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Joey + Rory, a country music duo featuring husband-and-wife vocalists Rory Lee Feek and Joey Martin Feek, made their debut on the CMT series Can You Duet in 2008. Although both musicians had spent years focusing on their individual careers, they proved to be a strong duo and ultimately finished third in the competition, laying the groundwork for a collaborative career. Kansas-born Rory Feek had originally hit Nashville in 1995, hoping to hawk his songs. A meeting with legendary songwriter Harlan Howard resulted in a publishing deal with Howard, and Feek served as his lone staff writer through 2000, at which point he moved over to Clint Black's Blacktop Music. He eventually left that publishing contract, too, in order to start Giantslayer Publishing in 2004 with songwriting partner Tim Johnson.
Joey Feek was born in Alexandria, Indiana, and made her first public singing appearance at the age of six, when she performed Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" at a first-grade talent show. She moved to Nashville in 1998, signed to Sony Records in 2000, and recorded a debut album with producers Paul Worley and Billy Crain. Changes in the label's infrastructure led to the album being shelved, however. She recorded a second album, Strong Enough to Cry, in 2004, but that too was never officially released, although it did become available as a download in 2007.
The spotlight finally found Joey + Rory in 2008, when the two auditioned for the Can You Duet show at the request of a mutual friend. After the show wrapped up, the pair signed a record deal with Sugar Hill Records and released a debut album, The Life of a Song, that same year. Rory also released a digital solo album, My Ol' Man, but The Life of a Song proved to be the bigger release, cracking the country Top 40 and earning the duo three nominations (and one win) from the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards. A follow-up album, simply called Album Number Two, was also released in 2010. A Farmhouse Christmas appeared in time for the holidays in 2011, while His and Hers appeared at the end of the summer in 2012 on Sugar Hill/Vanguard.
Joey + Rory is an American country and bluegrass duo composed of singer-songwriters Rory Lee Feek and Joey Martin Feek, who are husband and wife. Joey is the duo's lead vocalist, while Rory sings background vocals and plays guitar. The duo was the third-place finalist on CMT's competition Can You Duet in 2008. That same year, Joey + Rory signed to Sugar Hill/Vanguard Records, releasing their debut album The Life of a Song in late October. This album's lead-off single, "Cheater, Cheater", was a Top 40 hit on the Billboard country charts. In June 2014 Joey was diagnosed with aggressive cervical cancer at a routine gynocologist visit. The two just welcomed a daughter with down syndrome in early 2014.
ContentsHistory1.1 2008–2009: The Life of a Song1.2 2010–2011: Album Number Two1.3 2011–2012: A Farmhouse Christmas and His and Hers1.4 2013–present: Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family, Made to Last, and Country Classics: A Tapestry of Our Musical Heritage
Before the duo's foundation, Rory Lee Feek worked as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, and he has continued to work as a songwriter even as a member of Joey + Rory. Songs that he wrote for other artists include Clay Walker's Top Five hit "The Chain of Love", Blake Shelton's Number One hit "Some Beach", and Jimmy Wayne's 2008 single "I Will". Rory also founded the independent label Giantslayer Records in 2004, on which Joey had recorded a solo album entitled Strong Enough to Cry in 2005. This album was released in CD format in 2008, as well as a digital download. Rory also recorded a solo album on Giantslayer Records, titled My Ol' Man, which he also made available only as a download.
Joey + Rory performed on the CMT competition Can You Duet in 2008, in which they were the third-place finalists. Shortly after the competition, they were signed to the independent label Sugar Hill Records. They returned to the Can You Duet stage to perform "Cheater, Cheater" on "Original Song Night" for the series' second season, which aired on July 25, 2009.
2008–2009: The Life of a Song
The duo's debut album, The Life of a Song, was released on October 28, 2008 on Sugar Hill Records. The album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and No. 61 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Its lead-off single, "Cheater, Cheater", was originally recorded by the duo Bomshel. Kristy Osmonson, one-half of that duo, co-wrote the song with the Feeks and Wynn Varble. Bomshel's version was released as a single in early 2008, although it did not chart. Joey + Rory's version was released in September 2008, featuring a music video that has a cameo from Naomi Judd, who had been a judge on Can You Duet. Joey + Rory's version peaked at No. 30 on the country music charts in early 2009. The duo has also appeared in television commercials for the online retailer Overstock.com. In February 2009, the duo were nominated for the Academy of Country Music Awards Top Vocal Duo. Although a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" was originally to have been released as the second single, it was withdrawn after two weeks, and replaced in March 2009 with "Play the Song", which failed to chart. The album's third single, "To Say Goodbye", was released to radio on July 27, 2009, and also failed to chart.
Joey + Rory released their first holiday single, the Carl Jackson produced "It's Christmas Time," on November 16, 2009 to country radio and November 24, 2009 to digital retailers. It was done in partnership with CMT One Country, who will donate a portion of proceeds from the single to various charities (including The Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee). Additionally, Rory Feek along with Tim Johnson, created the Song Trust; under this an album of holiday songs performed by children, titled Merry Kidsmas, was released.
2010–2011: Album Number Two
Joey + Rory announced on October 15, 2009, that they were in the studio working on the follow-up album to The Life of a Song. The album, titled Album Number Two, was announced in January 2010 and released on September 14, 2010. The lead-off single, "This Song's for You", was released to radio in July 2010; originally "That's Important to Me" had been chosen, but the single choice was changed. The music video for "This Song's for You" was directed by Darren Doane and was released in August 2010. "That's Important to Me" was released as the album's second single in October 2010. It debuted at number 58 on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week ending February 12, 2011.
On March 16, 2010, it was announced that the duo were the winners of the 2010 Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Vocal Duo, and would compete alongside Luke Bryan and Gloriana for the Top New Artist award. Joey + Rory performed new songs from their upcoming album, were interviewed, and received their award on the GAC special "ACM Top New Artists" on April 1, 2010.
2011–2012: A Farmhouse Christmas and His and Hers
On August 29, 2011, Joey + Rory released a new single, titled "Headache," to country radio, though it failed to chart and was not included on an album. Joey + Rory released their first Christmas album, A Farmhouse Christmas, on October 11, 2011.
Joey + Rory's third studio album, His and Hers, was released on July 31, 2012. "When I'm Gone" and "Josephine" served as the album's first two singles and were simultaneously released to radio before the album, though neither charted.
2013–present: Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family, Made to Last, and Country Classics: A Tapestry of Our Musical Heritage
Joey + Rory announced on the red carpet of the ACM Awards that the duo had recorded their first album of gospel music. Joey Martin told Billboard that "It's kind of an inspirational album, of old gospel songs that I grew up singing and listening to my mum sing. It’s an album I’ve wanted to do for a long time." The album, Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family, was released on July 16, 2013 via Gaither Music Group. It debuted at number 166 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 3,000, while also peaking at number 31 on the Top Country Albums chart and at number 6 on the Top Christian Albums chart.
After the release of their Gospel album, Joey + Rory announced that they would be releasing their fifth studio album, Made to Last, in late 2013 via their own Farmhouse Recordings record label (their first self-released project). Made to Last was released on October 8, 2013 and debuted at No. 44 on the Top Country Albums chart. Their sixth studio album, Country Classics: A Tapestry of Our Musical Heritage, was released exclusively to Cracker Barrel in May 2014, with a wide release following on October 14, 2014. Their second project on Gaither Music Group, the record consists of cover versions of classic country songs.Strong Enough to Cry Can You Duet 206 "Original Song Night" – 3 Joey & Rory at CMT.com "Cheater, Cheater" (Music Video at CMT.com) Parton, Chris (2008-09-15). "Joey & Rory Will Be Back on TV". CMT. Retrieved 2008-10-22. Gilbert, Calvin (2009-02-11). "Brad Paisley, Heidi Newfield Top List of ACM Nominees". CMT. Retrieved 2009-02-11. Rodeo Attitude News: IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME” FOR CMA VOCAL DUO HOPEFUL JOEY+RORY Joey + Rory put focus on the song with the Song Trust MusicRow: Luke Bryan, Gloriana, Joey + Rory Win ACM Awards, Move To Next Round "Joey + Rory To Release Christmas Album in 2011". Roughstock. Retrieved July 26, 2011. Wyland, Sarah (May 31, 2012). "Joey + Rory to Release His and Hers July 31". Great American Country. Retrieved June 1, 2012. Brandle, Lars (April 9, 2013). "Joey + Rory Finish New Gospel Album". Billboard. Retrieved April 11, 2013. http://www.roughstock.com/blog/country-album-chart-news-the-week-of-july-24-2013-travis-tritt-luke-bryan-florida-georgia-line-jason-aldean-blake-shelton-hunter-hayes-mud-digger-4 http://www.allmusic.com/album/country-classics-a-tapestry-of-our-musical-heritage-mw0002661289/credits
Can You Duet performancesList of Joey + Rory's performances on Can You Duet
Semi-Finals (Season 2)Original Song Night – "Cheater, Cheater" Returned as a guest performer on the series' second season, and gave advice to the remaining competitors.
Finals (Season 1)And the Winner Is... – "I Want to Be Loved Like That", ShenandoahThe judges cited the performance as being weaker than previous ones, and they were eliminated (receiving third place).
Semifinals (Season 1)The Final Three – "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind", Kellie PicklerThe judges were pleased to see Rory sing a verse by himself for the first time.Five Duets Down to Four – "Young Love", The JuddsNaomi felt that they had likability and marketability, Brett declared that "America needs this", and Aimee compared it to a "sweet dream."Six Duets Cut to Five – "Cheater, Cheater", Joey + Rory (original song) The judges loved the performance and felt they showed real star quality and great interaction between the two while on stage.Seven Duets Down to Six – "Lord I Hope This Day Is Good", Lee Ann WomackJoey played an acoustic guitar in this performance, when previously only Rory had played the guitar.Eight Duets Perform – "455 Rocket", Kathy MatteaThe first performance on the big stage before a live studio audience.
Pre-Semifinals (Season 1)12 Duets Become Eight – "Free Bird", Lynyrd SkynyrdFinal performance before they perform on the live stage in the semifinals.Workshop Week – "How's the World Treating You", Alison KraussWorkshop week; second performance before they perform on the live stage.Audition – "Play the Song", Joey + Rory (original song) The judges thought they were the real deal, and they were chosen to continue.