Joey+Rory: The Life Of A Song

Tennessee husband and wife duo Joey+Rory will release their debut album The Life Of A Song on October 28th. I received an advance copy of the disc last week from the always excellent Sugar Hill Records (why aren’t more people raving about the new Kasey Chambers album?!). By the time I had the body of this review ready for publishing, Joey+Rory popped up in an commercial – Joey plays the country wife who buys her hubby Rory a guitar online and they duet at the end. But don’t let the television connection discourage you from checking them out, I recommend the album to anyone who enjoys pretty country (of the authentic variety, not the bastardized modern use of the word “country”) voices and instrumental twang.

“Play The Song” opens the album with a swaggering country thump, jazzy piano, sweet harmony, and straightforward lyrical charm. I wish more artists followed Joey+Rory’s example of putting track-by-track inspirations in the liner notes.

The mandolin embellished “Sweet Emmylou” (an ode to Emmylou Harris and vinyl records), steel weeping “Tonight Cowboy You’re Mine”, and the chill producing tearjerkers “Rodeo” and “To Say Goodbye” (fans of Kathy Mattea‘s “Where’ve You Been” take note!) are wonderfully sentimental, classic country ballads that put Joey’s beautiful voice on fine display.

“Cheater Cheater” takes the woman done wrong theme that is so popular and yet so weakly portrayed in modern country-pop and plants it firmly back where it belongs – in a fiery old country barnburner rhythm. The bare bones “Heart of the Wood” (co-written with Tony Villanueva of The DeRailers) is more of an Appalachian folk meets Americana ballad, and the title track is a beautiful finale to this magnificent album.

Someone needs to book these folks on Mountain Stage, they’d probably get a standing ovation – especially when playing the lively “Tune of a Twenty Dollar Bill”. They even do an acoustic waltz cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”! Forget standing ovation, people ’round these parts would probably crown them as royalty.

The commercial characters Joey+Rory portrayed aren’t just an act – the couple really resides in an 1870s farmhouse and Joey helps run a family restaurant. Rory has written songs for Blake Shelton, Clay Walker, Collin Raye, Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, Lorrie Morgan, Buck Owens, Charlie Pride, and many other country stars. Joey was apparently signed to Sony, but they never released her debut solo album. Definitely their loss. I won’t be surprised if future country singers list Joey+Rory among their influences.

Sugar Hill Records were kind enough to grant me permission to share the song of my choice for two weeks. I almost chose “To Say Goodbye”, but I think “Play The Song” will have more general appeal. Enjoy!

Joey + Rory – Play The Song (mp3 removed)*

*The above mp3 was posted with the permission of Sugar Hill Records (who own the copyright of the recording). The file and link have been removed due to a false infringment claim by IFPI, which resulted in the temporary deletion of this review by Blogger. I was given no warning or notice of this claim, and had to go through a very frightening counter claim process with Blogger to get this review reinstated. Since then, a second erroneous claim was filed against me by IFPI. That post has also been reinstated and Blogger apologized for the inconvenience. Because IFPI and Blogger have chosen to punish innocent, legal bloggers such as myself along with the guilty, I am looking for a new host for Muruch.

Joey+Rory Official Site
Joey+Rory MySpace

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