Jo Dee Messina's Latest Tops New Country Releases

Singer offers follow-up to I'm Alright; new LPs due from Bill and Bonnie Hearne, Chris LeDoux.

NASHVILLE — New sets from singer Jo Dee Messina and Americana duo Bill and Bonnie Hearne lead the album releases for Tuesday.

Chris LeDoux's appropriately named theme album Cowboy (Capitol Nashville) is also on the way, as are two compilations — Doggone Country and Fire on the Banjo.

Messina hopes Burn (Curb Records) will build on the success of her previous album, I'm Alright, which spawned three consecutive multiple-week #1 hits — "Bye Bye," "I'm Alright" and "Stand Beside Me."

The first single from Burn, "That's the Way" (RealAudio excerpt), was written for Messina and parallels her career's ups and downs over the past few years. The song holds the #7 slot this week on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

"These Are the Days," also penned with Messina in mind, details her successful struggle with financial woes that struck between her first hit, "Heads Carolina, Tails California," and her sophomore LP, I'm Alright. Other notable tracks on Burn include "Bring on the Rain," on which co-producer Tim McGraw sings backup, the title track and "Downtime."

Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith and Jerry Jeff Walker are among the many country and folk artists who laud Bill and Bonnie Hearne, a pioneering duo who meld country, blues, folk and gospel.

The Hearnes release their latest effort, Watching Through the Windshield, on Tuesday through Back Porch Music, the label that released The I-10 Chronicles — featuring Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Joe Ely, the Hearnes and others — a few months back.

Watching Through the Windshield contains 13 songs dedicated to driving, with the legendary Buck Owens appearing on "King of Fools" and Cousin Lovers helping on the title cut. Other selections on the album include "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me," "Drifters Wind" and "Paint the Town Beige."

LeDoux, whom Garth Brooks often cites as an influence, re-records 11 of his 1970s hits for the Cowboy collection. "He Rides the Wild Horses," "A Cowboy's Got To Ride," "I'm Country" and "Ten Seconds in the Saddle" are a few of the album's highlights. LeDoux's 20 Greatest Hits was released in June 1999. That album features collaborations with Brooks, Jon Bon Jovi, Charlie Daniels and Toby Keith and has no overlapping cuts with the new compilation.

Other albums bowing this week include Doggone Country, which features various artists such as Grandpa Jones, singing about dogs, and Fire on the Banjo, with several bluegrass pickers revamping "Dueling Banjos," "Get Back," "We Can Work It Out" and other tunes.