Have you ever just met someone and felt like you were long-time friends with them? That's what it felt like when I recently met Joey Martin and Rory Feek, the husband and wife duo known as Joey+Rory. When presented with the opportunity to meet with the duo, I jumped at the chance to meet them at Marcy Jo's Mealhouse, the restaurant in Pottsville, Tennessee that Joey co-owns with her sister-in-law, Marcy Gary. As it turns out, Marcy Jo's Mealhouse was the perfect place to meet the natural duo as it gave me the opportunity to see them in a natural, comfortable atmosphere.
There was no entourage with them as they walked into the mealhouse, just Rory in his Carhardtt Overalls and Joey in comfortable blue jeans and stylish sweatshirt. When asked about their wardrobe, Joey responded, “We are regular folks, we shop at regular places and we wear what is comfortable to us." The story of how the duo ended up on CMT's "Can You Duet" is one of fate. Friends in Nashville had suggested that Joey try out for an earlier season of Nashville Star but Joey thought it wasn't what she really wanted to do. Later on, one of the same friends called them and suggested Can You Duet." "He said that he wasn't talking about Nashville Star but about a new show that was for duos and was going to be on CMT," Rory says, "We had always sung together at home and at writer's nights, but never before as an actual duo."
Taking the chance, Joey+Rory went out to Best Buy and "Bought an HD camcorder and recorded ourselves doing our daily tasks at the farm and at Marcy Jo's," Rory said. Lo and behold, a week or so after submitting the video, they were offered a chance to audition for the show. They had no idea who the judges would be. "When I saw Miss Naomi Judd sitting there," says Joey, "I about fainted."
Performing for judges was one thing, but for one of your heroes? "It was amazing," says Rory, "and scary at the same time."
While Caitlin & Will would go on to take the top prize of a SonyBMG Record deal, Joey+Rory were happy with the experience. "We certainly never expected to win," Says Joey, "every week we kept coming back and coming back until we made it to the final show." When contacted by the folks at Overstock.com about recording some commercials, Rory initially "thought it was a joke." So they erased the message. Then they recieved another call from the folks at the shopping website and now, starting today, the couple were filmed "Just like we did for the audition video" in their real, everyday life.
Vanguard/Sugar Hill Records soon joined with the duo and they set about recording their debut album (as a duo) with Grammy award winning producer, and friend, Carl Jackson. When asked about why Joey sings all the leads on the album Rory said, "I'm a singer and songwriter and have done that for a long time. But for this album, we decided on a Joey with Rory album. Next time the album might be called 'Rory and Joey'."
At this point in the interview, Rory had to go to some meetings in Nashville and I then followed Joey to their farm so we could finish the interview there. Instantly, I noticed who their enourage is: Geese, dogs, cats, Chickens, cows. Y’know, farm animals. In fact, never before had I seen three better behaved geese (raised by Joey since they were goslings). It's as if the animals on the farm had taken on the characteristics of their caretakers, Joey+Rory.
CMT's "Can You Duet" may be where "Joey+Rory's story begins but the story of how Joey and Rory became an item is the stuff that great romantic films are made of and it's a story Roughstock will share with you in part two of this two part feature.