Folkies Merry Hell-raising

Merry Hell
Merry Hell

A WIGAN-BASED folk band will be rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in traditional and roots music after announcing a packed schedule of festival appearances.

Seven-piece Merry Hell, who were formed out of the ashes of 1990s cult band The Tansads in 2010, have been picked to play at a festival curated by star folk singer Maddy Prior in Cumbria next year, and will also perform at the 2013 edition of the Great British Acoustic Festival.

Merry Hell will also be rounding out this year in style at the Great British Folk Festival in Skegness, alongside the likes of June Tabor and the Albion Band, but not before finding time in their gig schedules to support a benefit night for the Coppull Free Folk Festival, which will be held at Standish Unity Club on November 16.

The band are also currently locked away in guitarist John Kettle’s Jaraf House studios working on a new album, which is slated for a spring release next year.

Band manager Damian Liptrot said: “We played the benefit night for the Coppull festival last year and it went really well. It was a sell-out and hopefully this year will be the same.

“They put on some really good free music, so more power to their elbow.

“For next year we’re booked at Maddy Prior’s festival, which is a very folk-oriented event, but we’re also playing at Glastonwick in Sussex which is much more punk, it’s run by a radical poet.

“We’re completely at home in both worlds. The songs are very much from the folk tradition, but there’s a punk energy and flavour to some of them as well.”

Some of that energy should be captured on the new album currently being prepared as a follow-up to their acclaimed BLINK...and you miss it release, which has the intriguing title Bury Me Naked and features a guest appearance from legendary fiddler Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention.

Damian explains: “It’s a song which the band have played for a while, and always gets a huge response at gigs because of its sing-along chorus.

“We’re really getting into the songs now and we’re confident anyone who liked the last album will love this one.”

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