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August 2023

Soulful Femme

Skydog Studios

Soulful Femme

Soulful Femme is vocalist Stevee Wellons and guitarist Cheryl Rinovato. The two met at a blues society event in 2014, and were competing at the I.B.C. the following year. Wellons has been performing since the ’70s and has released a couple of solo albums, while Rinovato is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and has worked as a session guitarist extensively. Their second album as a duo, Attitude (Skydog Studios) was produced by Albert Castiglia, who also contributes guitar on several tracks, and includes several special guests.

Wellons and Rinovato wrote nine of the 11 tracks, which showcase a mix of blues, rock, soul, and funk. The title track opens the disc, a catchy funk rocker with Castiglia guesting on guitar and Dave Gross on B3. Castiglia also teams with Rinovato on guitar for the fast-paced “Not Like You,” and later on a seriously funky take of the James Brown classic “Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Nothing,” which also features Tommy Castro on vocals with Wellons. There’s also a vocal collaboration with Wellons and Kevin Burt on a stunning cover of Willie Dixon’s “Insane Asylum.”

“Can’t Get There From Here” is a mix of soul and funk, and “Breathe Again” is a jazzy slow burner, while “Loser’s Game,” adds R&B to the mix. Meanwhile, the powerful “Walk Out” leans more toward blues rock, while “Dysfunction Funk” ventures into reggae adding horns from Doug Woolverton (trumpet) and Mark Earley (tenor sax). The smooth “Crazy” is a mid-tempo groover and the closing break-up ballad, “Time To Walk,” deftly mixes soul and R&B.

Fans of blues, soul, and R&B will find a lot to enjoy from Soulful Femme on Attitude. The duo covers a lot of musical territory, but they do it extremely well. There’s plenty of good songwriting and musical performances to be heard and you’ll find yourself listening over and over.

--- Graham Clarke


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