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Country

How Rory Feek Is Coping with the Death of Wife Joey: 'Hearing the Music, She's Still Alive'

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Jason Merritt/Getty

Rory Feek says it’s the music he made with his late wife Joey that helps him cope with her death.

“I’d say it brings me a lot of peace. I listen and watch everything – it’s part of the process for me. I don’t want to hide from her, or her memory, or those feelings,” Rory told Billboard in his first interview since Joey died in March after a battle with terminal cancer. “Every morning about 5:30, Indiana and I get up, and quite often I play her the Hymns record Hearing the music, she’s still alive.”

Rory, 51, said when he and 2-year-old Indiana listen to the Hymns record – Rory recorded vocals for the album while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment – it makes them smile.

It doesn’t always bring him joy, though.

Joey and Rory Feek with daughter Indiana
Courtesy Joey+Rory

He added: “And then there are other times I’m making eggs, and emotional, and Indy doesn’t quite understand it. But that’s part of it – it’s okay. I listen to it a lot, actually.”

Joey died on March 4 at the age of 40 in her hometown of Alexandria, Indiana. She was laid to rest at the Feek’s farm in Tennessee in a funeral in front of a group of close friends and family.

Joey Feek’s funeral procession
This Life I Live

Despite the loss of his best friend and singing partner, Rory told Billboard that his faith is as strong as ever.

“Just because things don’t work out the way that you hoped they would, doesn’t mean that God isn’t still in charge,” he said. “It’s still his plans and not ours, so I don’t feel like my faith has wavered at all.”

Rory and Joey Feek
Courtesy Rory Feek

The country and Christian music duo have been open about Joey’s cancer battle, sharing heartwarming social media and blog posts. And Rory said he is “thankful” that he and Joey could inspire so many people with their story, music and lives.


“We don’t want it to just look good on the outside, for our faith to look strong,” he said. “We want it to be strong – we’re always working on that.”

Earlier this month, Rory – who told Billboard that he hasn’t written music or played the guitar in two years – opened up about life without Joey in a post to his blog This Life I Live.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month already since Joey left this world and made her journey to the next,” he said. “In some ways it feels like only yesterday, and in others it feels like forever.”