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Conya Doss 

Love Rain Down (Moja Music)

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The landfills are littered with retro-R&B CDs as cool and slick as ice -- and just as colorless. But Cleveland's Conya Doss, a schoolteacher turned soul songstress, has found a way to be distinctive in this most indistinct genre. Subtle touches make Doss' third album stand out, from the hints of Steely Dan-sophistication on "Find a Way" to the propulsive bass lines writhing through these dozen tracks. Doss has clear roots in the church, but doesn't oversing, recalling past greats -- Roberta Flack among them -- confident enough in their skills to let the music do the talking.

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