Joey Feek died of cervical cancer on March 4, 2016 at the far-too-young age of 40. She may be gone, but her songs are about to get a second life.
Feek won fans and Grammys as one half of the husband and wife country duo Joey + Rory, and now a collection of her solo material will be released on April 7 through Gaither Music Group. Titled If Not For You, the 12-track album was originally recorded in 2005 and features production work from husband Rory Feek and Bill McDermott. Originally available in limited quantities through Joey + Rory’s website, this will be Feek’s first widespread release.
If Not For You will include the original solo rendition of the pair’s “That’s Important to Me”—which surfaced as a duet on their 2010 release, Album Number Two—as well as “See You There,” a touching tribute to Feek’s brother Justin Martin, who died in a car accident in 1994 at age 17. Feek’s beloved dog Rufus, who died in 2010, is also memorialized in the tune “Red.”
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Physical copies of the release will include a 48-page booklet, including stories and pictures from throughout the duo’s marriage and career.
Rory Feek also reflected on their all-too-brief time together in his new memoir, This Life I Live. In the book, he recalls how he first met his future wife and musical soulmate.
“[Joey] told me she was dating a wonderful guy, up in Indiana, and that they’d been together for a year and a half and she was probably going to marry him,” Rory remembers Feek telling him on the phone. “But she wanted to tell me that if things were different, if the timing were better, maybe she and I would be together.”
Rory and Feek continued talking sporadically, even having an early (non) “date” at a truck stop. Around Valentine’s Day, Feek called Rory with the news: she had split with her boyfriend and wanted to see him.
Their journey brought them marriage, daughter Indiana, 3, and, most recently, a Grammy for best roots gospel album.
“She sang her vocals in hotel rooms while she did chemo and radiation and it finally came out a year ago, almost exactly,” he shared as he accepted the honor. “And we sat together in the final days and watched this award ceremony last year — and she said, ‘If we get nominated, promise me you will come.’ And I said, ‘I will.’ ”