Put six musicians, who thoroughly enjoy what they do, in front of an audience of fifty people, who thoroughly enjoy everything that they do, and I think you’ll find that is a recipe for a damn good and highly entertaining night of music.
And that’s exactly what last Thursday was, when Merry Hell gave it their all at Ruthin AllStyles Music Club.
Virginia, the three Kettle Brothers, bassist Nick and fiddler Neil provided a fabulous mix of old favourites and some newer songs. After opening with “Loving the Skin You’re In”, we heard “Drunken Serenade”, War Between Ourselves” and “Crooked Man” from their ‘Blink and You’ll Miss It’ album.
My feet never stopped tapping.
There was “Let’s Not Have a Morning After” and the beautiful ballad “Emerald Green” from the album ‘Head Full of Music, Shoes Full Of Rain’.
From the album ‘Bloodlines’, came forth “Ghost in Our House”, the anthem “Come On England”, and the poignant, heartfelt call for peace, “Coming Home”, born of the refugee crisis and sung a-capella by all six band members
Their second set ended with “Let the Music Speak For Itself”, by an encore with “The Old Soldier” and a very lively song “Sweet Oblivion” during which John broke a string, swiftly swapped guitars, and promptly broke a string on that one too.
We heard well over twenty songs in all, each one testament to the song-writing skills of Bob, John and Virginia Kettle. And each and every one performed with the lively enthusiastic professionalism that makes this Wigan based band one of the most up-lifting and enjoyable folk-rock ensembles in the land.
Let the video clips speak for how much fun the evening was …and let the Music Speak for Itself.
The evening’s warm-up came in the form of a song each from a merry band of the AllStyles regulars, comprising: Joe Lyon, Tom and Lynda Degney, Penni Neale, Glyn Hudson, Harri Owen, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, David Rees, and myself.