Merry Hell

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Merry Hell
Merry Hell playing live
Merry Hell playing live
Background information
OriginWigan, England
Years active2010–present
LabelsMrs Casey Records
Associated actsThe Tansads
MembersAndrew Kettle
Bob Kettle
John Kettle
Virginia Kettle
Nick Davies
Lee Goulding
Andy Jones
Neil McCartney
Past membersAndrew Dawson
Phill Knight
Tim Howard

Merry Hell are an English folk rock band from Wigan, Greater Manchester, formed in 2010. The core members of the band include the three Kettle brothers, who were previously members of The Tansads. As of 2019 the band have released five albums.


Guitarist and songwriter John Kettle and his brothers, mandolin player Bob and vocalist Andrew, were members of the 1990s folk rock band The Tansads. In 2010, over a decade since they last performed together, former members of the band reunited for a series of concerts in St Helens. Following the successful gigs, some of the musicians involved, including the three brothers, decided to continue as a band, but rather than use the Tansads name chose to adopt the new name Merry Hell.[1] In addition to the former Tansads, other members of the new band included John Kettle's wife Virginia. Merry Hell were signed to the Mrs Casey Records label on the basis of a demo recording, and in October 2011 released their debut album BLINK.. and you miss it.[2]

In 2012, Merry Hell performed at Folk on the Pier in Cromer, the Derbyshire 'Big Session', the Towersey Village Festival, Wickham Festival, and the Great British Folk Festival at Skegness. They also performed an autumn show at St Helens Citadel, billed as "Merry Helloween".[3]

The band's second album, Head Full of Magic, Shoes Full of Rain, was released in 2013,[4][5][6] and features a guest performance by Dave Swarbrick, formerly of Fairport Convention. That year the band performed more than forty live shows, and also played at the Acoustic Festival of Britain at Uttoxeter, Off The Tracks in Derbyshire, the Beverley Folk Festival, the Stainsby Festival, the Wickham Festival and Beautiful Days in Devon.

In 2014 the band released the EP "The Ghost",[7] which previewed tracks from their upcoming third album, and took part in the Armistice Pals project, collaborating with other folk artists including Lucy Ward, Christine Collister and Robb Johnson on a version of Pete Seeger's song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.[8][9] Merry Hell's third album, The Ghost In Our House and other stories ... was released in early 2015 and features a guest appearance by guitarist Gordon Giltrap.[10][11] The band's fourth album Bloodlines followed in late 2016, and the fifth Anthems to the Wind in 2018.



  • Andrew Kettle – vocals
  • Bob Kettle – mandolin
  • John Kettle – guitar
  • Virginia Kettle – vocals, guitar
  • Lee Goulding – keyboards
  • Nick Davies – bass
  • Andy Jones – drums
  • Neil McCartney – fiddle


  • Andrew Dawson – bass (first two albums)
  • Tim Howard – guitar (first album)
  • Phill Knight – drums (first album)



  • BLINK ... and you miss it (2011)
  1. Drunken Serenade
  2. Over The Border
  3. The Crooked Man
  4. One More Day
  5. The War Between Ourselves
  6. This Time
  7. Rosanna's Song
  8. Blink ... And You Miss It
  9. The Butcher and the Vegan
  10. Peace And Love
  11. The Gentle Man
  12. It Won't Be Long
  13. Lean on Me
  14. Pendle Hill
  • Head Full of Magic, Shoes Full of Rain (2013)
  1. Loving the Skin You're In
  2. Dreaming of the Time
  3. Let's Not Have a Morning After
  4. Bury Me Naked
  5. My First Hour
  6. Emerald Green
  7. Hope You Don't Mind
  8. Waiting for the River
  9. I Never Loved Anybody Like I Love You
  10. Let the Music Speak For Itself
  11. Build a Mansion
  12. Roseanna, Let Me In
  13. Lay Your Head Down
  14. Iron Man
  • The Ghost in Our House and other stories ... (2015)
  1. There's A Ghost in Our House
  2. Leave A Light On
  3. Summer Is A-Comin'
  4. The Baker's Daughter
  5. Human Communion
  6. The Old Soldier
  7. Rage Like Thunder
  8. Love Is A Game
  9. Pillar of Society
  10. No Money
  11. Hey, Scotty!
  12. Reason To Be
  13. Out of My Mind
  14. Feed Your Soul
  15. No Place Like Tomorrow
  • Bloodlines (2016)
  1. We Need Each Other Now
  2. Bloodlines
  3. Come On, England!
  4. Coming Home Soon
  5. All the Bright Blossoms
  6. When We are Old
  7. Stand Down
  8. Sailing too Close to the WInd
  9. Chasing a Bluebird
  10. Over the Wall
  11. Under the Overkill
  12. Man of Few Words
  13. Sweet Oblivion
  • Anthems to the Wind (2018)
  1. Drunken Serenade Inc the Banshee Reel
  2. My Finest Hour
  3. No Place Like Tomorrow
  4. Over the Border
  5. Loving the Skin You're In
  6. This Time
  7. Lean on Me, Love
  8. The Butcher and the Vegan
  9. The War Between Ourselves
  10. Fear of Falling
  11. Leave a Light On
  12. Satisfied


  • A Grand Night Out - Merry Hell Live
  • A Documentary: A year in the Life of Merry Hell (2019)


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "FATEA - Home". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Review of the first 'Merry Helloween' show by Paul Arris". Louder than War. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "MERRY HELL to release Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Merry Hell: Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain - album review". 18 April 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "StackPath". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  9. ^ "FATEA - Home". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  10. ^ [3][dead link]
  11. ^ "Folk-rockers raising Merry Hell". Wigan Today.

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