Apparently you don't have to be born in the south to personify southern soul. Bronx native, Christine Ohlman is proof of that. Fronting vocals for Rebel Montez, and rockin' the stage of the SNL band since 1991, Christine is famed not only for her platinum beehive coiffure, but for her edgy and honest blues-brimming vocals and 'no-frills approach to music.'
"I give it to an audience straight, which is the way I like it myself. Yes, I like to shout, and I like to croon, and I love to wail. I just need to get in the groove and rock---not think too much about it– tear it up or soothe it over. I've loved rock n' roll since I was a little girl, and I'll love it forever. It's my greatest kick and my greatest privilege to be able to get up on a stage and rip it apart. That's rock n' roll to me. I'm here to set your soul on fire."
Her latest gem, The Deep End, features duets with Dion, Ian Hunter and Marshall Crenshaw plus special guests Levon Helm, Big Al Anderson, Andy York, G.E. Smith, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Catherine Russell, The Asbury Juke Horns (Chris Anderson & Neal Pawley) w/ Mark Rivera, Vic Steffens, Jeff Kazee, Shawn Pelton, Paul Ossola and Mitch Chakour.
Christine and co-producer Andy York (John Mellencamp) have crafted 15 songs of life and love tempered by loss embraced in a swampy, guitar-driven style. A journey of the heart, The Deep End follows the 2003 release of Strip as well as 2008's Re-Hive, a career retrospective of unreleased cuts, alternate takes and bonus tracks dedicated the loss in 2005 of her mate/producer, Doc Cavalier. The Deep End is dedicated to the memory of guitarist and collaborator Eric Fletcher who passed in 2006.
"Ultimately, this is an album about love and the courage to fall into it. The fact is, the loss just informs you; it opens emotional doors that couldn't possibly have opened before, no matter how much you thought you knew about it. I wrote about love--the newness of it, the glory of it, the loss of it, the constancy of it, the sadness that can come from it, the wonder of it, the sweet bitterness of it, sometimes. It's my favorite topic, and never have I felt it so deeply and been so deeply affected by it."
"There are so many who have stepped up with grace and love to help me get through these past years, to rejoice with me, to hold me while I cried, and to lift me up."
Check out this live version of Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez doin' Ain't No Cure at Café Nine in New Haven, Connecticut. Be sure to drop by Café Nine Saturday, March 20 for a live show. For a great bio-vid, click here. And check out Christine's blog, Buzzin' In The Hive!!!
Christine's NY dates:
Feb. 3: KGB Radio Hour w/Mark Jacobson
Feb. 14: City Winery, NYC
Mar. 3: KGB Radio Hour w/Mark Jacobson
Mar. 9: Lakeside Lounge, NYC
June 13: Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester, NY