Jo Dee Messina's sophomore effort repeats the formula of her debut: a catchy lead-off single ("Bye Bye"), and a sound that straddles the line between Country and Adult Contemporary.
Messina's voice is fetching, with a brassy, horn-like timbre, but the material she's picked is largely undistinguished. Co-producers TimMcGraw and Byron Gallimore employ drums, piano, electric guitar andstrings that would sound as comfortable backing Celine Dion as they dobehind "Even God Must Get the Blues" and "Because You Love Me." If not for the background steel guitar and Messina's vocal trills, much of this could easily cross over to non-Country radio. Messina shines on a few tracks: her strutting vocal is complemented beautifully by the shuffling tempo and slide guitar of "Lesson in Leavin'," and her stirring reading of "Silver Thunderbird" plays on delicate mandolin, steel and beautiful backing vocals.
The Hot New Country formula worked last time out, and it's alreadypushing this one up the charts. But if Messina wants to create something more long-lasting than a confection, she might start with better songs and producers less prone to HNC-excess.