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Review and Listening Party

Jo Dee Messina - Delicious Surprise - Curb
Album review by: Cheryl Harvey Hill

Four is apparently a good number for Jo Dee Messina since she is releasing her fourth studio album in four years and she wrote or co-wrote four of the best songs on the album. Like any true blue country artist worth their salt, Messina used her songwriting talents to purge the demons.

The album kicks off with the rebellious "I'm Not Going Down." Messina says that although it is not one of the songs she wrote, the lyrics inspired her and they are reflective of her real life. But it is when the songs get really insightful that she shines. I'd say that ending her long term engagement and putting herself in rehab has not only proven to be ultimately cathartic but also provided her with first class song fodder. She co-wrote on "Love is Not Enough," "Life is Good," and "Where Were You" but my favorite song is the one she wrote alone; "It Gets Better." This is a really beautiful song with an optimistic message about surviving. Messina is clearly not afraid to expose her vulnerability; she delivers this song with so much gravity that you can feel the tears she spent to write it.

She states, about Delicious Surprise, that "rather then talk about what has occurred in her life, she has chosen to sing about it. She’s put together a group of songs that come from her heart, a group of songs that are meant to convey a musical message of optimism, strength and hope."  

Never lacking in spunk, it is appropriate that the first song to be released from the album is the defiant "My Give a Damn's Busted." This song fits the feisty Messina like a pair of custom made Lucchese boots and I, for one, am not at all surprised at either her success or her longevity. It was about a decade ago, my very first time to attend Fan Fair as a country music journalist and I couldn't wait to walk through the very same alley between the Ryman and Tootsies Orchid Lounge where so many legends had walked so many times before. As I neared the back stage entrance to the Ryman, a young, attractive red-head with a generous smile, approached me with her hand out-stretched. "Hi," she said enthusiastically, as she grasped my right hand in both of hers, "I'm Jo Dee Messina and I'm a singer!" As she spied my media lanyard she smiled even broader, "Write this down; Jo. Dee . Mah. Seen. Nah", she carefully enunciated. And then she gestured towards the Ryman. "Some day" she said with firm conviction, "You'll see me coming out that door." She impressed me so much that I did write her name down and I was not the least bit surprised when she became such a huge success.

Prior to her hiatus, she was visibly broken. It's nice to see that she has recovered her spirit but retained her humility. That she is willing to open her heart and let us all take a peek at the scars so we can see for ourselves that she is all healed, illustrates how confident she is about her life now; and rightfully so since “My Give A Damn’s Busted” is the fastest climbing single of her career. We send our congratulations to Messina's good friend, Joe Diffie too, since he was one of the writers on this song

Messina says, “To me, the ‘delicious surprise’ in life is the dreaming, getting there, without limits, without putting up boundaries, just having faith and working hard. Dreams are meant to be followed and if your heart speaks it, then it doesn’t matter how far-fetched it seems. You have to believe.” As I read those words in her bio, my memory flashes back to almost a decade ago on the young girl at the backstage entrance of the Ryman who was clearly following her dream.


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Jo Dee Messina - Delicious Surprise CD track list & Listening Party:
You must have a broadband connection and either Real or Windows Media players. 

1.  Not Going Down   real | win
2.  Someone Else's Life   real | win
3.  Delicious Surprise (I Believe It)   real | win
4.  It Gets Better   real | win
5.  Who's Crying Now   real | win
6.  My Give A Damn's Busted   real | win
7.  It's Too Late To Worry   real | win
8.  Life Is Good   real | win
9.  Love Is Not Enough   real | win
10.  Where Were You   real | win
11.  I Wear My Life   real | win
12.  You Were Just Here   real | win


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Real People Reviews

This album rocks! Jo Dee really comes alive with some of the best stuff ever, because you really hear her SING! I personally loved the first track, "Not Going Down". It should be her best single whenever it comes out.

Great album I really love Not Going Down the first time I heard the CD was when my eight year old Granddaughter brought it over.
~ Becky H.

I love everything Jo Dee does!!! When I first heard "My Give A Damns Busted" I went everywhere trying to find out when and where the CD was going to be Released and I will be there as soon as the store opens on 4/26 to get my copy. It's a great CD!!!


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