Jo Dee Messina

August 17, 2000

Jo Dee Messina

Nashville's little sister is a big sister to her fans

By JIM PATTERSON / Associated Press Writer
138th Great Frederick Fair

Friday, Sept. 15, through Saturday, Sept. 23

Frederick Fairgrounds

Frederick, Md.

Friday, Sept. 15: 4-H royalty contest, Family of the Year announcement, 7 p.m. Free.

Sunday, Sept. 17: Jo Dee Messina, 7 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $23 and $25.

Monday, Sept. 18: Tractor pull, 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 and $10.

Tuesday, Sept. 19: Sawyer Brown, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $16, $20 and $22.

Wednesday, Sept. 20: Demolition derby, 7 p.m. Tickets cost $8 and $10.

Thursday, Sept. 21: Kenny Chesney, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $16, $20 and $22.


Friday, Sept. 22: Loretta Lynn, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $23 and $25.

Saturday, Sept. 23: George Jones, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $23 and $25.

Ticket prices do not include $4 admission to fairgrounds and $1 per-ticket handling fee.

For information, call 1-301-663-5895.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In Music City's extended family, Jo Dee Messina is the little sister.

She's plucky and likable, but insecure about measuring up to Shania Twain and Faith Hill, her slightly older, more glamorous counterparts.

"Confidence is definitely not a word that I would use in describing myself," said Messina, 29. "I'm fashion illiterate. I don't see myself as glamorous."

But she had more radio airplay than any other female country artist in 1999, according to Billboard magazine, and she's sold more than 2 million copies of her latest album, "I'm Alright."

In addition, Messina is one of the nominees for best female vocalist at this year's Country Music Association awards. Hill, Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack and Trisha Yearwood have also been nominated. The winners will be announced in October.

Messina believes she has earned her success by the sweat of her brow.

"There's never a day that goes by that I don't think, 'I got to work, I got to work.' "

Perhaps that's why Messina's music is dotted with as many positive-thinking bromides as the songs of Clint Black, whose hits include "No Time to Kill" and "Something That We Do."

Her new album "Burn" is filled with advice and encouragement for her young fans - and herself. On "Dare to Dream," she urges everyone to "seize the day." On "These Are the Days," she warns against letting time slip away. And she offers advice to a promiscuous teenager on "Angeline."

"Someone did a survey, and they said 70 percent of my fans are 25 and under," Messina said. " 'Angeline' is like a big sister going, 'OK, you're in this, but I want you to know this isn't the real thing. This is not as good as it gets.' "

Like self-help books, the lyrics Messina chooses to record are sometimes full of clichs. On one stretch of the hit single "That's the Way," she offers them one after the other: "That's the way it is/You got to roll with the punches/That's the way it goes/You got to bend when the wind blows/You live you learn/You crash and burn/It's hit or miss/That's the way it is."

The saving graces are Messina's obvious sincerity, and crisp, gorgeous pop productions, courtesy of mentors Tim McGraw and Byron Gallimore. The three became friends a decade ago.

Messina, a native of rural Holliston, Mass., moved to Nashville in 1990 after years as a club singer. She met McGraw through producer Gallimore, and the singer helped her get signed to Curb Records.

Curb wouldn't pay for an entire album, she said, so McGraw put up the money with the provision that Curb would reimburse him if executives liked the results.

"He was betting on me," Messina said. "He'd only had a couple of hits at the

time, and he believed that much in me to risk his own financial security."

The 1996 "Jo Dee Messina" album contained a No. 1 hit, "Heads Carolina, Tails California." But the singer was close to bankruptcy two years later when a second album was delayed while she looked for songs to record.

"Between the first and the second album, all I felt was pressure," she said. "I kept thinking, 'I got to get it done, I got to get it done, I got to get food on the table.' ... Since we got five singles out of the 'I'm Alright' album, it gave me more time without that pressure."

In October, Messina will stop touring temporarily - her first real break in five years - and then return next year for her first headline tour.

"It's just become a big joke that I never take a day off," she said. "There's never a point where you can say, 'OK, it's smooth sailing now.'

"If you want something, you've got to work for it. I just keep working."

Jo Dee Messina's Web site is:

The Web site for the Country Music Association awards is

The Herald-Mail Articles