@ Newcastle Legends, April 10 2010

I’d heard good things about Chantel. There is something of a curiosity surrounding ‘girls’ who can really play guitar and, I suppose, a novelty factor. The industry is not exactly overrun with female blues guitarists. So let’s just say this was a pleasant surprise.

At just 23, Chantel is diminutive, blonde and looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. But boy can she play guitar. Her bluesy style is not languid, her fingerwork is fast and she plays like she has fused Hendrix, Prince, and Kotzen.

When you are labelled a prodigy you’d better put your money where your mouth is and Chantel did just that. She showed her prowess throughout the set, with many a highpoint including a beautiful interpretation of Robin Trower’s Daydream. She offered a haunting vocal to match the tune’s earth-shaking and heartbreaking riffs.

A further sharp intake of breath came as she breezed her way thorough the gorgeous High by Ritchie Kotzen and, considering it hasn’t been that long since I saw the man himself play this track, I can honestly say I think he would have been impressed.

Not to be overlooked as ‘just another covers artist’, Chantel also writes her own music. Freefalling allows the rock chick to belt out her own lyrics in a style that echoes Bonnie Raitt and Jewel with a little Tori Amos thrown in for good measure. As an artist who has the ability to put pen to paper, pick up a guitar and create her own sound, I look forward to hearing more from Ms McGregor’s own hand in the future.

Lady plays the blues: no novelty, just a heck of a lot of talent. You go girl.

Viki Ridley