Mama better dance when Messina’s in Bremerton

One thing you can be sure of when Jim Messina comes to play in your town: You won’t need to pick him up at the airport.

“I’m staying off planes from now on, I think,” Messina said during a recent phone conversation from his recording studio in his home in Franklin, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville. “I’ve caught COVID twice from flying, so I’m keeping my band on the ground.”

Instead of flying the not-so-friendly skies, Messina and his band go by bus.

Once Messina et al get where they’re going — the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, for instance, for a May 18 show that’s part of a five-date Northwest swing — audiences are treated to a repertoire that nods heavily to Messina’s stints in the Buffalo Springfield, Poco and Loggins and Messina, along with his solo catalog.

“It takes a lot of time. I put a lot of thought into it,” Messina said of choosing a setlist. “For me, I look at what songs I’ve found that people just love to hear. I have an obligation to play those songs, I think.”

But Messina also finds time to explore his lesser-known material and have a little workout with his flamenco acoustic guitar.

“I’ve added one new song, ‘Mexican Minutes,’ which I originally wrote for Brooks and Dunn and then recorded on the ‘Watching the River Run’ album,” he said. “I’ve kind of ignored it, but when I played it for the guys, they said we had to put it in, and audiences have really enjoyed it.”

Messina, 75, is still active as a producer and recording engineer in addition to trying to fit in about 10 shows a month. The Northwest swing that includes the Admiral stop is five shows in six days.

“I have to be a little careful with my voice,” he admitted. “Like, with Kenny, I was singing half the songs; now I’m singing all of them. I’ve learned to pace myself a little.”

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show at 515 Pacific Ave., Bremerton, cost from $24-$59. Information: 360-373-6743,

Michael C. Moore is the Arts and Entertainment reporter for The Admiral Theatre Foundation.