Chantel adds feminine touch to hard-hitting blues
British blues has been raising some excellent female artists in recent years; one of these is Yorkshire lass Chantel McGregor who will be strutting her stuff at Exeter's Corn Exchange next weekend. With long locks flowing and pretty maxi dress swinging, it could come as some surprise to witness her slinging an electric guitar around her neck and breaking into Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Chile for the first time.
But Chantel has been at this for quite a while now. She got her first half size acoustic guitar at the tender age of three; aged eight she became the youngest person in the country to pass a Rockschool grade.
When she was 14 the head of A&R from a major label sat in her lounge and told her "great voice, but girls don't play guitar like that!" His advice was that she should "change styles because boys will be intimidated".
Just as well she paid no attention, then. At the grand old age of 27, Chantel was nominated for two British Blues Awards this year – Female Vocalist of the Year and Guitarist of the Year – standing proudly alongside her male contemporaries.
Her loosely spontaneous style moves between rock, blues, jazz and power pop, all overlapping into a series of impressive riffs, styles and blistering solos. She's in Exeter on Sunday, September 8. Visit exeter.gov.uk/cornexchange.