Jo Dee Messina Takes Her ‘Music Room’ on the Road
Jo Dee Messina has packed up the music room of her Franklin, Tenn. home and brought it on the road to set the tone of her new laid back, all-request tour. The stage set up includes a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, floor lamps, three curtains and four suspended window frames, which resemble those in the songstress' abode. Oh, and then there's a piano and four musicians with an array on instruments.
"I was in Florida and a fan said something to which I responded, 'That would hurt my feelings,'" Jo Dee explains to The Boot. "The girl said, 'You get your feelings hurt? I figured with 'Bye Bye' and 'Lesson in Leavin'' that nothing phases you.' It made me realize the fans know my music but they don't know me: the person. Let's invite them over and just talk back and forth."
Last week's show in Cerritos, Calif. started with the upbeat, 'I'm Alright,' before diving head first into the Q&A. Jo Dee kept the crowd laughing as she answered everything from "Are you single?" -- which caused the singer to look at her wedding ring and then the soundboard where her husband Chris was working before saying, "Well honey, I thought you did good." -- to "What's your favorite song and what car would you compare it to?" The latter inquiry was enough the stump the singer, who noted it as a first.
"We love not knowing what's coming up next," Jo Dee tells The Boot. "We use the floor monitors instead of the in-ears so we can hear the audience. It sounds different and it hits your ear different, so I have to adjust."
That being said, it didn't take long for the audience to adjust to the new format. Hands raised quickly as each attendee yearned for their moment with the singer and their chance to have her grant their request. As they asked, Jo Dee and her band obliged, going from No. 1 hit 'Stand Beside Me,' to "That's God,' which can only be purchased online, to the unreleased 'Paper Airplanes.'
"A lot of times they ask for ballads and they keep asking for songs like 'Bring on the Rain,' 'Because You Love Me,' 'Unmistakable,'" Jo Dee says. "During my live show, we usually go out and rock the house from beginning to end, only slowing it down once for a ballad. People at the Music Room shows just keep asking for the ballads, which always surprises me. You don't want to hear the rockin' stuff?"
The Southern California crowd asked for all the hits, ballads and uptempo, and even a few lesser-known album tracks like 'Silver Thunderbird' from the 1998 'I'm Alright' album.
Jo Dee shared multiple stories with the crowd including a recent incident that took place on the band's drive to California. "We're at this restaurant in the middle of the desert, and some guy comes up to me and asks, 'Anyone ever tell you that you look just like Jo Dee Messina?' I said, 'Every day.' [laughs] Then he goes, 'You're the spitting image of her,' and walked out. Then the lady behind the counter asks, 'You her?' and I said, 'He didn't ask that ... I just answered his question [laughs]."
The crowd was very appreciative and thanked Jo Dee numerous times. Nothing like a previous experience Jo Dee experienced on this tour. "We threw a girl out one time because she was so drunk she was bugging everybody," the singer shares. "She stood up and yelled 'You're getting me thrown out of here?' and I was like 'Yes I am. Bye bye now.' Then the audience and I sang "Bye Bye' to her."
In addition to the unique concert experience, Jo Dee has also been offering fans the chance to win a ticket to her soundcheck before each show via Twitter. Those who follow @jodeemessina can tweet the singer a photo of their ticket with the hash tag of which show their attending to enter. Details may be found here.
At the Cerritos soundcheck, Jo Dee entered the stage with her year-and-a-half-old son, Noah, who pleased the 15 or so attendees with his mic testing abilities. "Test," he said into the mic. "Check, 1, 2." After singing a few songs, Jo Dee took questions such as "Are you still working with Tim McGraw?" Her response cited both of the singer's busy schedules: "Tim produced all of my records until this last one, and we may work together again, but the scheduling is brutal."
Jo Dee's next Music Room stops are October 19 in Bend, Oregon and October 21 in Edmonds, Washington. She can also be seen at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium next week (October 29) when she performs at the Evening Under the Star Party, benefiting St. Jude Children's Hospital. Details can be found here, with a full list of Jo Dee's tour dates here.