Legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist Christine Ohlman (aka “The Beehive Queen”) has called Connecticut her home for many years.
When she was only sixteen years old, Ohlman, then a high school student, was a member of a New Haven, Connecticut blues/rock band called the Wrongh Black Bag. Ohlman was the band’s lead singer, and her younger brother, Vic Steffens, was the group’s drummer. Ohlman’s next band that she and Vic formed was called Fancy. They released an LP album, Fancy Meeting You Here, and a 45, “All My Best,” on the Poison Ring record label. The band recorded at Thomas “Doc” Cavalier’s Trod Nossel Studios (formerly Syncron). Later, Steffens joined the Connecticut band Napi Browne. He also formed his own recording studio, Horizon Music Group in West Haven, Connecticut.
Once Fancy disbanded, Ohlman formed the Scratch Band, which was very popular in the Northeast, most notably their live performances. The Scratch Band included famed Hall & Oates and Saturday Night Live guitarist G.E. Smith, along with New Haven’s drummer-vocalist Mickey Curry. Curry has worked with a number of major stars, including Hall & Oates, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, the Cult and Alice Cooper. After the Scratch Band, Ohlman founded the group Christine Ohlman and the Soul Rockers.
Christine is the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band. In 1991, she reunited with G.E. Smith when she joined the SNL band as the lead singer.
Ohlman also is the leader of Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez. Christine has recorded six CDs with Rebel Montez and has toured throughout the Northeast with the band. Their 2010 release, The Deep End, landed on numerous national end-of-year Top Ten lists.
Ohlman is, truly, the queen of Connecticut Rock n’ Roll. She has been named a “Living Legend” by both the New Haven and Hartford Advocates. In 2017 she was inducted into the National Blues Hall of Fame of American Heritage, International. She landed the Top Female Americana Vocalist honors on The Alternate Root’s International Readers’ Poll (she shares top slots with Paul Thorn, The Mavericks, and Rodney Crowell) and is fresh from appearances at the 2017 Rhythm & Roots Festival, where she guested with both Rosanne Cash and The New Orleans Suspects; the 2017 Little Kids Rock gala in NYC, taking the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo and Elvis Costello; The Paris Conservatory with The Sessions; the SNL 40th Anniversary Post-Broadcast concert at the Plaza Hotel; The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon; multiple appearances on the soundtrack for the HBO series Vinyl, including a duet with Elvis Costello; the Carnegie Hall Tribute To The Rolling Stones; the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland (HBO) and The WC Handy Festival in Muscle Shoals, where she’s been the special guest of the Blind Boys Of Alabama and led an All-Star Shoals tributes that included Bonnie Bramlett, Candi Staton, and Ed King of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Her numerous studio and live collaborations encompass Grammy-nominated recordings and include duets with Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, Dion, Ian Hunter, Marshall Crenshaw, and Charlie Musselwhite, plus appearances with Al Green, Steve Miller, Smokey Robinson, Bruce Springsteen, and the late George Harrison. With JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic, she leads the “Down On The Bayou” New Orleans Jazz and Heritage benefits for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic. She guests on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s “The ALO Orchestra Sings The Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2,” named “Coolest Record Of The Year” by SIRIUS/XM’s Little Steven’s Underground Garage. She frequently collaborates with another true Connecticut legend, “Big Al” Anderson of The Wildwoods and NRBQ fame.
Ohlman is a noted musicologist and record collector who was one of the original contributing editors to the All Music Guide. Mixing a fiery brand of rootsy Americana with an old-school soul music flavor, she serves up a style that’s been dubbed by SIRIUS/XM’s Dave Marsh “Contemporary Rock R&B.” Onstage, she features songs from her six CDs: The Hard Way, Radio Queen, Wicked Time, Strip, ReHive, and The Deep End.
“I’ve come here to set your souls on fire,” The Beehive Queen tells her audiences. And she will.
(by Anthony Renzoni, author of Connecticut Rock ‘n’ Roll: A History © )
NOTE: Portions of this write-up are copyrighted and taken from Renzoni’s book Connecticut Rock ‘n’ Roll: A History. For further info, check: https://www.
Published on December 28, 2012