|Farmhouse Faith | Posted July 30, 2013
It's hard to fathom why married duo Joey + Rory spent years working separately because together they are golden. In 2008, the couple competed on CMT's show Can You Duet, where they quickly became a favorite of judge Naomi Judd. Joey + Rory have since gone on to record four projects, and in 2010 were awarded Top New Vocal Duo by the Academy of Country Music. The pair can now be seen on the RFD network as hosts of their own program, The Joey + Rory Show.
Joey + Rory have included a faith-based song on each of their previous country market releases. And Joey, whose hometown is Alexandria, Indiana—home of Bill and Gloria Gaither—has long been a friend of the Gaithers. She and Rory have been present at Gaither Homecoming events and were recently featured on the Gaither Vocal Band's DVD special Pure and Simple, Vol. I. So it's only natural that Joey + Rory release their newest project, Inspired, a full album of songs about faith and family, in partnership with the Gaither Music Group. A live DVD will follow in the fall.
From track to track, Joey + Rory take turns on lead vocals. Joey is featured on primarily gospel classics, beginning with a gorgeous rendition of "In The Garden." On "Are You Washed In The Blood" she is backed not only by Rory's harmonies but by an energetic bluegrass accompaniment from The Isaacs. Bill Gaither guests on the lovely "Turning to the Light," written by Stephanie Davis, which boasts this simple but beautiful chorus: "I am turning to the light / I am reaching toward the sun / I have journeyed through the night / and my battle now is won / There's a new song in my heart / There's a new day dawning bright / Oh, I'm turning to the light."
Joey delivers a knockout performance on the haunting, near a capella "Amazing Grace," while daughter Heidi lends harmony support on the final verse. We get a more personal glimpse of Joey on "Gotta Go Back," which features another guest, country artist Josh Turner with whom Rory penned the song. Joey expresses a yearning to return to simpler times. The tune broadens in scope with each verse, starting with front porch memories, widening to married life, and ending with a community/world focus. When Joey is joined by Josh and Rory, the three voices create a rich blend.
On the timeless original "I See Him," Joey sings about seeing God in all the small, every day occurrences of life: "I see Him in the seeds I grow / I hear Him in the rooster's crow / I feel him when my husband's hand is in mine / I taste Him in the meals I make / I smell Him in the bread I bake." This down-home song is a homegrown affair, written by Joey, Rory, and their daughter Heidi. The piece reminds us that, when searching for God, we need to look not through our eyes but with our hearts.
The Rory leads begin with the Paul Overstreet written "Long Line of Love," a Michael Martin Murphy hit. On this ruggedly romantic song about love and family, Rory professes: "I come from a long line of love / When times get hard, I won't give up / Forever's in my heart and in my blood."
Rory's performance of "My Life Is Based On a True Story," written by Richard Leigh, is genuine and heartfelt, communicating an attitude of worship more effectively than any arena-sized worship anthem ever could. On "The Preacher and The Stranger," another rooted-in-real-life song of faith, Rory channels early Garth Brooks as he narrates a powerful tale of forgiveness. Again, the song is realistic and relatable, never self-conscious or preachy.
The bouncy "It'll Get You Where You're Goin'" may well be my favorite Rory number of the record. On his 16th birthday, the song's protagonist receives his dad's old car. Later, at 18, when he's leaving home, his dad hands over his faithful, worn Bible. About each, his father proclaims, "I know it don't look like much / It's old and a little beat up / But there's peace of mind in knowing / it'll get you where you're going."
Rory also shines on another story about faith and family, his own composition, "Hammerin' Nails." Here, dad clears land and builds a house while mom makes it a home reading Bible stories and taking them to church. Rory explains that his folks were each "hammering nails in our foundation / building our home up good and strong."
The tandem efforts ends with Rory gently counting Joey in on "Leave It There." Pretty mandolin and guitar play while the two together encourage the listener to rely on Jesus in all things: "Take your burden to the Lord / Leave it there / If you trust Him through your doubt / He will surely bring you out / Take your burden to the Lord / Leave it there."
Joey and Rory Feek are small town country folks. Endearingly so. For Inspired, produced by Rory and Joe West, they gathered several of their friends and recorded in a barn. The result is a simple, warm record of mostly acoustic instruments focused on faith and family. Most importantly, this uniquely heartfelt record – a mixture of gospel, country, bluegrass, and folk -- is everyday-accessible and authentic, just like Joey + Rory.
Song to Download Now:
"Gotta Go Back" (Get it on iTunes here
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|Inpired: Songs mama used to sing and other tunes that won't leave your head quickly | Posted November 11, 2013
For their fourth effort, the husband/wife country bluegrass duo spin out a heartwarming gospel album. This wasn’t my first exposure to their music, but I was drawn in quickly with this album of traditional favorites and new songs that made me want to host a gospel jamboree from my own front porch. Released in July 2013 this is a rootsy record that is one part praise with two parts Joy.
Beginning with sparse acoustic guitar and Joey’s voice we are treated to an old favorite “In The Garden”, and this sets the stage for what we are about to hear.
Rory next gives us a wonderful look at marriage and making it last with “Long Line Of Love”. This is a wonderful country story song, and it won’t be the last one on this album either.
Guitar and fiddle dominate another old favorite “Are You Washed In The Blood?” Complete with a down home style and handclapping, this track is aided by The Isaacs, providing a high gospel sound. Not long after we are treated to another special guest, Bill Gaither, adding his deep baritone backing vocals to “Turning To The Light.”
Another story song comes in the form of “The Preacher & The Stranger”, a cleverly told and heart tugging tale of redemption and forgiveness. If you liked Randy Travis’ Three Wooden Crosses, you won’t be able to resist the power and message of this song. This is perfectly followed by a rustic version of “Amazing Grace”, and with these two songs played back to back, the effect it has on the listener packs a one- two country punch to the soul.
Things get back to jumping with “It’ll Get You Where You’re Going”, an upbeat bluegrass jam that answers the question what does a car and a Bible have in common. Joey then brings us back down with the contemplative “Gotta Go Back”. Here she is joined with country star Josh Turner, as they sing about returning to the good old days and away from the craziness of the modern world and culture of today.
Rory tells us how to build a good home in the song “Hammerin’ Nails”, and then they give an answer to those who say they don’t see God in “I See Him.” Here Joey tells us of the places we can see evidence of God in this mixed up world.
The final track on the CD, “Leave It There” is like a southern gospel altar call imploring us to ‘take your burdens to the Lord.’ This brings us to a perfect close, whether listening to this in the car or on the front porch. If you like traditionalist country and gospel bluegrass you will absolutely love this CD. Especially recommended if you are an Allison Krauss or Randy Travis fan…
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