryhell.co.uk/shop

The video was largely filmed at The Old Court Buildings in Wigan, where band member and producer John Kettle has his studio.  However, our female lead singer, Virginia Kettle did have to walk in and out of the sea off the North Wales coast in order to obtain a number of shots. The storyline was developed by the whole band and shot and produced by our fiddle player Neil McCartney.

GhostTracks on The Ghost EP are:

1: There’s A Ghost In our House (3.21) An up tempo and atmospheric track that reminds us that ghosts can come in many forms.  To describe it as haunting would be a little clichéd but once heard, the tune will inhabit the twisting corridors of your mind, emerging at the most unexpected moments. Almost but not quite the title track of the new album but certainly its inspiration.

2: The Baker’s Daughter (2.58) A memorable folk-rock anthem with a chorus that audiences have been joining in with almost as soon as they have heard it.  The lyrics tell a story that will strike a chord with many of the female listeners.

The first two tracks are taken from the album which will be out in the New Year.  The final two tracks are bonus tracks

3: Nobody Knows Me Like You (4.41) Slower and gentler musically but with a strongly reflective and insightful lyric that make the song powerful in a different way.  Newly recorded by the band and exclusive to The Ghost CD EP.

4: Rosanna’s Song (3.56): A live version of a crowd favourite, recorded at The Grand Venue in Clitheroe.  Living proof that, while Andrew’s voice has been likened to a strimmer in a bucket of gravel, he does have a softer, more velvety underbelly.  A beautiful ballad of friendship.

The title track (more or less) of the EP: