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Jessica Simpson Earns Rave Reviews for Debut Country Album, 'Do You Know'

From 1999 to 2006, Jessica Simpson recorded four pop albums that together sold more than 14 million copies worldwide. Last year, she reached back to her Texas roots to begin work on her first Country album. VOA's Mary Morningstar has this report.

"Come On Over" is the first single from Jessica Simpson's Number One debut Country album, Do You Know. The track was a Top 20 Country hit in the U.S. and Canada, and also made a minor showing on the pop charts.

Jessica co-wrote eight of the 11 songs on her new album. She collaborated with some of the Nashville's most prominent songwriters, including Hillary and Chris Lindsey, Troy Verges and Rachel Proctor. One of Jessica's musical icons, Dolly Parton, also approached her with some tunes. She says Dolly didn't feel her first batch of songs measured up to those that Jessica had already recorded for the project.

"She had a handful of songs for me and I played my record for her," Jessica explained. "She said, 'Oh these songs aren't good enough. I have to go write [another] one.' So, she went and wrote 'Do You Know,' and then I was blessed to have her actually sing on the track with me."

Jessica joins a growing list of pop singers who have moved into the Country field. She lists Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain and Faith Hill among the Country stars that have inspired her musically. Jessica explains that Country music has always been a part of her life.

"I've always been a fan of Country music," she said, "and growing up in Texas, I've always been surrounded by Country music. I definitely look up to people like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson. Country's always been the heart of who I am."

Jessica first collaborated with Nashville songwriters in 2003 while she was working on her third pop album. But, her label rejected the tunes because they felt they sounded too Country.

Last year, after announcing plans to make a Country album, some within the Country industry expressed criticism.

"Coming to Nashville and to Country music was both a test and a leap of faith for me, Jessica admits. "But in this place of honesty and trust and hope, I've discovered so many things I left behind along the way. I've come back to who I was growing up. I believe if you follow your heart and be quiet, you will find the answers, you will find yourself. I found myself in this record."

Jessica Simpson's new single is "Remember That."