Merry Band Videos


Supporting the Red Dirt Skinners @ The Coal Vaults Jul ’14


(Original – Chris Naden)

The Merry Band had their first run out under that label in July supporting the fabulous Red Dirt Skinners on tour. The set went very well, Rob & Sarah were superb, and the very kind Mr. David Goody shot three audience videos which he sent over a couple of weeks ago.

Celebrity was Chris’ first composition, and serves as notice of why he’s very unlikely to ever get a Big Five record contract.

Over the Hills / Soldier’s Joy


The dance tunes are a large part of what makes folk music so much fun, and our fiddle medleys give Ian a chance to showcase what he can do. The song associated with the first tune is an old military march which has lasted since the reign of Queen Anne, and many will remember it in John Tams’ haunting version. We combined it with another tune in D, the Soldier’s Joy, and the medley has become one of our most popular pieces.


(Original – Chris Naden)

As a committed folkster, Chris has occasionally been heckled for singing depressing songs in minor keys; Conversation grew out of one such incident at Browns in Coventry.


Pathwalkers Videos

Friday Folk @ Whitefriars, Coventry Dec ’13


(Original – Chris Naden, arr. Pathwalkers)

Celebrity was the first song Chris wrote when he finally broke the composition barrier in 2012. The inspiration was a series of disjointed musings on the unfortunate death of Amy Winehouse, and rapidly developed into a rant about Simon Cowell and his ilk. Political and emotionally intense, it’s less sophisticated than some of his later pieces, but retains a raw flavour and biting relevance. It also serves as a cautionary tale to aspiring musicians: if you ever want to get signed to a record label, writing songs like this is probably not a good way to start!

Pub quiz question: the hook line ’empty girls and hollow men’ is lifted from a track by which 80s prog rock band? Answers on a stamped, addressed £20 note to the artist :)

Boston & St. Johns

(Great Big Sea, arr. Pathwalkers)

Chris first heard this song from the Newfoundland legends Great Big Sea in 1999, and has played it as part of his solo repertoire for years. When he brought it into rehearsals with Chloe, it turned out to be the first of our songs for which she would arrange the harmonies rather than Chris, and it remains one of his favourite songs to sing with the band.

The arrangement picked up a lot of power when Mikk added depth to the string section, and the bowed bass complements the vocal harmony beautifully. A song of love, loss and long distance, it is one of our best covers to date.

Tom Dooley

(Trad. 1869, arranged and lyrically augmented by Pathwalkers)

This traditional Appalachian ballad started out with over twenty verses and tells the (approximately) true story of one Thomas Dula and his ill-fated romantic entanglement with Laurie Foster (deceased). In the 1950s it had chart success for Lonny Donnegan in Britain and the Kingston Trio in the US. Chloe knew it from Donnegan and Chris from the Kingston Trio, so when we brought Ian’s ‘old violin’ into the band, we decided to arrange it and it’s rapidly become one of our most enjoyable and popular numbers.

The take in this video is actually missing a chorus as Chris forgot where he was in the song that night!


Taylor John’s House, Coventry Dec ’12

The Blackleg Miner

(Trad. 1880s, arranged by Pathwalkers)

This set was one we played at the Open Mic at the Coal Vaults in Coventry, when we were still finding our groove with both hands, as it were.

One of the things that drew both Chloe and Chris to the English folk tradition was its long-standing alliance with popular working-class politics. Protest songs didn’t start in the 60s, and this one is a grand old ballad of industrial violence which got a lot of airplay and was sung on many of the picket lines during the Winter of Discontent. Made famous this time around by Steeleye Span, it is one of the superstars of the essential English folk canon, and remains one of our most popular songs with West Midlands audiences.


(Original – Chris Naden, arr. Pathwalkers)

This was the second song I ever wrote, and over the past two years as we’ve added band members and detail to the arrangement it has moved from a risky decision to the most popular and probably the most powerful song in my repertoire. I keep this video around as a defence against hubris: I was writing music much too difficult for me to play at this point. Ambition is good, but it hurts your fingers! My skills have caught up with my inspirations over the course of 2013, and I’ve only become really happy with my own performances of this song in the last three months.

There’s a live-take solo version of the song here.