Backstage News, Front Row Pics

Jo Dee Messina’s Back and Better Than Ever with ME

Jo Dee 1

By Kimberly Dunbar

Jo Dee Messina definitely isn’t dead yet (that’s a statement that will make sense as your read further).  In fact, she’s back with a vengeance, better than ever, with her new album ME, out March 18.

Jo Dee cropIn 2012, Messina cut ties with Curb Records, her home for 17 years. Free from the chains of a contract, Messina set out to create her own label ~ Dreambound Records ~ and to fund an album via a Kickstarter campaign. Thanks to the support of her fans, Messina surpassed her $100,000 goal and was able to make ME, a powerhouse of an album, a musical diary, an honest look into the life of one of country music’s most outspoken and independent women.

I set out to listen to this album a few songs at a time (I had a very busy weekend planned), but once I started I couldn’t stop…so I didn’t (and bet that you won’t be able to, either). I sat transfixed by the 42 minutes of great music. Messina’s album is filled with songs of authority and confidence, clearly a reflection of her new creative freedom. She knows who she is and isn’t afraid of pissing someone off in order to get what she needs and deserves ~ a self-assuredness especially evident on the tracks “Love on a Maybe,” ‘Peace Sign,” and “Breaking it Down.”

Messina opens ME with “Not Dead Yet” (see, told you the opening reference would soon make sense!) and it immediately became one of my new favorite songs. If she were looking to make a statement from right out of the gate, boy did she succeed with this track. Fans of the hit ABC show “Nashville” will compare it to Juliette’s “Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave,” as both songs speak to being prematurely written off by the music community.

Joe Dee Use thisThe song “I’m Free” (the title speaks for itself) is also an anthem that’s very likely a direct reference to ~ or at least heavy influenced by ~ her breakup with Curb Records. As someone who’s recently been through a breakup (with a boy, not a record label), this song immediately won be over and I may or may not have hit repeat a few…or ten… times.  It made my brain happy and the lyrics of the chorus are still enough to make me smile every time I hear the song: “Hey/look at me now I’m flying/ Cuz you ain’t got the best of me/ these wings will take me higher/ than you ever thought I’d be/Yeah look at me/I’m free.” “I’m free” is truly a great, motivating  song about the value of being strong enough to move on and become bigger and better than ever ~ kind of a musical version of the big “F U” we all dream of giving the people who doubt and disrespect us.

Speaking of stupid boys (how’s that for a segue!), “He’s Messed Up” is pretty much written about my ex. If I were friends with Messina, I’d think she wrote this just for me (I get the feeling that Jo Dee would be the kind of BFF who makes sure no loser guy ever disrespects her girls). This track is definitely another anthem for women who’ve been burned ~ but don’t misunderstand, although the lyrics of many of the tracks on ME might resonate with females in particular, the music throughout the entire album will appeal to both genders because, simply put, it’s pretty damn remarkable…and rockin’.

Jo Dee a Womans RantMessina shows a softer side with “Me” and “Goodbye to Superman” ~ the two slower songs on the album. The tracks “Me” and “A Woman’s Rant” deal with women’s empowerment in a way that will strike the right chord with female fans as they are about women who have to wear many hats (teacher, mother, wife, employee, etc.). “Me” is filled with raw emotion and you can sense Messina’s struggle to find herself and maintain her identity amidst the chaos in life.

Folks who donated to Messina’s Kickstarter campaign to help make this album happen will definitely get their money’s worth. ME, although seemingly cathartic for the singer, is really Messina’s gift to them, a thank you for supporting her through the years. ME is certainly going to win her an even larger and more diverse fan base, all of whom will be, just like I am, very glad that this musical dynamo is not dead yet…and not only isn’t she dead, but I think she’s just getting started on the best part of her career…


 Download ME on iTunes HERE or pick it up on HERE.  

Find out more about Jo Dee and stay up-to-date on news at these sites:


  1. I’m very happy that the public is now getting to hear the music and album that us Kickstarter backers have been listening to since late last year! It’s such a great country album and Jo Dee is at her best back song writing and recording songs that the fans will actually get to hear.

  2. Great review! I’m a backer and so proud of Jo Dee! She really outdid herself!!! I can’t stop playing the cd over and over…..