Harrington-bound Jo Dee Messina keeping the faith

Country music artist Jo Dee Messina will play Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall, as part of its Live On Stage series, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. After that concert, she will take a break from touring to undergo cancer treatment. (Submitted photo)

HARRINGTON — Country singer Jo Dee Messina will bring her string of hits and more to Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall as part of its Live on Stage series Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.

Since breaking onto the music scene in 1996 with the hit “Heads Carolina, Tales California,” Ms. Messina, 47, has had nine No. 1 songs, including “I’m Alright,” Bring On The Rain” with Tim McGraw, “That’s The Way,” “Bye Bye” and “My Give A Damn’s Busted,” as well as 16 Top 40 singles.

She has scored three No. 1 albums, sold more than 5 million albums and won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Female Artist of the Year Award in 1999.

Following the Harrington date, she will take a break from touring to undergo cancer treatment this fall.

A Facebook message on Sept. 6 read in part:

“It has been a trying summer, but her heart has been filled with gratitude for the many opportunities she has had to see God’s hand at work.

“As many of you know, Jo Dee is a believer who feels blessed to be surrounded by the love of God — a love that has brought her the inner peace. On her lowest of low days, she has been able to see God’s hand at work and feel His love as she continues her walk.

“It is because of our Father’s love that she has been able to find the beauty in the days that could have brought her the most fear, gratitude in moments that most would call unfair, and companionship during times she might feel the loneliest.

“We don’t know anything specific regarding the treatment plan at this point, but Jo Dee is working closely with a team to explore all options.”

While she preferred to let that statement about her condition speak for itself, she did answer other questions via e-mail regarding her future, fans and faith:

Do you anticipate still writing during your time away?

“I’m always writing. I have been working with producer Seth Mosley and wrote a song with him and Mia Fieldes (called) ‘Here,’ which you might have seen on my Facebook page.”

I know you’ve been working on a new album “Masquerade.” How’s that been going? Where do you put it among the others that you’ve recorded?

“We are currently working on a recording situation and are figuring out what songs could be a part of that project. Where it ranks among the others will depend on the magic of whoever decides to take this project on.”

How did “Here” come about and what do you hope people take from it?

“I had my first writing session with Seth Mosley and Mia Fieldes and Mia came in with the idea. It couldn’t have come to me at a better time. The most important thing I hope people take away from the song is that with God’s love, you are never alone. When we take the time to just ‘be’ with Him, we see there is no bigger love than God’s love for us.”

Will folks in Harrington hear you sing it on stage along with other songs from “Masquerade”?

“I have been singing it lately and I have been getting a lot of requests from people who have heard it online.”

We spoke three years ago prior to your last show in Delaware at Dover Downs Casino and, back then, your fans had just helped you with a Kickstarter for the album “Me.” You’ve always had such a close relationship with your fans. Have you heard from a lot of them lately?

“My fans have reached out in many ways lately, and, as always, they are incredibly supportive. I am so grateful.”

The statement that your team put out talked about you attending classes at The King’s University? What are you studying and why did you decide to take classes in the first place?

“Theology and Ministries. I enrolled in classes to enrich my relationship with the Lord and to have better understanding of His word.”

Finally, anything else you’d like to say to the fans who have supported you all these years?

“Always that I am grateful and their support is never taken for granted. It’s appreciated and always makes for a fun show.”

Tickets for the concert are $44 and can be purchased online at www.harringtonraceway.com, by calling 888-887-5687, Ext. 5246 or stopping by the Casino Gift Shop.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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