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Unmistakable Love

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Album Review

Jo Dee Messina has been absent from the recording scene for six years, but that’s not her fault. She released the single "Biker Chick" in 2007 from a forthcoming album entitled Unmistakable. It reached number 48 and stayed on the charts for nine weeks before the album was shelved and the single pulled. In 2008, she released the single "I'm Done," also from Unmistakable. It reached number 34, but once more her label delayed the release of the album. At the beginning of 2009, she released "Shine," which failed to chart, and the release of the album was shelved. Messina tried one more time with a single called "That’s God" in January of 2010. It failed to enter the chart and the album's released was finally canceled altogether. Unmistakable is now a trilogy of extended EPs and finally seeing the light of day. The first part of the trilogy, entitled Unmistakable: Love (the other two are Unmistakable: Drive and Unmistakable: Inspiration), clocks in at a little over 33 minutes, and contains seven album cuts as well as a pair of live bonus tracks. While none of the aforementioned singles appear on the first part of Unmistakable (they will on the two later installments), the songs on Love are unified in their views of love and show a different side of the party-girl image that Messina gave off in the first part of the decade. She co-wrote two of the set's tracks, and co-produced about half of it. The songs are mature and of a piece; they look at the redemptive power of love in all its facets from the union between partners ("Hard Life," the title track, "Welcome to the Rest of My Life") to the ending of one kind of relationship with a person and being grateful for what remains once wounds are healed ("Always Have, Always Will" and "I Think About Us"). Messina's fans haven’t seen this side of her before on record, but that hardly matters; she's true to herself musically and the vision here is uplifting, one of resolve, transition, survival, and transformation. Unmistakable: Love is seamless in its execution and emotional honesty.


Born: 25 August 1970 in Framingham, MA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Part of country music's late-'90s crop of female crossover stars, Jo Dee Messina's appeal nonetheless remained more with country fans than pop audiences. Messina was born August 25, 1970, in Framingham, Massachusetts, and grew up in nearby Holliston. She sang in musical plays starting at age eight but discovered country music at age 12 and got hooked on the likes of the Judds, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton. She soon started performing live, and by 16 she was playing local clubs with a rhythm section...
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Unmistakable Love, Jo Dee Messina
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