Soul-Rock Vocalist Christine Ohlman Brings Old-School Bar-Band Rock to MASS MoCA

Christine Ohlman

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Old-school rock ‘n’ roll vocalist Christine Ohlman, dubbed the “Beehive Queen,” will roll into North Adams with her fiery blues, R&B and rock band, Rebel Montez, on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at 8 p.m., as part of MASS MoCA’s Alt Cabaret series. The longtime vocalist of the Saturday Night Live Band, Ohlman is known for her huge, deep, soulful growl, which she applies equally to her band’s own numbers as well as to vintage soul, blues and rock classics, and which has made her a first-call vocalist for numerous high-profile industry gigs, ranging from the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert in 1992 at Madison Square Garden to the 2009 Barack Obama Presidential Inaugural Gala to last week’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame festivities in Cleveland.

In 2010, Ohlman rocked the opening party of the WordXWord Festival in downtown Pittsfield.

With a blonde beehive rumored at 19 inches and inspired by the 1960s bad girls the Ronettes, Ohlman has been deep in the music scene ever since she recorded her first album at 16. After fronting her brother’s band, Fancy, she started The Scratch Band, which quickly developed a cult following throughout the Northeast. Credited with creating its classic blues sound, Ohlman has performed with the SNL Band since 1991, including a performance with Reverend Al Green for its 25th Anniversary Special. Famed for drawing from the history of rock and blues, she has directed her knowledge beyond her own music, having been an original editor of the All Music Guide.

Christine Ohlman at WordXWord opening party, Pittsfield, Mass., 2010 (photo Seth Rogovoy)

Rebel Montez is Ohlman’s latest band committed to rock and soul. Lead guitarist Cliff Goodwin, who has been the musical director and lead guitarist for Joe Cocker, replaced Eric Fletcher after his untimely passing in 2006. Michael Colbath, the “Buddah of the Bass,” and drummer Larry Donahue, who has also played with Lucinda Williams, join Goodwin to complete Rebel Montez.

The band has released six albums with its latest, The Deep End, being highlighted on four Top Ten lists of 2010. The Deep End showcases Ohlman’s depth and breadth, ranging from the gospel soul-roots of the title track ballad that could be a Bruce Springsteen number to the Elvis Presley-like rockabilly of “Walkin’ Down the Street Called Love” to the big-band, horn inflected R&B of “Everybody Got a Heartache” that would please Bonnie Raitt fans to the Rolling Stones-ish “There Ain’t No Cure,” featuring a vocal duet between Ohlman and Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter.

The album features guest appearances by the likes of Dion DiMucci, NRBQ’s Al Anderson, Marshall Crenshaw, Levon Helm, Catherine Russell, former Saturday Night Live/Bob Dylan guitarist/bandleader G.E. Smith, and Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter. The Cincinnati CityBeat described it as having “a soul atmosphere as thick and palpable as a humid southern night. Ohlman’s voice is a dusky, supple thing of dark soul beauty, like a gene splice of Dusty Springfield and Delbert McClinton.”

Ohlman has sung with rock legends such as Neil Young, George Harrison, and Lou Reed, and was invited to perform in the Central Park Summerstage Tribute to Janis Joplin and the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert. Ohlman also contributed her cover of “Howlin for My Darlin’” to the Grammy-nominated album A Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf.

MASS MoCA’s year-round Alt Cabaret series features the best music, dance, theater and more from emerging artists in intimate Club B-10. Lickety Split serves full dinner and snacks before and during the performance and a full bar featuring beer from Berkshire Brewing and spirits from Berkshire Distillery is available as well.

Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez will play on Saturday, April 21, at 8 PM at MASS MoCA’s Club B-10. Tickets for the performance are $12 in advance and $16 day of show. Student tickets are $10. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11AM – 5 PM, closed Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.