Rising out of the ashes of the hugely popular former Hampton Roads group, Mermaids in the Basement -- The Storyweavers formed after lead singer Sheela Fortner decided she wasn't ready to hang the mic up quite yet and set out playing shows with a newfound acoustic guitarist: Linda Gale Poole. The band rocked Slover Library this weekend in downtown Norfolk with a special appearance.
While MITB was a full on rock and roll experience, The Storyweavers are a more stripped down, laid back affair. Poole provides the musical backbone of the songs, while Fortner brings an earthy soulfulness infused with a bluesy, folk tradition.
It took little time for the pair to lure more Mermaids out of retirement in the form of ASL performance artist Jennifer McLaughlin and former bassist Beth Whyle. The group has deep roots in the local community, regularly pulling in audiences of a size that turns younger bands green. A Storyweavers concert more often than not will witness other local luminaries stepping in for a song or two, as evidenced in the case of this specific show with Regina Scott Sanford stepping up to the mic.
This is the kind of band that's easy to take for granted -- the level of musicianship going on here is deceptive in its suggestion of simplicity, but it takes quite a lot of talent and work to blend Americana with Folk or Blues and make the end result seem so effortless -- The Storyweavers never fail to put on a great show, and you should definitely check them out if you have the opportunity. The group plays out regularly and can be heard again this coming Friday in Hampton at the Grey Goose, and two weeks later in Norfolk at the Starving Artist Cafe.
A 12 song EP, entitled Fallen Sparrow, has been recorded at the SoniQual Studio with 'Who We Are Not" centerpiece, Joe Talley and is due out later this Spring. You're likely going to hear more and more about this supremely talented group of women.