Sunday, November 21, 2010

Down On The Bayou II

I'm extremely proud to have been the only female artist on stage (it just worked out that way...) at April's "Down On The Bayou II" concert during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which was organized by my friend, Widespread Panic keyboard wiz JoJo Hermann, and to have my version of Edwin Starr's "25 Miles" included in the concert's recent digital release, all profits to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. I hope everyone check out this download--it's an easy, fun way to contribute to the good work of the Clinic and its parent charity, The New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation.

"Down on the Bayou II- Live Jam from New Orleans now available
More than 60 musicians collaborate to create live jam album for charity"

The live recordings from Down on the Bayou II, a benefit concert for the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic (NOMC) and Assistance Foundation (NOMAF), are now available for download The recordings captures the collaboration of more than 60 musicians coming together as never before playing renditions of classic songs such as “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues”, Dr. John’s “Right Place Wrong Time”, “Turn On Your Love Light” Edwin Starr's "25 Miles" and Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman”. All proceeds from sales of the album benefit the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation to support its vital Musicians’ Clinic (est. 1998).

The concert, which took place April 29, 2010 at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, Louisiana is the second annual benefit concert spearheaded by Widespread Panic keyboardist JoJo Hermann. “Down on the Bayou is an annual concert during Jazzfest that brings top musicians together to pay tribute to New Orleans and the contributions this city and its musicians have made to the music we make and love today. The New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic is a model for artist healthcare and we’re proud to support it,” explained JoJo.

The recordings of the performances that night found their way into the hands of multiple Grammy award-winning producer John Porter. Those musicians who donated their performances to benefit the Musicians’ Clinic include: Big Chief Bo Dollis, George Porter Jr., Widespread Panic, Bill Kreutzmann, Ivan Neville, members of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Gov’t Mule, Big Sam, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne, Christine Ohlman and Jon Cleary, among others. 100% of the proceeds from Down on the Bayou Live will go to sustain America’s only comprehensive medical home for musicians.

“The staff, volunteers, board of directors and the 2000 + patients of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic are deeply grateful to the amazing Howlin’ Wolf staff and the musicians who donated their inspiration to make Down on the Bayou a magical night of music and funk!” states NOMC & AF Director, Bethany Ewald Bultman. “This album truly embodies the mission of the clinic to keep New Orleans music ALIVE.” (

The album premiered on on the afternoon of October 29th.

New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic/Musicians Assistance Foundation:
The mission of the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation is to keep music alive by sustaining New Orleans musicians and tradition bearers in body, mind and spirit. We do this through providing access to health and social services through the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, regardless of musicians’ ability to pay, and by fostering cultural opportunities that advocate for and support this effort. To learn more, visit

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Video: "Love Make You Do Stupid Things"

Our first full-production video from Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez's latest, The Deep End, was a joy from start to finish. When we shot the main footage in late July with Bill Hurley of ADC Film Production in front of a blue screen at Connecticut's Horizon Music Group, we'd already hatched a scheme to raid Bill's extensive collection of vintage horror movie footage to enhance the theme of the vid's title, "Love Make You Do Stupid Things." A second shoot at the legendary Lakeside Lounge in New York City with the track's special guest, the guitar-totin' Eric "Roscoe" Ambel of the Del Lords, yielded some fun stuff as Roscoe and I romped in the Lakeside's equally legendary photo booth and swapped stories at the bar. The triple-tremelo-guitar attack of Rebel Montez's Cliff Goodwin, Deep End producer Andy York (who's on tour now with John Mellencamp), and the aforementioned Mr. Ambel is potent stuff, with bassist Mike Colbath and drummer Larry Donahue laying down their usual murderous groove. It was big fun, and we hope you dig the result. Check it out at ohlman , and let us know what you think! Rock on, everybody!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beehive Soul Journey: Muscle Shoals, September 2010

I'd long been invited to come to Muscle Shoals to sit in with The Decoys (legends in their own right, and Donnie Fritts's touring band) at their regular Wednesday night hang at a roadhouse outside of town. One thing led to another and months went by. Finally, I decided to just book a flight and do it. Kelvin Holly, the Decoys' monumental guitarist who's been with Little Richard for many years, was the king mixer of the week's festivities, and my dear soul sister Kim Stovall planned everything for me. You all know I collect soul music on vinyl and have for years. Going to the Shoals (this would be my second trip) is like going to church for me.

During my two-day stay, I toured FAME and the former Muscle Shoals Sound (now renamed Cypress Moon and largely a film studio, nestled beautifully on the Tennesee River; that's me sitting on the couch in front of the wall covered by moss green shag carpeting in the main office); sat in the FAME control room and met with Rick Hall; met with my friend Jerry Phillips, Sam's son, whose 100,000 watt radio station Q-107 is beaming "Love Make You Do Stupid Things" from The Deep End all over the South; saw the set for Jerry's cool new podcast "Muscle Shoals To Music Row" ( ); had coffee with celebrated photographer and local bon vivant Dick Cooper (many of the best Shoals music photos are Dick's); lunched with cool chicks Suzanne Bolton (who manages everything at FAME for Rick) and Kim Stovall; had a quick photo taken outside 3614 Jackson Highway (because no one likes the present owner, we had to sneak around); and toured through the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, where I learned that Nat "King" Cole had two other music-playing brothers (I'd thought there was only one) and saw Webb Pierce's gold-plated cadillac with ornamental guns mounted on the hood.

All this was a prelude to the gig at Sidelines II, a local watering hole out on Ford Road ("It's a joint," Kelvin had said, and he was right.) Spooner Oldham ended up missing in action (he didn't get out of church in time), but showing up to play were Donnie Fritts, a bunch of cats from Little Richard's band, and Travis Wammack. I knew The Decoys were good, but they turned out to be more than that. Mike Dillon rules the drum kit and sings his ass off, while Kelvin, Steve Vickery (sitting in for David Hood, who apologized personally for having to go to London and do Jools Holland's show) NC Thurman and Barry Billings similarly rule their corners of the stage. This was American music at its best, played with heart and soul and grit, for the pure joy of it. Everyone could sing, and sing well. They told me after I got there that there had never (not for any special reason--there just had never) been a woman in the "sitting in" spot with the Decoys, so I was honored, to begin with. But the welcome I got will stay with me for the rest of my life. We did Erma Franklin's version of "Piece Of My Heart," romped through Freddy King's "I'm Tore Down" (after Donnie Fritts and I decided Freddy is, indeed, the best King) and, when, after a swamped-up turn through "Take Me To The River," Mike Dillon announced, "She's a Decoy!", my heart was pretty full.

Donnie got up to sing "We Had It All," and I joined him on the bridge. Then The Decoys burned through the Fritts/Penn/Oldham anthem "Memphis Women and Chicken." The crowd was whooping, dancing, drinking, sweating and smiling (with Dick Cooper snapping what turned out to be 400 photos of the evening) by the time Travis Wammack quietly took the stage with his signature red 335---and just as quietly blew my mind. His 1964 hit "Scratchy" wasn't (and didn't need to be) on the bill: he was there to be part of the band. They played a couple, he shredded---and I mean SHREDDED---and then announced, "I'd like to sing a little..." as he sounded the arpeggio that introduces "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby." This was perfect, pristine country soul, sung so true, deeper than any well, and I was proud to stand up there and be part of the gospel choir that the bunch of us made (remember I said they can all sing...) at the chorus. THEN Wammack ripped into the most ass-kickin', hip-shakin' version of the Isley Brother's "It's Your Thing" that the world has ever known. I danced all over the stage, Mike Dillon and I aced the harmonies, and the Beehive Queen's soul was very, very, very, very content. So many folks came over to the table to thank me. It was I who felt grateful, and I still do, and I always will. What a beautiful thing, to be there with everyone, so DOWN in the groove, all night long. My thanks and respect to Kim, Kelvin, and all involved.

Before I left, very early on Thursday morning, I visited Jimmy Oliver's morning show on Q107 Eric Ambel, Cliff Goodwin & Andy York's triple-tremelo-guitar attack on "Love Make You Do Stupid Things" sounded mighty fine beaming out over those megawatts. And, by the way, the cotton opened up overnight, between Tuesday and Wednesday. The drive south back to Birmingham on Route 157 was through a sea of white.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Autumn In The Beehive 2010

After a whirlwind summer that found me in Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore, DC and points between, I landed in New Orleans at the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, visiting with friends and participating in PazFest II, Michael Paz's benefit for the Ruth Paz Hospital for Burns and Pediatric Surgery in Honduras. Late August also saw the digital-only re-release of "Get You A Healin' " to benefit my pet charity, The New Orleans Musicians' Clinic, with original tracks by Irma Thomas, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and others. On the "bonus cuts" side, Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez's "The Cradle DId Rock" from The Deep End joins tracks by BB King, Richard Thompson, The Subdudes, and Chandler Travis. So very proud to be included.

I decamp to Muscle Shoals, Alabama September 15 to sit in with Donnie Fritts and The Decoys on their regular Wednesday night gig and to visit with Rick and Linda Hall at FAME and tour other studios.....this journey to the heart of Southern Soul music will be like going down to the well for me. I'll report back on how it goes.

Reviews for The Deep End continue to come in, with wonderful mentions in Downbeat, Blues Revue, and Blueswax. Leading the pack are The Bluegrass Special's "The Deep End insists on telling the truth until it alters perceptions of love and loss and how it all works, especially when it falls apart so tragically as that which produced this work of art. Here comes the sun, healing and transcendent." and Dave Marsh's "Ohlman turns out the best blue-eyed soul of her career...'The Gone of You' fully exhibits how much grief a blues-drenched heart can bear. The whole history of soul music can be heard here, reflected in a passionate life--or two." (Rock n' Rap Confidential).

I am deeply grateful, and deeply aware of how much the connection with friends and fans through the music means. Hope to see you soon on stage.

And thanks to VENU Magazine, a fabulous new arts and music mag based out of Fairfield, CT, for their wonderful feature in the September/October issue.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer In The Hive with The Beehive Queen

It's high summer, and "The Deep End" has been in release for four months. The review have been pretty overwhelming, from Dave Marsh to Nick Cristiano in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Downbeat, Blues Revue, M Magazine, Hal Horowitz's insightful piece in the All-Music Guide, and so many more. I'm appreciative to everyone who's responded positively to this record, and I'm joined in this gratitude by the members of Rebel Montez--Cliff Goodwin, Michael Colbath and Larry Donahue. Our tour schedule has taken us to venues like the Rochester International Jazz Festival's Abilene Americana stage, where we headlined alongside (on separate nights) Dave Alvin and Amy LaVere. I was so proud to perform at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic ( ) alongside JoJo Hermann & Widespread Panic, The North Mississippi All Stars, Gov't Mule and others. More than $50,000 was raised.

This new record has such deep meaning for me, and in on-air SIRIUS/XM appearances with both Vin Scelsa and Dave Marsh, Andy York (the record's producer) and I have gotten to explore some of the songs in the radio setting. Our schedule will take us to various points on the East Coast this summer into the fall, and we look forward to seeing all of you on the road. Keep in touch on Facebook at the "Christine Ohlman Beehive Queen" music page, or e-mail me at . Let's all rock on together. --Christine

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Deep End Release Date Set

The Deep End debuted in the digital world in November and has been downloadable on iTunes and since then. Now, the release date has officially been set for March 20, 2010 with pre-order on on January 20. A free download of the title cut, as well as much more information, is available at Co-produced by Andy York (John Mellencamp), its fourteen songs are of life and love tempered by loss. The members of Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez (Michael Colbath-bass; Larry Donahue-drums; Cliff Goodwin-guitar) are joined by special guests (and my duet partners) Dion, Ian Hunter, and Marshall Crenshaw, plus special guests Levon Helm, Big Al Anderson, G.E. Smith, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Catherine Russell, Vic Steffens, Shawn Pelton, the Asbury Juke Horns w/Mark Rivera, Jeff Kazee, Paul Ossola, Mitch Chakour, and, of course, Andy. In all, it's been a labor of love, following a recording hiatus of several years due to the passing of both our long-time producer (and my mate) Doc Cavalier and our guitarist, Eric Fletcher, who is memorialized in a cool radio airshot he and I recorded together in 2005. The advance reviews have all been great. It's all been done for the pleasure of our listeners, and we hope you dig, and enjoy.

Andy York and I will appear January 31 (11 am) with my great friend Dave Marsh on his Sunday morning SIRIUS/XM show "Kick Out The Jams" to chat about the record and perform a few tracks. Tune in and turn on!

In other news, I appeared in a raucous commercial parody on Saturday Night Live called "Carter n' Sons Barbeque" (a/k/a "Swine Fever!") Check it out at NBC's HULU site. As always, I'm the one with the big blonde beehive!

Rock on into Spring.....Christine