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Jo Dee Messina

A Joyful Noise – 2002 (Curb)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Jo Dee Messina

Jo Dee Messina recorded this album live in front of a full orchestra, and as a result, the singing is less polished than it might have been if they had done half a dozen takes. It works well - Messina's singing has a refreshingly imperfect quality. Due to its bouncy, cheerful arrangement and Messina's energetic performance and giggle at the end, "Sleigh Ride" is a standout.

On the other hand, the slower songs drag a bit - Messina just doesn't have the voice to carry a song like "The Christmas Song," for example. Even though the album is largely comprised of Christmas standards, it also includes two new songs that ratchet up the tempo. "Keep the Faith" is particularly interesting - the lyric is generic feel-good stuff, but Messina digs in and gives a strong performance of this country-gospel number. This album is certainly not a must-have, but it would be an acceptable addition to a country fan's collection.