Rome

Rome

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Smooth, contemporary R & B, with no new twists but a lot of heart-- that's what newcomer Rome doles out in plentiful portions on his self-titled debut. This Michigan native cites Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke as two major influences, and it shows. Slow jams rule here, with tunes like "I Belong to You" and "Crazy Love" showcasing Rome's strong, gospel-inflected voice.

Like many current soul/R & B singers, Rome eschews set melodies in favor of a more spontaneous, improvisational style. Basically, he sets down a groove and jams over it, stretching his formidable range to the utmost. The songs are about l-o-v-e, plain and simple, and Rome sings its praises with a barely-contained, raw sensuality. He even pulls off a fine remake of Bobby Womack's '70s classic, "That's The Way I Feel About Cha." This disc takes no chances musically, but if that "Quiet Storm" formula is what you're after, a trip to Rome may be just the ticket.

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