Joey Feek Continued Making Music in Midst of Cancer Battle: Singing 'Gives Her the Strength to Push' Through Pain, Writes Husband
"My wife Joey still has a song to sing," explained Rory Feek
Long before Joey Feek’s heroic struggle with cancer, the singer shared her deeply-rooted faith and resiliency in song.
That was one hallmark of her life that didn’t change when Joey, 40, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in May 2014, leading to multiple surgeries (including a radical hysterectomy) plus chemotherapy and radiation.
In fact, Joey had mustered the strength to focus on new music with her husband Rory Feek, just as they did after catapulting to the country spotlight as singing duo Joey + Rory on CMT’s Can You Duet in 2008.
As Joey prepares for what might be her final days, read on for the couple’s moving performances over the years.
1. "In the Garden"
This gospel classic takes on a deeper meaning in Joey + Rory’s home movie. After the couple found out her cervical cancer spread to another organ, Rory took to his blog with a sweet video of Joey and daughter Indiana’s sunny day in one of Joey’s favorite spots at their Pottsville, Tennessee, farmhouse in June. “As I write this … my wife is in her garden, the baby on a blanket near her. She s weeding her squash, and broccoli and kale, and the cucumbers that have just poked their heads up out of the soil. But she s not just tending to her vegetables – she s tending to her soul.”
He added, “There are many things that are very important to my wife, and those things never change, they never waver. Not through good times or bad times, not through tears or joy. She knows what the good stuff in life is and she reaches for it and pushes away the things that don t matter. She s always been this way. I wish I was more like her and that it came easy to me. I have to work at it. It s just part of her like breathing air, or loving Indy.”
2. "That’s Important to Me"
Joey and Rory’s family values are captured in this song from Album Number Two from 2010. Joey sings, “Having somebody to share my life, loving my husband and being a wife and the very best mother I can be, that’s important to me.” Their picture-perfect home is the setting of the music video, giving fans a taste of their everyday life before Joey’s crisis.
3. "Softly & Tenderly"
In the midst of receiving chemotherapy and radiation in August, Joey and Rory continued work on an album of hymns in their hotel near a cancer treatment center in Atlanta. This video shows Joey not just recording “Soft & Tenderly,” but also juggling motherhood and cancer treatment with a smile.
“My wife Joey still has a song to sing. In fact, she has lots of songs that she wants to sing in the future,” Rory wrote in a blog entry. “It s part of what gives her the strength to push on through all the nausea and pain that she s been experiencing as she goes through cancer treatment.”
4. "Amazing Grace"
Joey has been candid about how her faith in God has given her peace throughout her health battle. You can feel Joey’s passion in her cover of Christian hymn “Amazing Grace” from 2013. “I once was lost, but now I’m found,” Joey sings with her signature twang.
5. "See You There"
Joey experienced loss at a young age when her teenage brother Justin died in a car accident in July 1994. Her heartbreak inspired Joey + Rory’s “See You There,” in which Joey relives her family’s reaction to the death. “We sang in the garden at our little country church,” she shares. “There must ve been a mile of cars following your hearse.”
6. "When I’m Gone"
Of all their songs, none mirror Joey’s struggle with cancer and marriage to Rory more than “When I’m Gone.” Released in 2012, the heartbreaking ballad tells the story of a woman comforting her husband before she dies. “You’ll lie down in our big bed, dread the dark and dread the dawn,” Joey sings in their ballad. “But you’ll be alright on that first night when I’m gone.”