Joey+Rory: The Life Of A Song

Note: The following review is being re-published without an mp3. Sugar Hill Records granted me permission to share “Play The Song” in the original review, but Google/Blogger deleted the entire post without warning or notification. This censorship was apparently due to a false copyright infringement claim that Google obviously didn’t bother to verify, since the mp3 in the review was completely legal. With the encouragement of the nice people at Sugar Hill Records, I have filed a counter claim with Google in hopes of preventing this from happening in the future.

Neither Joey+Rory nor Sugar Hill Records had anything to do with the post being deleted and they have been incredibly sympathetic to me, so please thank them for supporting me in this battle by purchasing their album (it’s one of my favorites this year). I also want to thank Joshua of Cover Lay Down (another victim of Blogger’s censorship) for providing me with a copy of this review so I can re-post it.

Joey+Rory: The Life Of A Song

Tennessee husband and wife duo Joey+Rory released their debut album The Life Of A Song on October 28th. I received an advance copy of the disc 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 Overstock.com 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.

Joey+Rory Official Site
Joey+Rory MySpace

Buy @ Amazon

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