Funk, soul, and blues form a magical convergence with the sounds of Soulful Femme. Comprised of lead vocalist Stevee Wellons and guitarist Cheryl Rinovato, Soulful Femme was formed shortly after the two women met at a blues society event in 2014. Attitude, the follow up album to their 2021 release It Is Well With My Soul, is produced by Albert Castiglia and features him on guitar for three tracks. The backing musicians include drummer Michael Bram, bassist Matt Reynol, Dave Gross on Hammond organ and tambourine, Doug Woolverton on trumpet, and Mark Earley on tenor saxophone. Special guests on this record include Tommy Castro and Kevin Burt.
The funky, infectious rhythm of title-track “Attitude” leads the way with Castiglia joining in on guitar. The bassline is thick as Wellons’ vocals ring out with a striking fearlessness. I absolutely love their cover with Kevin Burt which breathes new life into the 1968 Willie Dixon/Koko Taylor duet “Insane Asylum”. Burt and Wellons sing this heartbreaker with pure emotion as they stick the landing for a stellar performance. Reminiscent of the lovely sounds of Sade, “Breathe Again” rolls in on a crisp wave of fresh air. Rinovato digs in deep with a George Benson-like approach on guitar and it sounds fabulous. Tommy Castro joins in the fun on the bodacious cover of James Brown’s “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing”. This funkdafied track is one I really enjoy.
The musical chemistry between Wellons and Rinovato extends beyond their performance and into their song-writing. Soulful Femme’s “Attitude” is an album soul-blues fans will surely want to hear. They are definitely an act to keep one’s eyes and ears on.
By Phillip Smith