CONYA DOSS: A Poem About Ms. Doss (Label: Dome)

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CONYA DOSS: A Poem About Ms. Doss

This is Conya Doss’s fourth Dome release, but the album is actually the Cleveland-based singer’s very first album. She recorded it back in 2002 and for all kinds of reasons it never won an official European release. Those who were lucky enough to grab a listen knew that in Conya they’d discovered a wonderful new talent, who, like the very best, real soul singers, showed no fear in baring herself emotionally. Now, thanks to a new licensing agreement with Dome, we can all enjoy the LP which despite its introspective titling will make connections with anyone who finds emotional rewards and/or solace in the music they choose to listen to. Flavour-wise the 15 tracker will, I think, remind you of Lauryn Hill’s debut set. Indeed, Ms. Doss name checks the ex-Fugee in her credits but she also admits that people like Jill Scott, India.Arie and Mary J Blige were all big influences, and listen – not even too hard – and you can hear shades of each of them on various cuts. But the lady has her own strong identity, best shown on the cover of Michael Henderson/Norman Connors’ ‘Starship’. Undaunted by the song’s pedigree, she offers a new twist and makes it her own. It’s one of the LP’s best cuts and like ‘You Really Hurt Me’, ‘Good Good’ and ‘Heaven’, it’s unmissable. The first of that trio samples Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Give Me Your Love’ and it has a haunting quality just like the best of the Gentle Genius; the second is a tight beater and proves that nu/neo soul doesn’t always have to be languid; and the third is an uplifting ballad duet with Tommy “Zero” Johnson that has a real partnership connection … it’s full of old school soul values. Indeed though ‘A Poem About Ms. Doss’ was labelled “nu-soul” rather than “classic” back in 2002, with time it has transcended that pigeon-holing; now you can enjoy it for what it is – a very good soul album.
(BB) 4/5