Gig Scene: Ripley presents new queen of blues-rock

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Our district can boast a fair few people who can sing the blues well and a fair few who can play the blues well on guitar. What’s rarer are people who can do both. writes Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers.

And, when it comes to the fairer sex, I can scarcely think of any examples – save for one.

Young, incredibly talented and female (!!), Bradford-born Chantel McGregor has it all.

Her rise from promising youngster, who appeared many times at Harrogate’s Blues Bar, to someone who is about to play three nights on the trot at Ripley Town Hall’s blues room has been rapid and impressive.

Then, as Chantel herself explains, she had the magic, undefinable quality from a young age.

Talking to promoter Andy Herrington, the man behind these much anticipated shows running tonight, Friday, November 2 then Novmeber 3 and 4, she said: “I realized at an early age that if I picked up a guitar I got attention, especially from my dad who’s guitar it was. So, at the ripe old age of three, I got my first guitar – a half-size acoustic.

At seven I started lessons but soon noticed that dad’s electric guitars not only had smaller necks, they made a lot more noise!”

Despite her dedication to her muse, Chantel is also a smart cookie.

As well as playing regularly, she also enrolled to do a Btec in Popular Music at Leeds College of Music.

She became the first in the college’s history to achieve a 100% pass mark. Nuff said. Let her voice and guitar do the talking now at Ripley.

Staying with feminine musical talent, though of a slightly different type, 13-year-old Gina McCann, who’s performed so well recently in the UK’s Open Mic competition, is playing closer to home this weekend.

This wonderful young songwriter who studies at Nidderdale Community High School, is appearing at Masham Town Hall this Saturday night in a big Hallowe’en concert in front of a crowd of 200-300.

Exciting news about one of Harrogate’s biggest pubs – and live venues.

The Alexandra will reopen next week after major refurbishment.

Talking to manager Loz, it may have a fresh look and a new pizza bar but it will retain its traditional pub feel and remains committed to live music.

So much so, in fact, that its opening party on Friday, November 9, will see live music from White Man Van (that fun band with Emmerdale links) and support from local acts.

Loz also confirmed that ‘The Alex’ also has a full programme of live music all the way to Christmas and beyond.

Why lute music is the new rock n roll : Songs of the Renaissance takes place at St Thomas a Becket Church in Hampsthwaite this Saturday at 3pm.

featuring soprano Helen Atkinson and Nancy Horseman who is a lutenist.

in case you think it’s odd that gig scene is highlighting a lute song recital, please remember that sting hit the uk and U s charts in 2006 with ‘Songs from the Labyrinth’, an album of the music of John Dowland played by the ex-police superstar and Bosnian

lutenist Edin Karamazov.

Talking of venues, it’s good news that The Shed in Wetherby is reopening after a year.

To celebrate the reopening,new director Alex Hogg is holding a launch party at this Grade II listed building, once hailed as the North’s premiere dance venue with a capacity of more than 450.

The new set-up really does sound impressive but more news on that next week in the build-up to the launch night on Saturday, November 10.

The Harrogate district is a small bastion of folk music and local folk fans are in for a treat thanks to local promoters Kula. The five-star Scottish folk duo of Anna Massie and Mairearad Green are coming to the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough on Saturday, November 17.

Local indie fans should fall to their knees and thank the good lord of music for local promoters DMB.

It’s thanks to them that a highly-rated, up-coming guitar band from Brighton are coming to play Mad Hatters in Ripon this weekend.

White Star Liners, whose famous fans include cult US band Grandaddy, come to North Yorkshire this Saturday,November 3, which is quite simply amazing for this area.

Supported by Ripon band Flat 69, tickets for the show are available on 07739 720732.