Lady Strings The Blues
It seems criminal to me that Chantel McGregor hasn't been snapped up by a major label yet, or her single "Fabulous" been all over our radios at any stage. Is it because she is female, that her breathtaking skills on the guitar are overlooked by the mainstream? Probably, is the answer. Chantel has been playing guitar since childhood, when she realised Dad would be easily impressed by little Chantel boshing out some chords on his guitar. She didn't stop there though and developed her skills, passing a Rockschool grade at only 8 years old. She was advised by an A&R that her voice was great but playing guitar like that might intimidate boys. Chantel went on to do outstanding well at Leeds College of Music (via nearly going into teacher training) and has been recognised at the British Blues Awards, winning Best Newcomer in 2011, Best Female Vocalist in 2012 and 2013 and Best Guitarist in 2013.
Cluny 2 had a healthy sized crowd with the balcony in use. I suspect Chantel could have filled Cluny 1 and that may be the plan for the next visit to Newcastle. Chantel filled the room with amazing guitar sounds as she went through songs on her Like No Other album including Daydream which gets increasingly crazy and epic as it progresses in the live performance. Cover versions included Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory, and Stevie Nicks's Rhiannon sung with emotion and feeling, and accompanied by Chantel's beautiful acoustic guitar playing. Also given the acoustic treatment was Metallica's Nothing Else Matters, gorgeous. Anyone who has seen Chantel knows she doesVoodoo Chile justice with a enviable amount of musical flair.
The band, consisting of Richard Richie on bass and Keith McPartling on drums, were a solid duo, reacting to Chantel's musical twists and turns with a natural ease. Richard doesn't settle with "dum dee dum" on the bass but dances around that fretboard providing everything from blues to funk basslines and Keith is an amazing drummer. The audience loved the band and Chantel as always, filled the gaps between songs with her Yorkshire wit.
You will get a chance to see Chantel again at the Gala Theatre in Durham on Friday 21st March. And if you happen to be in another part of England you could catch her elsewhere..check out the dates on her website.