GRAMMY®-nominated, husband-and-wife country music duo Joey+Rory have announced the release of an all-new recording. Hymns That Are Important to Us (Gaither Music Group).
“I refer to [this] as Joey’s album--the one she’s always wanted to make–filled with the hymns she grew up singing,” described Rory. “It was early in the spring when we started talking about the record…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….
“So we recorded in between some of her treatments after the surgery. Sometimes in the evenings I would get out a microphone, and my wife sang the vocals in our hotel room in Atlanta because she wanted to see this record happen. She did her vocals where she could--in hotel rooms, at our house, wherever and whenever she felt up to singing.”
As reported on Rory’s blog www.thislifeilive.com and covered by major media outlets across the country, Joey has been fighting Stage 4 cancer for over six months. During that time she and Rory have turned to family, friends and their faith as never before. And they have turned to hymns—timeless melodies with messages that continue to carry them through a difficult and inspiring journey of faith.
The songs Joey picked and the words she recorded were especially significant to her as she has found strength in them through her highly-publicized health battle. The release features songs such as “It Is Well with My Soul,” “How Great Thou Art,” “I Surrender All” and “I Need Thee Every Hour.”
“A lot has taken place in a year’s time, but through it all these songs have given me such strength,” stated Joey. “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…
’Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand. I’m tired…I’m weak…I’m worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.’
“I remember waking up--it was about two days after my surgery--at one point in the middle of the night,” recalled Joey. “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 [the hymn], ‘I need Thee, oh I need Thee, every hour I need thee….’
“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. [This song] has got us through so much at every hour that we needed Him…He continues to watch over us and take care of us. People every day who don’t have cancer who are dealt with trials or family issues or whatever it might be…we need Him. It doesn’t matter what it is, and when we think that we can get by on our own we’re so wrong….”
“[Hymns] have met generations of people at their moments of need, which is incredible,” Rory described. “As a songwriter…we’re moved that someone will sing along with one of our songs today, but imagine them singing along with one of our songs in 100 years. That’s an incredible achievement, and I think it’s mostly because there are things that don’t last and things that do. What these songs are about--they’re gonna matter then just as much as they do now, just as much as they did 100 years ago. That’s pretty special.
“In early October, we even did a TV taping of these songs in the concert hall at our farm in front of a live audience,” described Rory. “Joey was weak and it was difficult for her, but she was determined…these are the songs that are most important to her….”
The family has spent the past few months in Joey’s hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, near Joey’s family. Rory and their daughter Heidi went into Bill Gaither’s nearby studio to add harmony parts to Joey’s lead vocals for the recording while in that area. The DVD includes a special, behind-the-scenes interview with Gaither and Joey+Rory recorded at their farm in Tennessee; and the audio recording includes a moving re-release of the song “When I’m Gone,” found on Joey+Rory’s His and Hers recording (Sugar Hill Records/Vanguard Records, divisions of Concord Music Group, Inc.), a fan favorite.