No Place Like tomorrow: a solo album from Virginia Kettle, “the creative heart of Merry Hell,” that promises everything from Joni Mitchell to Victoria Wood.
Release Date: 12th July 2020
Label: Merry Hell Music
Format: DL / CD
No place like tomorrow. Not quite the ‘there’s no place like home’ line from Judy Garland’s Dorothy, clicking the heels to take us to better places, but in challenging times, we can all do with another dose of the optimism regularly served up by Virginia Kettle’s main musical outlet in Merry Hell.
Equality, fairness and empathy are key Merry Hell watchwords and never far from the songs on No Place Like Tomorrow. A case of the apple never falling far from the tree. Virginia has written and performed all the material with the occasional contribution from husband John on guitar and Merry Hell pals Neil McCartney and Nick Davies on fiddle and bass respectively. A sort of Merry Hell acoustic mini band; one of their guises as is her occasional band The Dreamkeepers.
Lyrically, the familiar themes of liberation, raising toasts, burden lifting feature immediately in Let It All Go. A song that encourages bringing closure to friendships amidst a jaunty backing and wirey guitar, it’s paired with the title track that takes the band version with the tempo set a tad slower; mournful yet naturally, with a sense of hope.
The joyous folk rock with which we’re at home is eased into an understated set that peaks with the deliberate pairing of relationship songs on Valentine’s Waltz and Made In The Stars. Both are based around astute observations of the dynamics of relationships, with a cinematic Morricone flavoured ambience about the latter, adding a narrative and soundtrack on Edward Hopper’s painting.
There’s a lovely flow and sway to the guitar picking in Coming Round that’s matched with the unrequited love in Moon enhanced by a suitably romantic musical backing to the irresistible melody.
After going unaccompanied on Spy In A Previous Life there’s a warmth of feeling on Promise Of A Sunrise; the message of being satisfied with your lot and making the most of what you have – “plant the good seed…more than this you’ll never need” delivered with a country vibe. I’d love to hear Springsteen have a good at this, although Neil McCartney may have to pass the fiddle part to Sister Soozie Tyrell…
While these are songs that may not have us dancing in the aisles, there’s plenty to swing your pants alongside a whole lotta love to raise the storm-battered spirits.
You can also read Virginia’s Why I Love on Kate Tempest on our pages here
Listen to Virginia and the Dreamkeepers playing The Butter Song at The Coffee Stop in Leigh: