It Is Well With My Soul is the title of the initial album by the group now called Soulful Femme, which was “born out of the need to interpret blues, funk, rock and jazz our way…” according to Stevee Wellons and Cheryl Rinovato, the dynamic female duo that created it. The record reached #2 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Soul Blues Album Chart, immediately upon its release in June 2021. Apart from the title hymn arrangement, the album features all original songs.
Vocalist Stephanie Wellons, a.k.a. Stevee Wellons, has been performing in the Pittsburgh tri-state area for the last 25 years and is known for her high energy level on stage. She has performed with numerous area bands and currently teaches and coaches voice for the Community College of Allegheny County at multiple campuses. Formerly, she taught at the prestigious Afro-American Institute (AAMI). An experienced recording artist as well, Stevee has recorded in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago and Baltimore. The Stevee Wellons Band won the 2015 Blues Society of Western PA’s Blues Challenge and represented Western PA at the 2016 International Blues Challenge.
Guitarist/vocalist Cheryl Rinovato double-majored in Applied Music and Arranging and Composition at the famed Berklee College of Music, and began her musical career as a studio musician working throughout New England. Since moving to Pittsburgh, Cheryl has pursued her career with numerous area bands and has done extensive studio work. She is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Jim Weber Award, given to blues guitarist of the year. She is also endorsed by Delaney, the custom guitar maker out of Austin, Texas, with two signature guitar models on the market.
After meeting six years ago at a women in blues show, they found they had a mutual desire to work together. Serendipitously, it also turned out that the backing band for that event was willing to jump onboard, providing an expanded sound when venues allow. Thus, Soulful Femme was born.
By Dan Walsh