“I get tired of hearing that a song is ‘too country’ or ‘too serious,” says Rory Feek, one-half of the husband-and-wife duo Joey+Rory. “Let’s stop guessing what people want to hear, and let the fans make up their own minds. I bet we’ll all be surprised what we find out.” Rory’s simple words amplify what you’re about to hear on Joey+Rory’s debut album “The Life Of A Song.” Quite simply, it’s one of the best albums that you are likely to hear, quite possibly the rest of this decade.
“Play The Song” starts out the record and it is the root of Rory’s words above. Born out of his frustration over the music industry’s inclination to overanalyze everything about a song or an artist, Joey+Rory sing a song that immediately hits home with fans of good music. Because of the overanalyzing, some would argue that country music isn’t what it used to be. The duo is advocating for basic economics; let the market (IE, fans) decide what’s going to ultimately work, not some focus group or some ‘Wizard of Oz.’
Joey Martin has one of the purest female voices in the country music genre and with “Sweet Emmylou,” Joey is able to emote how her favorite artist helps her get over a heartbreak while the gorgeous ballad “”Tonight Cowboy You’re Mine” showcases her even more as the duo sings a romantic classic country track full of Aubrey Haynie’s fine fiddle fills, Catherine Marx’s tickled ivory and Mike Johnson’s glorious steel guitar solo and fills.
Haynie’s superb fiddle skills are showcased again on “Cheater, Cheater,” the first single from the record. The song has that same vindictive nature that was found in recent hits by Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert yet there is something about the song that really rises above their hits. Perhaps it’s the completely passionate performance from everyone playing on the track. Instead of there being another woman to worry about like “Cheater, Cheater,” Joey sings of the pull of the Rodeo and how it’s tough on relationships and Joey+Rory sing passionately about it.
Fans of a good acoustic ballad will enjoy the Dan Demay and Tony Villaneuva-penned “Heart of the Wood.” It’s an immediate song because it’s just Joey singing with Rory over his guitar playing. It was recorded in one take. Fans of “Can You Duet,” the CMT show where Joey+Rory literally started singing together, will recognize their version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” done as a waltz. What they’ve done is managed to make an instant classic all their own and managed to wring even more emotion out of the lyric.
If there was ever a song that was guaranteed to break Joey+Rory at country radio, it is the ballad “To Say Goodbye.” Written by Joey, Rory and Jamie Teachenor, the emotional song tells a story of two people in different stages of grief. It’s a sad song but it’s also something that hits home with anyone who has lost a loved one. If someone wants to know what country music is, I’d likely use this song as one example. It’s real and showcases true emotion: It’s not that we can’t someone go, we just want the chance to say goodbye to them. The title track (“The Life Of A Song”) ends the record and it’s a powerful reminder of how music affects us. “A song lives forever, it never ever dies, it sings enemies together and touches so many lives…Oh how I wish I could live the life of a song.” Written by Jason Matthews and Rebecca Lynn Howard, this song has managed to say what I’ve always felt about music and why I am so passionate about it. It can literally change the world and live forever.
Joey+Rory, along with their friend and producer Carl Jackson, have crafted an album that needs to be heard. There isn’t a bad song on the album and it demands the listener’s attention. Why Joey Martin hasn’t released a CD before now will remain another music row mystery but thanks to the suggestion of friends, “The Life Of A Song” has firmly rectified that situation. Joey+Rory are the real deal and so is their album, “The Life Of A Song.”