Sat 12/8 & Fri 12/21
Ho-ho-ho, The Ohio City Singers are back in action.
Every year the nine-piece band — Christopher Allen (guitars, vocals), Doug McKean (guitar, accordion, vocals), Austin “Candy Cane” Charanghat (guitar, vocals), Don “Dingle” Dixon (keys, percussion, trombone, glockenspiel, vocals), Brent Kirby (drums, vocals), Dave Padrutt (bass, vocals), Matt Sobol (guitar, vocals), Nick “The Clobberer” Stipanovich (accordion, hand bells, vocals) and Kelly Wright (vocals) — returns to local venues to spread its decidedly Northeast Ohio holiday cheer.
“We all love the first rehearsal when I get the Christmas lights up and everybody comes over to my house,” Allen said. “It’s just a great group of people. Our first gigs used to be a disaster, but our collective memory gets better every year. After our first song of rehearsal, Doug McKean was like, ‘When’s the first gig?’ Like we were that ready to go.”
The outfit’s schedule includes shows Sat 12/8 at Music Box Supper Club and Fri 12/21 at the House of Blues. Fans can expect to hear all of their favorites including “Snow Days,” “A Town Called Christmas,” “Holiday Hop” and “White Cleveland Christmas.” The latter has become a staple during the holidays on WMJI-FM 105.7.
Allen said the Ohio City Singers are on a three-year album cycle, which means next year they plan on releasing the follow-up to 2016’s Ring Out the Wild Bells. Fans this holiday season are getting a sneak peek with new songs “What’s the Name of Santa’s Sleigh” and “Hey! Hey! Hey! (It’s a Holiday).”
“They’re both really different,” Allen said. “‘What’s the Name of Santa’s Sleigh’ is one Doug wrote with Charanghat specifically in mind. That’s one of those tunes we knew right away it was going to be a really fun song for our set.
“Don Dixon wrote ‘Hey! Hey! Hey! (It’s a Holiday)’ as a classic kind of pop song that’s not from this era. It sounds like it came out in the late ’50s. We banged out both of those tunes in one day at my house. We just had a great, old-school kind of session with everybody standing around microphones and laying down tracks.”
Considering that the Ohio City Singers started out as nothing more than festive fun for local musicians to spend Christmas together, Allen said it’s hard to believe the outfit is still going strong 15 years later.
“It was one of those things where after doing these Christmas parties we decided to play out live and put out an album,” Allen said. “It couldn’t mean more to us the fact we are people’s holiday soundtrack, which makes it super-fun for us. When people come to the show and are singing along, it’s a real treat.”