Guitarist and singer-songwriter Chantel McGregor released her highly anticipated new album, Lose Control, on Friday 9th October 2015 on her independent boutique label Tis Rock Music, The new album is the follow up to her critically acclaimed 2011 debut solo album, Like No Other.
After four years of touring and festival appearances, Chantel returns with a vengeance with ten new songs that not only salutes contemporary rock, but shows her gradual transition from conventional Blues to a harder, bigger and bolder rock sound with progressive influences.
“I’ve always been interested in the dark side of Southern Gothic literature, artwork and media,” says Chantel. “I wanted to create an album that reflected the imagery and themes of that genre. I drew inspiration from the TV shows True Detective and True Blood and studied the literary works of Tennessee Williams, Carson Mullers and Mark Twain.”
“I also surrounded myself with imagery from artists and photographers such as Walker Evans and Clarence John Laughlin, all to immerse myself in the sinister, dark world of depravation, magic and voodoo, writing most of the songs from the perspective of the disturbed flawed characters.”
Lose Control, sees Chantel channeling her guitar playing and song-writing into an exciting pantheon of rock crescendos and riffs, that will not only leave her devout blues rock fan base in awe, but will also lead them into a sonic journey that will take them into new musical territory, whilst sticking to her current obsession with all things Southern Gothic.
“My interpretation of Southern Gothic is the loss of control, either spiritually, physically (through other people or substances), or emotionally,” reflects Chantel. “I drew on this theme a lot throughout the album, hence the title Lose Control. I wanted the sound and emotion of the album to reflect the concept, so I juxtaposed heavy, guitar riff-based, dark tracks with haunting, emotive acoustic tracks, whilst tying them together with the lyrical themes of desperation and loss so often seen in Southern Gothic fiction.”
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Livingstone Brown’s studio in Brixton over the space of 6 months, interspersing studio time with touring. Livingstone Brown, (Ed Sheeran, Bryan Ferry, Robin Trower), played the majority of the bass on the album, with Chantel playing small parts, and her touring drummer Keith McPartling, playing drums for the whole album.
Says Chantel, “I did the vocals, backing vocals, all guitar parts, arrangements and some production. We brought in two amazing string players, Charlie Brown on the violin and Chris Worsey on the cello. I really enjoyed the creativity the studio gave me and loved venturing into the production and arrangement sides of it, which I will definitely be doing more of in the future.”
For the album artwork, Chantel wanted to reflect the darkness of the album whist retaining an eerily traditional feel. To make this happen, she contacted a friend of hers, Mark Eliades, who created all of the calligraphy by hand, which Chantel transferred into digital format to design the album cover. In addition to designing the cover, Chantel also did all the photography and visual effects. The imagery is all Chantel – from the voodoo doll, the scratched song lyrics and the gothic old door, all of which tie in into the Southern Gothic theme, reflecting the dark undercurrents and disturbing concepts of the album.
Chantel McGregor at The Platform in Morecambe
Monday 14th December 2015
Box Office: 01472 349222
Old Station Buildings, Marine Rd W, Morecambe LA4 4DB
Chantel McGregor – Biography
The Blues came calling first, but rock and roll was always waiting around the corner. When Chantel was eight years old, she was the youngest person in the UK to pass a Rock school exam. At 12, she was jamming in her native Bradford and evolving into a gifted musician.
A female guitar prodigy, at fourteen Chantel was told by major labels that she had a “great voice, but girls don’t play guitar like that!” Wisely ignoring the comments, she enrolled at the Leeds College of Music and became the first student in the college’s history, to achieve a 100% pass mark, with 18 distinctions. Chantel left with a First Class Honours degree in Popular Music and a coveted prize, for outstanding musicianship.
In previous years, Chantel stepped out in the pro-musician world and her stunning live performances demonstrated that she had the ability to perform rock blues for the new age, played by a musician born with an effortless virtuosity. Since then, she has built a loyal and growing fan base who follow her every move.
When Chantel released her 2011 debut album, Like No Other, one critic said, “Chantel McGregor deserves to be held up as a messiah of blues-rock and given her own mountain. She doesn’t strum or pick her guitar but almost bends and distorts it, as if she’s channelling the ghost of Hendrix through her fingers”
When asked about performing on stage, Chantel said; “Playing live to great audiences is one of the most wonderful feelings, I feel lucky to be able to do something that I love, see the world and bring happiness to others through my music.”
If you measure an artist’s prospects by the company they keep, then Chantel has been moving in the right direction. Early in her career, Chantel was invited to perform with Joe Bonamassa, on two of his UK tours.
In 2011, Chantel’s debut album, Like No Other, was produced by Livingstone Brown, whose production credits include Ed Sheeran, Robin Trower, Tina Turner, and Shakira. The end result was a beautifully crafted debut album that showcased Chantel’s versatility and talent as a singer-songwriter.
On song writing, Chantel says, “I really enjoy creating my own songs, it’s a fantastic way of being able to say what I wouldn’t normally say in everyday life and getting my feelings out, writing for me is very therapeutic”
In 2014, Chantel was voted by the British Blues Awards as Guitarist of the Year for the second consecutive year. Winning five awards in the last three years (including Young Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year) in competition with highly regarded peers, is something to be extremely proud of. It was a refreshing change and a justifiable first in the history of the British Blues Awards that a female artist had been voted Guitarist of the Year.
Chantel was recently nominated again in the Guitarist of the Year category in 2015‘s British Blues Awards. Chantel’s second album, Lose Control, will be released on Friday October 9, 2015.