Joey Feek: Hymns on New Album ‘Have Given Me Such Strength’
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Joey + Rory singer Joey Feek is approaching the final days of her life, but she was very insistent that the duo complete their final album, Hymns That Are Important to Us, while she still could. She explains that the classic hymns they’ve recorded “have given me such strength” during her battle with cancer.
Joey was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in June of 2015, and after a long and painful battle, she decided to end her treatments after doctors told her there was nothing more they could do. She is in hospice care in her hometown of Alexandria, Ind., as she faces the end of her life, surrounded by friends and family. The new hymns album will stand as Joey + Rory’s final recordings together.
“It was early in the spring when we started talking about the record,” Rory Feek says in a press release for the album. “We began recording it in a studio in Nashville early in the summer, just after recovering from her first big surgery in Chicago. She championed it … and even with all she’s gone through, there might have been a few things that changed, but that record was not gonna stop.”
They ended up recording whenever they could, including vocal sessions in a hotel room between treatments. Joey fought on because she believed in the project so much, and she says the songs themselves helped her through.
“A lot has taken place in a year’s time, but through it all, these songs have given me such strength,” she states. “They’ve given me such hope, and they give me something to look forward to. I think that a lot of times, when we don’t know what to say … you don’t know what to pray … you don’t know how to even begin … I think that’s, for me, where these hymns have come into play so much.”
A prime example is “I Need Thee Every Hour.” Joey recalls waking up in the middle of the night two days after her surgery, and singing the song out of sheer gratitude.
“I’m hooked up to every machine possible; and out of just complete thankfulness that I came through, I remember having the strength to sit up enough, and my hands just elevated over my head, and I sang, ‘I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour, I need Thee,’” she recounts. “Every hour, He got me through … and it was hard, and I needed Him every hour, and I still do to this day — there are days that are just hard.”
Ultimately, that’s why the project is so important to her, and she hopes to impart that same kind of strength to others through the music as they go through the trials of their own lives.
“People every day who don’t have cancer who are dealt with trials or family issues or whatever it might be … we need Him,” Joey states. “It doesn’t matter what it is, and when we think that we can get by on our own, we’re so wrong.”
Hymns That Are Important to Us is set for release on Friday, Feb. 12 in a special deluxe edition that will be available exclusively at Cracker Barrel locations across America. The project is currently available for pre-order exclusively via Cracker Barrel’s website. Joey + Rory also filmed a performance of some of the songs in October for a DVD. Watch a trailer in the clip above.
See Joey + Rory Through the Years