24 July 2021 (released)
24 July 2021
Last year, in common with a great many musicians who were trapped by the lockdown, Chantel McGregor started a weekly livestream - it was originally intended as a one-off but … - from her garden shed.
Purely acoustic to begin with, it grabbed her passionate fans and proved to be a massive success in keeping McGregor in touch with both her fanbase and a gradually widening audience.
This set of covers is from the early ‘deep lockdown’ where travel was banned and will be followed by a second set from after the restrictions were eased and she came south to work with a ‘bubble’ of musicians and added some electricity to the mix.
The album was produced by Wayne Proctor and he has created an incredibly intense and focused sound for her.
She has a delightful, sweet and almost naïve, voice and while she is predominantly a dynamite electric guitarist she has shown over the years that she plays a mean acoustic: her psychedelic acoustic passages are a favourite of her live shows.
From opening with Neil Young’s ‘Needle & The Damage Done’, through John Prine’s ‘Angel From Montgomery’ and into Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’ and even Hendrix ‘Voodoo Chile’, her performances are heart achingly emotive and really fine performances of classic songs.
I approached the album looking to remind myself of some enjoyable Saturday nights spent watching her livestreams but found that the album appealed to me on a deeper level and I just listened for the sheer pleasure of some great songs being sung and played by a young lady with real empathy for the material and a huge amount of feeling and talent.
Personal favourite is her version of Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ but for real chutzpah, closing the album on Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ takes it.