We Say :- Chantel McGregor has been on the circuit of the blues/rock scene for some time, and has a huge underground following. A young lady from Yorkshire with a passion for a six string, a fantastic voice, and now of course, a debut album. I first saw Chantel on a YouTube video after someone recommended I go see her during the course of an interview I was doing for my radio show last year. I was blown away, and I was really intrigued by the prospect of some recorded material.
Already a veteran of the circuit already having played several rock/blues festivals up and down the country as well as doing a session on Paul Jones’ radio 2 show at Maida Vale studios. Not bad for someone at the tender age of, well, not very old actually. I can’t tell you more as it’s not polite to give away a lady’s age. The album found it’s way to me over the weekend, and I’ve also had the chance to catch up with her for a quick chat about it. So how about I just stop going on and tell you about the album instead?
What I expected was a blues album, as I thought that was Chantel’s main genre, but what I actually got was an album so diverse, that it’s impossible to stick any sort of label on. Each song can be stuck into a genre, but the album itself just borrows so much influence from various genres, and it makes for a great listening experience.
Like No Other contains 9 original tracks, and 3 cover versions which I’ll get to later, and opens with a catchy, commercial track, which was a total shock to me. It’s not out and out pop/rock but it’s a great opening track, and set’s you up for what’s to come. This album is a roller coaster ride from start to finish, taking you through soft rock ballad, to pure blues, to in your face rock music, and lots more besides. For me personally, it’s been a refreshing change from the heavy rock I’ve been listening to over the past few weeks, and maybe that’s helped me appreciate it more as it’s so very different to anything I’ve heard lately. I suspect though, that it’s more to do with the quality of each song on this album.
Chantel shows a maturity in the music that belies her young age, and that’s also represented in the written quality of the tracks. The band have been together for quite some time, long before this record was released, and you can tell. It has an accomplished feel, and never ceases to amaze on many levels, everything just sounds so natural.
Onto the cover versions then if you please. There’s a version of ‘Help Me’ originally recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson II which is a blues track that Chantel has been doing for some years in live sets, a great take on Robin Trower song ‘Daydream’ which shows off just how much talent on a guitar this young lady actually has. Don’t believe me? Go listen for yourself. The cover version that jumped out at me though was Chantel’s version of the Fleetwood Mac classic ‘Rhiannon’ which is possibly one of the finest cover versions I’ve heard in a long time. The reason for that is because she’s taken an iconic rock song and stripped everything away but her voice and an acoustic guitar. It’s hauntingly beautiful, brilliantly simple, and simply brilliant.
Overall, I could recommend this album to a lot of people, as it has pretty much something for everyone left of the extreme end of the rock music scale. Some tender moments, and some great rock music. Keep an eye on this young lady, and if you can go catch a live show then do so. You may well be pleasantly surprised.