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Joey + Rory Open Up About Their Humble Origins and Big Break

Joey and Rory
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

‘Can You Duet’ finalists and happily married couple Joey and Rory recently performed a few songs at  Y108’s studio in Pittsburgh. Before delivering intimate renditions of ‘Cheater, Cheater‘  and ‘A Little More Country Than That,’ Rory opened up about their humble origins as a performing duo, which were somewhat accidental.

“She had always wanted to be a singer and I had been a songwriter. I’ve been writing songs for a long time …We had been making our living with my writing all these years.” Rory even joked that ‘A Little More Country Than That’ helped “put a new tin roof on our our farmhouse.”

The pair has been married for nearly nine years, and for a time, Joey thought about giving up on music, since her career stalled and hit a standstill. In fact, four years ago, Joey opened a restaurant with Rory’s sister Marcy, called Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse, in an old building near the couple’s house. The restaurant has its own unique charm in that it serves one dish per day. Rory explained that “it is like coming to our house for lunch. If we’re having fried chicken, you have fried chicken. If we’re  having meat loaf, you  have meat loaf. There’s no choices.”

While the restaurant fulfilled Marcy’s dream of owning an eatery and helped keep Joey busy, destiny intervened when Rory was writing a song with John Bollinger, who came to their farmhouse. Rory and Bollinger took a lunch break at the Mealhouse, of course. Bollinger met Joey, who was waiting tables, and asked the pair to meet him in Nashville at a later date. They did, and he told them about ‘Can You Duet’ being casted. “He said, ‘I think you guys are it,’” Rory recalled. Joey and Rory were semi shocked by Bollinger suggesting that they audition. “I said, ‘I write the songs, my wife sings them. You are crazy,’” Rory laughed. “We don’t sing together. Joey’s a singer, I’m a songwriter.”

Since singer and songwriters can often be well-matched pairs, especially when they are already married, Joey + Rory gave it a shot. They bought a camera and filmed each other. They captured Rory writing and Joey opening the restaurant in the morning. As an added touch of sweetness, Joey baked a roll of sticky buns and took them to producers and low and behold, they got an audition and eventually placed third in the competition.

Watch Joey + Rory perform ‘That’s Important to Me’ at Y108 here.

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