Almost two years after Jo Dee Messina began working on her third album, Burn, Curb Records hosted a party Wednesday (June 28) at Palmer Place on Nashville’s Cannery Row to celebrate its anticipated release Aug. 1. With strains of the new music playing in the background, Messina said the new record reflects her musical and personal growth.
“From when we started to when we finished seemed like an eternity,” she told country.com. “I tried to have it contain songs that I could relate to, and it seems to show, I think, some kind of progression musically and lyrically. I was at a different place when we recorded this record than I was when we recorded the I’m Alright album.”
The album’s first single, “That’s the Way,” is at No. 13 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles chart. The tune was written especially with Messina in mind and was one of the last cut for the record, during what she and co-producer Byron Gallimore call the “magic session.”
“Songwriters Holly Lamar and Annie Roboff had read about the trials and tribulations that I had gone through before the I’m Alright record,” Messina said. “I thought my career was starting, then boom! I had three songs stiff at radio. ['That's the Way'] kinda reflects what I’ve been through in my life, so I latched onto it right away.”
The Country Music Association’s reigning Horizon Award winner also confirmed that her other co-producer, Tim McGraw, lent his voice to a new track called “Bring on the Rain.” She said the song is about “finding hope in the darkest hour.”
“I loved the song, and Tim loved it so much because I think we can both relate to hard times,” she said. “So we’re in the studio doing tracks, and Tim comes in. He’s goofing around and kinda sings background with me, and somebody goes, ‘Man, you should sing on the record.’ I’m crossing my fingers going, ‘Oh, that would be cool’ while I’m really thinking ‘Oh please, oh please!’ I’m like praying every night, and he did. He blessed my record with his vocal.”
The team of McGraw and Gallimore also produced I’m Alright, which sold 2 million copies and yielded the No. 1 singles “I’m Alright,” “Stand Beside Me” and “Bye Bye.” During the party for Burn, Messina’s manager, Stuart Dill, recognized the success of the last album by handing the singer a small, wrapped package. As Messina pulled a set of car keys from the box, Dill told the crowd that he, McGraw, Curb Records President Mike Curb and music publisher Cal Turner III had chipped in to buy her a 1957 silver Thunderbird. The gesture was a reference to the cut “Silver Thunderbird” from I’m Alright. The car was parked inside a tent next to the building, and most of the guests rushed outside with Messina to take a look.
“I’m afraid to touch it,” she screamed. She then promptly climbed inside, honked the horn and turned on the radio.
Although Burn won’t be in stores until Aug. 1, Messina already has been out promoting it. While on tour with the Judds, she visited more than 60 country radio stations to offer a preview. Messina also has landed a national tour sponsor for next year, though she won’t reveal it yet.
“So next year, when I go out, I’m going to be able to carry production and put on a big show and be able to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing on the big stages,” she said. “I just want to grow as an entertainer and, ultimately, I want my career to make a difference.”