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Album Review

It's not like Jo Dee Messina hasn't taken time off before. Other than a holiday album, A Joyful Noise, which appeared in 2002, it was five years of silence between 2000's Burn and 2005's Delicious Surprise, and after that it was another five years before Unmistakable, which appeared in three EP installments in 2010. So Me, showing up early in 2014, just four years removed from the Unmistakable EPs, at least betters the pattern by a year. More importantly, it's her first release since her 17-year contract with Curb Records ended in 2012. Me was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and released by Messina's own newly founded label Dreambound Records, so it's her baby all the way, affording her the kind of creative freedom Curb is hardly known for giving its artists (former labelmate Hank Williams III, whose relationship with Curb was never less than tense and testy, comes immediately to mind). Now that Messina has complete control of her career, in and out of the recording studio, what has she come up with? Well, Me is pretty much made up of what she's always done, a smooth mix of contemporary Nashville country and pure adult pop that rises a notch or two above the mere formulaic because of Messina's feisty attitude and powerful voice. True, there are more rock touches to some of the songs, and there are plenty of snarling, big-sounding electric guitars on these tracks, and a couple of songs like the funk pop "Take It" or the pure pop "He's Messed Up" have no country elements at all, but then none of these would sound too much out of place on a 21st century contemporary country station, either. Arguably two of the best songs, "Love on a Maybe" and "Breakin' It Down," are in the emotional and confessional mode of Taylor Swift, say, but with a little bit more rough edge and grit. "Peace Sign" might not be a great song, but it's affecting and memorable, mostly because of the kiss-off refrain "one finger shy of a peace sign," and the lead single, the driving "A Woman's Rant," gets to the point and pounds it home, and is truly enough of a justifiable rant to make an immediate impression. In a way, Messina is a bridge between traditional country female artists like Dolly Parton or Tammy Wynette and younger contemporary stars like Taylor Swift, retaining the stubborn, don't-mess-with-me country girl image of the former while engaging in the more urban, uptown country girl pop of the latter. It's really what Messina has always done, though, and with the freedom granted Me after her release from Curb, she hasn't changed much, which will comfort her many fans.

Customer Reviews

CAN’T WAIT!

I saw Jo Dee perform a number of these songs live this past summer and every one was fantastic. Can’t wait for this album to be released, it’s been a long time coming and is sure to please fans. “Peace Sign” and “A Woman’s Rant” have been in rotation on my iTunes for months. Love it!

Worth it! Jo Dee at her Best

I have heard the entire album (a perk of her her wildly successful kick starter campaign) and I will tell you right now this album showcases Jo Dee at her best. It comes packed with the kind of music you expect and hope to hear from Jo Dee. Her fiery-red-head style comes bursting through on several songs and makes you want to kick down some doors and tell people exactly what they need to hear (He’s Messed Up, Woman’s Rant). It also carefully balances Jo Dee’s powerful style with some signature softer songs that show the personal side that an album titled ‘Me’ should bring (Like A Kid Again, Me). Then she does a great job on other songs combining the two styles with a rev’d-up-conquer-the-world-and-overcome style (Not Dead Yet). Finally, Peace Sign and Strong Shot of You will prove to be awesome sing-along’s and crowd pleasing performance songs. In short, I highly recommend this album for all Jo Dee Fans - and anyone who appreciates the powerful female country voices that once dominated country music (and will again).

Jo Dee Messina ME Album, IS A HUGE HIT !!!

I have heard Jo Dee sing these songs in concert, but I am also a supporter of the kickstarter project where we got to down load the album already, even though I have it downloaded I went ahead and pre-ordered this album for myself and husband! Jo Dee is an amazing artist and this album shows that she is spirited, talented and also that she is vulnerable. It is really neat to have an artists reach out to her fans and be so human, caring and so grateful for her fans and supports. I highly recommend this album and to go see her in concert, she put on one heck of a show!

Biography

Born: August 25, 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...
Full Bio

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