Tis Rock Music (label)
06 September 2019 (released)
05 September 2019
It’s been fascinating to watch Chantel McGregor grow as an artist over the last few years. Starting out as one of the slew of Blues chicks (albeit one of the better ones) who emerged in the last 10 years and developing her own style and personality as she progresses. This live album clearly shows that she is a mature and confident rocker with some fine guitar chops and a singular vocal style that really works for her. Her last album ‘Lose Control’ shook a lot of people up with its dark and gothic feel – very different from her debut album ‘Like No Other’ which was far more Bluesy and less focused.
This live album, recorded at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds, draws from both those albums and adds ‘April’ which has been a fan favourite live track for a while but never recorded previously.
So, what does ‘Bury’d Alive’ give the listener?
For one thing, the music comes across with real power and confidence. None of the ‘little girl in the headlights’ of her early performances. Chantel is backed up by Thom Gardner on drums and Colin Sutton on bass and they create a powerful backdrop to her guitar and vocals.
The album was mixed and mastered by Wayne Proctor at Superfly studios and he has managed to get a really tight and focussed sound throughout – he seems to be the Mixer of choice these days and this album shows why.
The mix of tracks from the first two albums works better than expected as they fit well together in the new, harder-edged, style and show different sides to Ms McGregor.
The set opens with ‘Take The Power’ and she is straight into her stride with powerful guitar riffery and hammering drums from Gardner, then turning the wick up with a brilliant ‘Killing Time’ where her sweet vocals sound perfectly miscast against her massive axe play.
She varies the tone and pace throughout the set, delicately picking on ‘Like No Other’ or taking the crowd on an acid-tinged stretch on ‘Eternal Dream’ while ‘Lose Control’ suggests that she is anything but losing it.
‘Inconsolable’ is magnificent, a 12 minute odyssey starting on acoustic against some standout bass work from Colin Sutton and developing with beautiful guitar playing – it could so easily drift but she brings it together with some really emotional playing. ‘April’ is another piece that stretches out, really giving the music room to breathe.
Chantel is one of Britain’s best young live acts and this album clearly demonstrates just why she is so popular. Thoroughly recommended.