Country singer Jo Dee Messina wasted no time getting the audience into a festive mood during concert Saturday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
She opened her show with a chorus of "Let It Snow."
After that, she tried hard to keep the show upbeat as she presented her "Music Room Series," which consisted of fielding questions from the audience, introducing her 2-year-old son, and, of course, singing her songs.
Although she's an awesome entertainer, the setup fell a little flat at times as people in the audience, instead of asking questions, shared their personal stories and periodically interrupted to get autographs.
After the intro holiday song, she went into the hits "Heads Carolina, Tails California" and "I'm Alright."
Then it was about 10 or 15 minutes of chatting with the audience.
She explained that the reason for the Music Room Series is, "We wanted to find a way to tour the country so people could get to know me as a person, not as a band."
She added that she will be releasing a new single in early 2012 and will be hosting a talk show on TV in October or November.
The first question an audience member asked was, "Are you going to be doing a podcast again?"
She responded that the previous podcasts were done from her residence, and seemed unsure if this was going to be brought back.
Messina was asked, "What's your favorite song?"
Someone in the audience yelled, "Bring on the Rain."
She gave the crowd a whimsical look and responded, "Not today," alluding to the fact that it was pouring outside just before the concert began, making it a wet trek from the parking lot to the auditorium.
Later, when she sang "Bring on the Rain," it obviously got a great reception. The song was one of her biggest hits.
She responded to the original question that her favorite song changes, depending on her mood.
One woman asked her, "Are you a fan of Carol Burnett?"
She said she was too young and doesn't remember Burnett.
"Did you ever release the song "Biker Chick?" someone asked.
She said she did, but the record label deemed it was a song which gave the wrong impression, so they pulled it. It was only out for about two weeks.
She then sang the song, which got her rousing applause.
Messina was backed by a four-piece band. The set consisted of a sofa and chair and a lamp.
A friend of Messina was holding her son in the balcony, so the singer called them to the stage.
Although Messina wanted Noah to say a few words, the toddler proved to be too shy.
Messina then sang the song "Paper Airplane," which she said she often sang to Noah.
She said she always had dreams of being a singer. She added that you must remember "who you are and where you came from. To put your family first is the most important thing."
Another time during the show, she spoke about bullying. She told the story about a youngster who was bullied and committed suicide, and the students who did the bullying bragged about it.
"I personally believe those kids should be brought up for murder," she said.
Messina said she was really quiet in school. She didn't hang out with a clique. Going to reunions and seeing some of classmates years later, she said, "It's like the uglies on the inside came to the outside."
"You're perfect just the way you are," she addressed to the youngsters who attended.
The Massachusetts native, now living in Nashville, proceeded to sing the song "I Like Me."
Although some of the show was spent chatting with the audience, she didn't disappoint with her singing, going through every one of her hits including "Stand Beside Me," "My Give a Damn's Busted," "That's the Way," "Burn," and "Lesson in Leaving."