Chantel McGregor

It is over a decade since I last saw Chantel McGregor play the blues evenings that were briefly put on at the (University) Hertfordshire Forum. Not surprisingly, blues wasn’t something that drew in many students and it was a select bunch who saw some stunning guitar playing from Chantel.

Tonight was my first visit to a ‘Corn on the Cob’ event at the Corn Exchange in Hertford. These events cover folk, blues, Americana, but also country music, which has put me off previous events. Tonight, thankfully there was no country, but there was chairs, so I didn’t feel it would be right blocking the stage taking photos, so they are all a bit gamey. To be honest, I would have preferred to have been on my feet for Chantel’s set.

First up were two singer songwriters, taking it in turns to sing a song. I quite liked this approach. I don’t think either artist would have held my attention. But switching between the two, neither overstayed their welcome.

Main support was a band called Tranquility Beach. A duo consisting of Ben Tattersall playing grungy horizontal slide guitar on a rather interesting looking guitar (looked like a small viola de gamba) and Molly Francesca, with some rather great soulful blues-rock vocals. Guitar and vocals perfectly complement each other. It was a really enjoyable set.

I had assumed Chantel was still a solo artist. But she now has a band. Her brilliant guitar playing seems to have taken a step back with a much more blues rock sound. To be honest, a few of the songs were a bit bland. The kind of obvious AOR blues rock we’ve heard for 40 years. Thankfully on others, she let rip with her amazing guitar playing. She really is a very talented guitarist and her solos are worth seeing.