Interview with Chantel McGregor

Chantel McGregor is a rising blues rock guitarist who tours the UK regularly and is working on her second album.

(She kindly donated two signed copies of her debut album ‘Like No Other’)

What are you currently up to? e.g. gigs, recording

I’m on tour at the moment, there’s quite a few exciting things coming up; a tour of Finland, some summer festivals, a support gig with Marillion which should be fantastic and a few other things.

I’m working on my next album as we speak, trying to write lots of new songs.

How did you manage to land the support slot for Marillion in Cambridge? As Marillion usually have prog rock bands supporting them will you adjust your set in anyway and how do you think you will be received?

The Marillion gig came about from doing the BBC Introducing Masterclass, I met up with Steve Rothery (guitarist) who was also doing a masterclass, and it went from there really, their manager got in touch and asked me if I was available to do the date and I said without a doubt, yes. I’ve not met the rest of the band yet, but Steve’s a lovely guy so I’m really looking forward to the show.

I’ll be playing the usual ‘Chantel-Music’, I think the thing is, I don’t really class what I do as one style or genre, so I’ll write a pop song and throw a bit of prog in the middle. I think my set will go down well, we have quite a good prog following and I think Marillion fans appreciate good music, so fingers crossed they like ours. We do Cambridge Rock Festival with quite a few other prog bands and we’ve become friends with them (Mostly Autumn etc) over the years, its great when we’re on a festival, as I get to catch up with friends in the other bands.

Do you think blues rock here in the UK is undergoing a boom time with younger stars like yourself and the recently launched ‘Classic Rock presents Blues’ magazine? Why do you think blues has such longevity and never really seems to go out of fashion?

I don’t think blues as a genre is necessarily undergoing a boom nor has it ever been out of fashion, its always been there in some form. I think artists like the Black Keys and Joe B have made it more accessible to a wider audience. I guess it all boils down to your perception of blues, if it’s a 12 bar with an 80 year old American singing about picking cotton, then it’s not really relevant to today’s society and isn’t going to be in fashion, but if it’s a blues influenced track brought up to date with modern themes and musical techniques, people will have time for it. For me, blues music is just emotion music, it’s performing something you feel strongly about and connecting with other people who have shared your experiences, it’s not a chord sequence or a scale or songwriting pattern, they are just traditional technicalities.

If you could create a fantasy band line-up who would be in it and why?

I think if I could have any line up, I would pick the one I have now, the only thing I’d change is a lottery win so I could afford a tour bus and a driver to make things a bit easier and less stressful lol!!!

What do you like doing outside of music in your spare time?

Spare time, what’s that?! If I get a day off it’s usually doing something music related; writing, recording, emails, interviews, business etc. If I ever take time off properly, I like shopping, real ale, holidays in Spain, cooking… Wow this is sounding like a dating advert haha!

Anything else to add…

My website is www.chantelmcgregor.com, you can join my mailing list from there for all the latest news and tour dates

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