Multi-Platinum Country megastar Jo Dee Messina, one of my fave vocalists of all time, has an uncanny ability to make the listener relate to her songs with ease – it’s something about her dynamic set of pipes and her stellar songwriting skills through which she bares her soul and keeps it real.
Back in the day, Messina was a part of the crossover brigade of Country-Pop vocalists of the 90’s who dominated the Billboard Charts – along with Leanne Rimes, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack, Faith Hill and Shania Twain. Country Radio boosted them, American Top 40 accepted them, and in the latter half of the 90’s, it was impossible to find a chart without one of the many crossover Country chanteuses charting high. It was probably Leanne Rimes who opened the floodgates with ‘How Do I Live‘, her record-breaking smash from the soundtrack ‘Conair‘. Times were good back then!
Along with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood, Messina’s music has been my escapism while growing up. Dating back to her very first release, the now-iconic ‘Heads Carolina, Tails California‘ – an infectious ode to being in love and making your own rules – that eventually became a milestone for a career that spans for almost 2 decades, Messina has notched six # 1 singles top the Billboard Country Songs Chart and five albums that have been certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum.
Messina’s back with her latest studio album ‘Me‘ – released independently earlier in March this year to rave reviews – and yet for some absurd reason, Country Radio seems to be completely ignoring/avoiding the same female vocalists who were key players in making Country music a household name globally, a point echoed by most of the leading ladies of Country today, namely Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift and newbie Kacey Musgraves. Irrespective of the latter vocalists easily triumphing over their male counterparts both in terms of sales and crossover radio success (and accolades, as seen in this year’s Grammy’s with Kacey Musgraves ruling the show), Country airplay charts show no signs of these vocalists (both old and new) anywhere near the top 10.
Time for them to re-think their chart rules maybe? I’ve seriously had enough of truckers ruling the roost atop the charts, talking about nothing much but drinking beer. Fascinating.
‘Heads Carolina, Tails California‘ eventually peaked at # 2 on the Billboard Country Charts back in 1996, and pushed Messina’s self-titled début album past the half a million sales mark, earning the album a Gold certification by the RIAA.
Easily, one of my favorite songs of all time!
If you’ve enjoyed listening to artists like Leanne Rimes, Faith Hill and Martina McBride – Jo Dee Messina’s for you. Especially her albums ‘Burn‘, ‘I’m Alright‘ and her self titled début effort.
Check out the Roger Pistole-directed video for the feisty ‘Heads Carolina, Tails California‘ right here :