Jo Dee Messina: I Love Christmas!

Not long before Thanksgiving, Jo Dee Messina took time out to chat with CW about her Christmas plans, new tour format in early 2009 and . . . the upcoming birth of her first child . . . as son! Here’s some of what Jo Dee had to say on that blustery November day.

CW
Are you a Christmas Eve kind of family . . . or is the big deal Christmas morning?
JDM
The big deal is the whole season. I’ve been so excited about Christmas that my husband told me . . . because it’s prior to Thanksgiving as we talk today . . . he told me Thanksgiving’s gonna get upset because I’m forgetting all about it. But it’s not true. We do our Thanksgiving Tradition . . . which is the Boulevard Bolt [a Thanksgiving morning charity run in Nashville]. We’re gonna go run the five-mile run down Belle Mead Boulevard.
He makes dinner for Thanksgiving. We’re doing that . . . then we move on to Christmas! The whole season is a big deal. But, usually, Christmas Eve, the family gets together. We open one gift. We have family time then. Then Christmas day, we’ll do presents in the morning, then have a big dinner.
CW
Are you an early shopper . . . do you start buying in July?
JDM
I don’t start that early, but I have already started my Christmas shopping. I don’t wait for the last minute because it gets too crazy then. So I’m pacing myself.
CW
Started playing any music yet for the bambino?
JDM
My music! No I haven’t started walkin’ around with headphones on my stomach yet. [she laughs] My husband’s a big jazz guy, so at some point I’m sure the baby will be totally confused by the musical selections being toted around the house! [she laughs] But I haven’t done that yet. But I listen to everything, so he’s gonna definitely be exposed to all kinds of music.
CW
Favorite Christmas songs? You mentioned Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” earlier . . . what else?
JDM
I’m a junky for the traditional holiday stuff. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” . . . “The Christmas Song” . . . I have a Christmas album called A Joyful Noise . . . which is available online [she laughs]. But I did a lot of my favorites on that . . . traditional holiday songs and things like “Oh Holy Night” and “Silent Night.” The real traditional Christmas music.
CW
Ever been someone who goes to midnight church services . . . or to hear “The Messiah?”
JDM
Seasonal music started on cable stations a week ago . . . they play season music all the time, whether it’s Nat King Cole or Trisha Yearwood . . . you’re gettin’ everything. So I pretty much get in the spirit from now until . . . it’s kind of gross actually (laughs) ‘cause I love Christmas. I’ve said Merry Christmas to my husband every morning for the last three days. He’s like, “Hold on a second!” [she laughs].
CW
How will the [two] dogs react to having a new bambino in the house?
JDM
I can tell you this, and you can see this, they don’t leave me. They’ve been really under my feet the last couple of months. And they’ll fight over who’s sitting closest to me. Bella’s over here and Russell’s over there. But they’re always under my feet. It’s kind of interesting to see. I know they’re very good with my nephew . . . they’re very good with him, and my assistant has a little baby. And they’re very gentle with the baby.
CW
During the shoot earlier, you picked up your guitar and started playing “Heads Carolina.” How cool that you still feel that good about that song, after the thousands of times you’ve done it . . . to pick it up and start playing it spontaneously.
JDM
Oh yeah. All of ‘em. I love ‘em. I think that’s what’s so great about the songs you love. When you record ‘em, they just last forever and you love to record ‘em. I don’t sing in my live shows the songs that I was asked to record by the label or songs that the label made me record in order to release an album. I’ve never had one of those songs be successful for me.
I’ve never had a number one song that I don’t love. I love “Bye Bye,” I love “Lesson in Leavin’,” I love “I’m All Right” I love “Heads Carolina.” And I think that somehow that comes out in the music . . . your love and your passion come out. And I think when I’m tryin’ to sing something that I can’t relate to, it doesn’t fly. It’s never come out great.

For more on Jo Dee Messina, check out the Dec. 29 issue of Country Weekly.

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