Grateful to be back; Messina returns for fifth Country Concert appearance


By Jim Davis

For the Miami Valley Today

FORT LORAMIE — Don’t be shocked if Jo Dee Messina sheds a tear or two when she returns to Fort Loramie.

She’s grown pretty fond of the place — and the fans — over the years.

The country singer said she carries fond memories of performing on the main stage at Country Concert — her first appearance was more than 20 years ago at the 1999 show — and every trip back has been like a homecoming.

“The last time I was up there (2018) they made me cry,” said Messina, who will help close out the 40th anniversary concert with a 4 p.m. performance Saturday, July 10. “They were singing my lyrics so loud. There are times when we’re caught up in our own worlds and own bubbles, and I forget sometimes that there are so many people who know my music. They started singing so loud … and I just lost it.”

Saturday’s appearance will be the fifth Fort Loramie show by the singer, whose string of hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s helped elevate her to country music stardom.

“Heads Carolina, Tails California” took radio by storm in 1996, while songs such as “I’m Alright,” “Bye Bye,” and “Stand By Me” became her first three songs to top the Billboard Country Chart. She followed those up with three more No. 1s — “That’s The Way,” “Bring On The Rain” and “My Give a Damn’s Busted” and thrilled fans with energetic live shows.

While many of those songs came out years ago, the 50-year-old Massachusetts native said it’s gratifying fans continue to embrace them.

“There’s a lot of music that is timeless. I never guessed it would be mine, but there are songs that kids are singing and the songs are older than the child singing it,” she said, pausing to let out a laugh. “Sometimes I see little kids with signs and think … you weren’t even born when that song came out.”

All of it makes her incredibly thankful.

“I just keep saying ‘gratitude’ … the fact that I get to do this for a living and the people are so kind,” she said. “It could be anybody else in the world, but it’s me (they’re watching) so I don’t ever forget that.”

Messina will be the second act on the main stage Saturday as Country Concert wraps up its 40th anniversary show. She’ll follow Deana Carter’s 2 p.m. set, with Hardy (6 p.m.), Chase Rice (8 p.m.) and headliner Jason Aldean (10 p.m) closing out the night.

And, in case you’re wondering, Messina said she absolutely intends to stick around and watch Aldean’s set.

“We’ll bring out the hits people know, share a couple stories and a couple of new songs … then anxiously await seeing Jason Aldean perform!” she said.

“We’re going to have lots of fun. We come to town with a grateful spirit and attitude, and we’re really happy to be coming there again,” Messina continued. “They’ve been kind to me over the years, and it’s not something I take for granted. We have a blast every time we’re there.”

And perhaps shed a tear or two in the process.

To catch up on the latest news and information about Jo Dee Messina, visit her website at For details about Country Concert, go to

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