NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Recorded in 2005 and produced by her husband, Rory Feek, and Bill McDermott, GRAMMY®-winner Joey Feek’s solo debut, If Not For You (buy), is out today through Gaither Music Group/Farmhouse Recordings. The 12-song collection is also available in a special edition featuring a 48-page booklet of photos, memories and stories penned by Rory.
Joey Feek is widely known as one-half of country music duo Joey + Rory, who most recently won a GRAMMY for their Hymns (buy) album in February. The couple captured the hearts of millions over the past few years as Rory chronicled their love story and Joey’s cancer battle on his blog, This Life I Live, as well as their preparation for her passing in March 2016. But there’s much more to the story: the couple met in the early 2000s, when Joey was still an aspiring country singer. They eventually fell in love, married and recorded Joey’s debut album. The collection was released independently in 2005 and was made available at the duo’s shows and on their website, years before they appeared on CMT’s Can You Duet and began recording as a duo. This marks the first time the album will be widely available.
“When this album was recorded in 2005, Joey and I were still newlyweds, or at least we felt like we were. Though we had hopes for the record at the time, it wasn’t meant to be, and so this collection of music set quietly on a shelf for the last ten years or so, waiting for the right time to come along, when maybe somehow, someone would care. A time like now,” Rory said. “It is one of the great joys of my life to dust these songs off and bring life to them again. Not just the songs, but also the stories and the life of the special woman that these songs represent.”
The songs on If Not For You and the lyrics speak volumes about the woman whose life touched the hearts of millions. As Rory explains in the booklet, the album is filled with songs that showcase the things that were most important to Joey. Starting with “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” the song that brought Joey and Rory together, the album begins with a cameo from Joey’s mother and father, and closes with Joey and Rory’s oldest daughter Heidi singing harmony on “Old Paint,” which Roughstock featured earlier this week. Rolling Stone Country premiered “Nothing To Remember,” the first song Joey and Rory wrote together in an early songwriting session in 2001, telling the story of a couple only able to be together in the short-term but thankful for the fleeting time they had. Originally called “Strong Enough To Cry” in 2005, the former title track, which premiered with “The Boot,” expresses Joey and Rory’s views on how to make it through difficult times. Also making an appearance on the album is the original recording of “That’s Important To Me,” which would later be a charting single for Joey + Rory; “See You There,” a tribute to her late brother Justin that premiered with Yahoo Music; and “Southern Girl,” focusing on Joey’s love for the South, which premiered with Taste Of Country.
“This recording is, of course, a significant one for us,” said Paul Sizelove, vice president of Gaither Music Group. “I grew up in the same hometown with Joey and watched she and her family love each other and the people along their paths. We all watched her move to Nashville to pursue her dreams. Things seemed to come full circle when, years later, our label was able to join hands with Joey and Rory along their recording journey. What a blessing it has been to be a part of their inspiring story. It is an honor to release this recording that captures so much of her heart and heritage and represents a dream of hers coming true.”