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Album Review: “The Life Of A Song” by Joey + Rory

December 7, 2008

The Life of a Song cover

5 Stars


Fresh off of their run on the CMT show Can You Duet, the husband and wife duo of Rory Feek and Joey Martin Feek make their country music singing debut. The duo gained critical acclamation with their run on the show on which they brought to life their love for traditional country sounds with a respect to contemporary values. That same love is applied to their debut project for a mix that would make even the most devoted modernist change their tune.

This dynamic duo knows how to sing country music, plain and simple. Before the had their big break as a duo Rory served as a successful songwriter and also had the experience of establishing his own label, Giantslayer Records. Joey was less involved before the show. She managed to release a solo album, but was more focused on her restaurant she ran with Rory’s sister. Together they managed to place third on the CMT show, thus earning them a deal with Sugar Hill records. Although I didn’t see much of the show, Joey + Rory were considered to be one of the best acts on the show, showing an understanding of what makes great country music and a flawless partnership. It is this chemistry and art that helped them form a quality debut project.

Anything you can think of that qualifies as country, these two have covered it in “The Life Of A Song”. Joey leads with the vocals while Rory stands on the side with backup, guitar and dominant writing credits. The tag-team manages to fill this project with a very entertaining mix of quality toe tapers and tearjerkers that avoid going too overboard in order to get the point across. Let’s start with their debut hit, “Cheater, Cheater”. This is an appropriate start off point for these two because the attitude and sound put into this song defines the entirety of the album. Rory’s twangin guitar and Joey’s confident and focused performance make it one of this years most pleasing radio singles and only help support the perfection these two can incorporate into a song…even one that needs a little help standing out.

The duo add more to the project by bringing in a few more impressively designed mid tempo tracks, each following their own direction and able to stand out, in one way or another, from the rest of the project. The album starts off with the tongue and cheek “Play The Song” which has the duo showing disagreement and frustration towards modern radio for their consistent refusal to play the best because they fear fans don’t want to hear it. Also brought into the mix is “Tune Of A Twenty Dollar Bill”. While much more relaxed, this song helps to support the duo’s great knack for storytelling as Joey narrates a love story between a couple who just want to get together to enjoy some good old country music. Then you add in the mix a romantic tune like “Loved The Hell” and this duo leaves nothing to the imagination. They pretty much strip down everything about them in their performance while still allowing each song to flow and work it’s magic.

Speaking of magic, when you get into the many ballad’s this married pair has to offer you really begin to see the potential and experience that these two have and the chemistry they share from start to finish. “Tonight Cowboy You’re Mine” is a romantic and sincere sentiment from Joey to Rory concerning her love for him and her appreciation for everything he is while “Sweet Emmylou” is a righteous dedication to Emmylou Harris, obviously one of the duo’s biggest influences. However, these are not the best, great, but there is much more. “To Say Goodbye” is filled with power and emotion taking a new twist on the concept of death by focusing on the difficulty of not being able to say goodbye. You also have “Rodeo” which has Joey voicing a woman conversing with the personified sport of bull riding asking it to release her husband from his obsession and the acoustically presented “Heart Of The Woods” which takes the duo back to their roots to inspire appreciation in their fans for those who helped make them who they are.

To top off the entire album the duo threw in their vocal rendition of the famous “Free Bird” which blatantly denies the instrumental in favor of a more sentimental and significant lyrical approach to one of the most popular guitar songs ever presented. Finally the project concludes with its masterful title track “The Life Of A Song”. The only way to wrap up a review of this album for me is to mention this song because Joey + Rory present it with purpose and personal relevance, so much so that it denies all question that these two now what they are doing and are meant to be here.

The title track has Joey explaining how she wishes she could live the life of a song because a song lives forever and changes the lives of countless people all through history. With that being said these two lovebirds have taken their passion, love, talent and understanding of the world around them and put it into 11 tracks of beauty, grace, fun and tears. Even if traditional music isn’t your taste and even if the electric guitar is more your style this album is worth a decent listen from everyone who has any respect for what this genre is really about.

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