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Top 5 Joey + Rory Songs

Joey and Rory Five Great Songs
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Bluegrass-country duo Joey + Rory recorded a long list of well-crafted songs over the course of their career since their appearance on CMT’s Can You Duet?, though their production slowed during Joey’s battle with cancer.

Joey Feek passed away on March 4, 2016, and their songs remain an authentic representation of who this duo was while they were making music together. Their lyrics reflect their deep faith, feisty attitude and creativity in equal measure — from sentimental ballads to upbeat beach party-style tunes. Some of the songs tell compelling stories that aren’t even their own.

Top 5 Joey + Rory Songs:

“When I’m Gone”

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This somber tune took on a new level of gravity light of Joey’s cancer. “When I’m Gone,” sung by Joey, is a ballad written from the perspective of a wife speaking to her husband about what will happen when she is no longer around. Though it is a heavy song, it carries with it an air of hope and unwavering joy, traits with which the duo has become nearly synonymous. “You’ll be ok, that first day when I’m gone,” Joey sings alight with candles in the music video, interspersed with scenes of Rory alone in a rocking chair or on their farm, tears running down each of their faces. Though the song was not written by Joey + Rory, it speaks directly to the strength of their relationship and faith. The song was released as the first single on the duo’s third album, His and Hers, in 2012.

“Cheater, Cheater”

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“Cheater, Cheater,” released in 2008, was the lead-off single from the duo’s debut album The Life of a Song. It’s a classic telling-off by a woman scorned — a sassy response to unfaithfulness tinged with irreverence and an indignant anger hidden behind Joey’s sweet smile. Though the song is assumably not autobiographical, the duo conveys the story with pure emotion and their signature bluegrass-infused style, a quality that earned Joey + Rory a Top 40 hit with the song. Cowritten by the artists, “Cheater, Cheater” hit No. 30 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Country Songs chart and No. 23 on the Bubbling Under Top 100. The song put the husband and wife duo on the map in country music.


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A touching song of a Civil War soldier writing home, “Josephine” is proof of Joey + Rory’s ability to weave a story and tell it with conviction, even when it is not specifically theirs. The Confederate soldier tells Josephine about the bleak conditions he and the rest of the troops are experiencing — harsh weather, illness — and encourages her to tell the children he misses them. He tells of his regrets on the battle field and adds that he hopes she can move on if he doesn’t make it back. Of course, his parting line is how much he loves her. “Josephine” was the second single on their third record His and Hers.

“Play the Song”

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Listening to Joey + Rory’s music, fans quickly learn that no one is going to make them into anything other than who they are. “Play the Song” is a testament to that tenacity and authenticity. It tells the story of an executive trying to convince the band to tweak their tune — making a few changes here, a few changes there, ultimately changing the expression of who the artists are. The song is a feisty retort, telling the powers-that-be to simply let the people hear the song as-is decide whether it’s good or not, rather than trying to anticipate what will sell and adjusting accordingly. The humorous video even features Joey + Rory dressing up in different looks, including one particularly out-of-character punk-rock vibe. “Play the Song” was the follow-up single on their debut album The Life of a Song, a Top 10 album on the Billboard Country Album charts.

“This Song’s For You” Ft. Zac Brown Band

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The first single from Joey + Rory’s sophomore album, appropriately titled Album Number Two, “This Song’s for You” is a tribute to all the average Americans across the nation who make the country great by doing ordinary jobs and working tirelessly for their families. The video features a vast array of people holding up signs with their profession written on them, including everything from “receptionist” to “mechanic” to “high school student.” The artists dedicate the song to those individuals, singing “we’re up on this stage, but you’re the star.” The duo brought in Zac Brown Band to guest on the track, and the tune features Brown’s lead vocals on the bridge and last chorus. Co-written by Rory and Brown, the song was released in 2010, and though it didn’t chart, its sincere message makes it a fan favorite.

Joey Feek’s Life in Her Words

Next: Joey Feek Dead at 40

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