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Joey + Rory = Album Number Two
Review by: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

The fact that we don't need last names to recognize the amazing 2010 ACM Award winners for Top New Vocal duo speaks volumes about who they are and naming their second album simply Album Number Two, isn't at all pretentious, it is just indicative of their straight forward attitude about every facet of their lives, including their music. They are delightfully and sincerely humble despite their extraordinary success. Joey and Rory are the most uniquely talented, down-to-earth, madly in love with each other, duo since Tammy and George.

While the majority of their fans have come to know them via the popular TV show Can You Duet, I was actually introduced to them years before. I think the first time I heard Joey Martin sing was in 2005 and I was immediately impressed with her beautiful voice and the way she can musically meter any lyrics to make them her own. As a volunteer for The National Day of the Cowboy Organization I was looking for someone appropriate to be their spokesperson and I was told by several people that if you were to look up the definition of “down to earth, genuine, singing cowgirl” in the dictionary, it might actually say “Joey Martin.” All kidding aside, Martin is the fabulously beautiful, and incredibly talented, offspring of a guitar playing father and a gospel singing mother. Her myspace states that although “she may look like a supermodel, she works like a cowhand” and I'm happy to add, she also has the incomparable voice of an angel.

I was familiar with the quirky, producer, songwriter, Rory Feek, who punctuates his uniqueness by seldom wearing anything but denim overalls. Years before he co-wrote the gut-wrenching single “How Do You Get That Lonely” for Blaine Larsen, that made him a household name, I recall often seeing his name on the liner notes of some of the most popular artists in country music. Collin Raye, Clay Walker, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Lorrie Morgan are just a few that come to mind. Most recently he wrote “A Little More Country Than That” which took Easton Corbin to the top of the charts.

Album Number Two kicks off with an autobiographical, tongue-in-cheek, fun, recap of their duo career to date:

We sold a lot of our first record / we even had a hit / now the bigwigs back in Nashville say / we better kick it up a bit / the critics all are waiting / to see what we will do / much anticipating 'bout album number two / some say to go more country / some say we should turn pop / they've all got their opinions / how to take us to the top / our new image consultant / says we need a fresh hair do / as if that's going to make or break / album number two / the critics all are waiting / to see if we come through / so much contemplating 'bout album number two / now you might think we're crazy / but is it really all that hard / just cut some songs that move you / and sing 'em from the heart / but if we are mistaken / and our career is through / we'll bid our fans a fine farewell / with album number two / the critics all are waiting / but its really up to you / we'd sure appreciate it / if you buy album number two”

After reading those lyrics, I hope you will be intrigued enough to go out and purchase this album. The CD I received was a review copy so it didn't come with liner notes but I'm pretty confident in predicting that Feek' had a hand in writing a majority, or all, of the songs on this CD. He is the professor of story songs and there are twelve of them on Album Number Two. Each and every one of them is pleasantly delivered with perfect pitch and heartwarming vocal harmonies by Joey + Rory.

Feek says, “As a songwriter you have to imagine being somebody different every time you write a song, but the magic of being an artist is you get to be you, to write what you want to say and I have never had the chance to do that before. I’m not sure Joey ever got to be herself either because there were always teams of people telling her how to dress, not to sing about this and so on. There is none of that anymore. We are 100% ourselves here.”

There isn't a bad song in the bunch so it is impossible to choose a favorite but I have to say that “Born To Be Your Woman” had me sighing out loud and I loved “Where Jesus Is.” The message is simple and delivered with a very soft touch but it certainly succeeds in impacting your soul in a most powerful way. By the way, I would really be amiss if I didn't mention the instrumentals on the entire album. All of the pickin' was incredible and the peddle steel was spot on perfection.

You Ain't Right” was another track that stood out for me. With lyrics like, “You ain't right / at least you're different/ a couple quarts shy and few screws missin / Bless your heart / look around / We're all an ounce or two short of a pound,” had me laughing out loud. But then there's the final cut, “This Song's For You.” I'm absolutely certain that this song is for you, no matter who you are. The duo are joined by the Zac Brown Band on this track and it has “hit” written all over it.

Rory's father was an aspiring singer who dreamed of going to Nashville but he never took the chance. Rory vowed to make his father’s dream a reality; I'd say he has exceeded far beyond anything his father ever imagined. I could go on and on but I think their press blurb sums it up perfectly, “When you see the husband and wife duo Joey+Rory, you don’t need to be told that what they have is genuine. Just listen to their music or listen to them talk and you can tell that what they have is the real deal…not just as a musical duo, but as a couple. The deep connection they have doesn’t just shine through their music, it’s the reason their music shines.”

Sign me up, I'm a fan.



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