If you have been watching any form of entertainment news lately, or have been scrolling through any social media platform, there is a high chance you have come across the names Joey and Rory Feek. I did many times, so I decided to do some searching and find out more about their story.
Rory Feek has been a prominent name in the country music industry since 1996. He wrote hit songs for artists such as Clay Walker,Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Randy Travis, and many more! In 2002, Rory married Joey months after they met at a songwriter night in Nashville. In an interview with Country Standard Time Rory said, “We got into this relationship and got married right away. It was just one of those things where we knew that we were supposed to be together and every minute of our lives has been a blessing.” They became a duo and debuted their first album, “The Life of Song”, on July 25, 2009.
Joey and Rory Feek welcomed their first daughter, Indiana Boone, on February 17, 2014 who was born with Down Syndrome. Four months later in June 2014, Joey Feek was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The cancer returned in 2015 and had spread to her colon. The cancer became terminal in October so the couple decided to stop treatment. Joey and Rory moved in with her parents in Alexandria, Indiana and entered hospice care in November. Joey made it a goal to live to see Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, the Grammys and her daughters second birthday.
After passing all these goals Joey took her last breath on March 4, 2016. “She is in Heaven,” her husband wrote on his blog. “The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry.” Rory has been keeping a blog of their story since the beginning of 2014. His blog is called “This Life I Live: scenes from one man’s extraordinary, ordinary life”
It was Joey who originally encouraged him to do so because he wasn’t writing songs at the time. “I don’t know why,” Rory writes, “I don’t have a plan or a purpose for this blog, other than to capture as much of these days and these moments as I can in posts, and share them with others.” If you visit the site, which I highly recommend, grab some tissues because Rory speaks from the heart and holds nothing back.
Joey Feek’s battle with cancer has caught the attention of many other people in the country industry. Dolly Parton, Joey’s biggest idol, sent a video to the Feek’s showing her support and encouragement.
In a blog post on February 29, 2016 Rory wrote “That this life she’s living might impact the life of someone that she and I will never meet, and never see, at least this side of heaven. That is a good thing. No, that is a great thing. Thank you.”
I think it is safe to say Joey has made an impact on the country community and everyone that has gotten the chance to hear their story full of love, faith, and fight. Rest in Peace Joey Feek, country music and its fans will miss you here on Earth.
After hearing that Trace has a new album set to come out sometime in January of 2016 I knew I wanted to write my blog post about him. I have been raised a fan of Trace Adkins and I believe everyone needs to check him out or at least give him a second chance. Trace Adkins has been around since the middle of the 90’s but recently he has been sliding under the radar of all the flashy new young stars. Among teens and young adults he is certainly not as popular as artists like todays Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan but most can still say they recognize his classic deep voice in a few of his songs such as, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, “You’re Gonna Miss This”, and “Ladies Love Country Boys”.
I know many people think Trace only makes cheesy overly country songs such as “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or “Chrome” but his music varies much more than that. However, sometimes a cheesy country song is just what the mood calls for. If you’re not afraid of a catchy tune that’s just plain fun you should check out, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”, or “Ala-Freakin-Bama”.
Besides these light songs he has much more serious songs that deal with religion, family, love, and the military. As a fan of love in general some of my favorites are Adkin’s ballads. That deep voice and his passion and honesty make him stand out from just any other artist. “This Ain’t No Love Song” and “Love Will”. Trace Adkins is also a family man who has been married twice and has five daughters that he isn’t afraid to sing about. Of course most people know and have been touched by “You’re Gonna Miss This” but if you enjoyed that song or if family is important to you you should check out “Just Fishin”.
Besides just his music Trace Adkins does incredible things for many different charities. He is most well known for the work he does with Wounded Warriors, but he also works with and supports St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, USO, Animal Rescue Foundation, and many more. My dad is a part of an organization in Fort Worth called the Fort Worth Air Power Council that works with service men and women, raises money for their families, and helps aid the wounded and veterans. Through this organization I have got to hear many stories through members who have worked directly with Trace and shared how amazing of a man he is. Trace Adkins has multiple songs about the military if have a family member or friend whos serves, yourself, or just support our military you may want to listen to “Semper Fi”, “All I Ask For Anymore”, “Arlington”, or “Till The Last Shots”.
Another part of why I love Trace Adkins is that he is very down to Earth and real. Trace has suffered loss, been through divorce, he’s been shot, he has had problems with alcohol and has been to rehab, and he’s a dad to five. Trace Adkins doesn’t try to be perfect by any means. He lives his life and supports what he cares about. His career has never been about attention its just him doing what he loves and I believe everyone can appreciate that.
Trace Adkins may not be everyone’s cup of tea and I can accept that. Although, if you haven’t listened to him in awhile or just aren’t sure about him just take some time to try and listen to a few of the songs I mentioned or explore on your own. Trace Adkins is a man that I root for and love supporting and I hope maybe my blog will gain him a few more fans as well! Also, definitely have an ear out in January for his new album and first single off the album titled, “Jesus and Jones”. (The meaning behind the title is quite special and very true for many country singers so I am very excited to hear it!)
Note to students: You’re welcome to comment on this post for a grade.
Earlier this week, the Country Music Hall of Fame formally welcomed its new class of inductees, which included the vocal harmony groups the Browns (in the Veterans Era category) and the Oak Ridge Boys (in the Modern Era category), as well as the iconic guitarist Grady Martin. At some point, the new members and the old members who attended the ceremony got together for the kind of photograph that my family takes after weddings and other family reunions. Looking at the picture, I had the following thoughts:
Of course Brenda Lee is sitting in Grady’s son’s lap. She’s 70 years old and still the queen of the “Christmas party hop.”
What a shame that Jim Ed Brown, the best known of the three Browns, couldn’t make it. At least the Hall of Fame had the heart to bring the medal to his hospital bed before he died.
For all the complaining I do about the Hall of Fame, I have to admit they made a great decision inducting Connie White. Despite the record-shattering success she had with “Once a Day” in 1964, she’s exactly the kind of woman performer that the Hall of Fame typically overlooks.
In this group, Vince Gill (58) and Garth Brooks (53) look like teenagers. Vince needs to shave.
I also couldn’t help but wonder about all the people without medals who were left to stand around eating cocktail weenies on toothpicks while the picture was being taken — among them Garth’s wife Trisha Yearwood and Connie’s husband Marty Stuart.
But Trisha and Marty are only two of many worthy performers who are still waiting for the Hall to welcome them in. Being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame wouldn’t mean anything if they let everybody in, and yet there are some exclusions that make me scratch my head more than others.
Here are five names that I would love to see recognized next year with plaques in that hallowed Nashville rotunda:
1. Rose Maddox
Rose Maddox led a storied career as a sassy country belle for more than 40 years. As the lead vocalist of the Maddox Brothers and Rose in the 1940s and 1950s, she helped invent rockabilly music, she popularized the flashy suits that everyone from Porter Wagoner to Marty Robbins would be wearing by the late 1960s, and she primed the live country scene in California for the likes of Wynn Stewart (also uninducted), Buck Owens, and Merle Haggard. As a soloist in the 1960s, she had several chart hits, and her influence can be heard in many of the women who followed her into the industry, among them Jean Shepard, Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton — all of whom (but Wanda, see below) have beat poor Rose into the Hall of Fame. Seriously, what more can a gal do?
2. Skeeter Davis
In 1953, Skeeter Davis and her friend Betty Jack Davis made history as the first female group to hit #1 on the country charts with “I Forgot More than You’ll Ever Know about Him.” Their hopes of becoming a successful duo were dashed later that summer, when Betty Jack was killed in a car accident. A few years later, Skeeter re-emerged as a solo performer, and in the early 1960s she racked up a number of pop-country crossover hits including “The End of the World,” which is one of the decade’s most enduring songs in any genre. In the 1970s, she shed her image as an innocent girl singer and recorded edgier material including the anti-war song “One Tin Soldier.” Along with Dottie West she is one of the few major stars of the Nashville Sound era who hasn’t yet been recognized by the Hall of Fame.
3. Stonewall Jackson
While we’re on the subject of big stars from the 1960s who’re still waiting for their Hall of Fame plaques, let’s talk about Stonewall Jackson. As one might expect from a guy who was named after a Confederate general, Jackson brought an appreciation of history to some of his biggest hits, among them 1959’s “Waterloo,” which uses Napoleon’s defeat as an allegory for falling in love, and 1966’s “The Minutemen (Are Turning in Their Graves),” which draws a contrast between the American Revolution and the anti-Vietnam protests of the 1960s.
He hasn’t recorded a new album since the late 1970s, but he has continued to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. Why he hasn’t been inducted yet is anybody’s guess. Maybe it’s because the lawsuit he filed against the Opry in 2008 for age discrimination turned some powerful Nashvillians against him. Maybe it’s because the Hall of Fame knows that late night TV shows and The Onion will have a field day if it inducts an artist whose name conjures such strong images of the Confederate south. Whatever the hold-up is, I just hope the Hall gets over it while the guy’s still alive to enjoy it. The pictures of him attending other people’s induction ceremonies are heartbreaking.
4. Wanda Jackson
I fell in love with Wanda Jackson last year, when I caught her performing a live show at the Continental Club. Even at age 77, she was a ball of fire, shrieking like a sex-starved inmate during “Riot in Cell Block #9,” yodeling her way through “I Betcha My Heart I Love You,” and turning the heat up on Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has rightfully recognized her contributions to rock music, but really, rock was a short detour for Jackson, who started her career singing country music and returned to country music when the rockabilly moment passed. In the 60s, she racked up an enviable number of Top 40 country hits, including “The Box It Came In” (1966) and “My Big Iron Skillet” (1969), which warned no-good husbands that their wives might do them in if they didn’t clean up their acts. As a sign of her versatility, Jackson has also recorded albums in German and Japanese.
5. Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank, Jr., has sold 70 million albums over the course of a career that began in in 1964 and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. With eleven #1 songs (and more than 30 others that reached the Top 10), he is, as my country blog-hero Trigger puts it, “the most decorated artist to not be in the Hall of Fame who has been eligible for an extended period.” I don’t care for the guy’s politics, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s a major and positive influence on country music, or that the Hall hasn’t taken too long getting ’round to recognizing him. Make it a “Family Tradition,” y’all.
With the 2015 induction complete, the Country Music Hall of Fame can turn its attention to selecting the next three members to join its exclusive ranks. This country fan can only hope that when the new class is announced early next year that one of these five deserving names will finally be called.
It’s so easy to forget that artists are people with real lives and traumas, not just singer/ song-writers that gain life experience solely for the purpose of putting it in a song. Eddie Montgomery is the better half of the musical group ‘Montgomery Gentry’ alongside Troy Gentry. This past week, Eddie Montgomery’s son was involved in a fatal car accident, a horror I can’t even begin to understand. I spent my entire life listening to Montgomery Gentry on the radio in the car and never once did I wonder about either of their families, or the things they might be dealing with. Upon further investigation, I learned that Montgomery had to undergo treatment for prostate cancer, was divorced by his wife (in the same month), AND closed a restaurant he owned all in under a few years. Doesn’t sound like an easy road to walk to me. I couldn’t have told you ANY of that but I sure can spout their album history off from memory, I could probably hit most of their singles as well.
The duo released their first album in 1999, and ‘Lonely and Gone‘ is one of my favorite country songs to date. Their southern rock influence, in tandem with their small-town, proud and loud personalities makes them one of the cooler country music artists in my opinion, aside from Gentry being kind of a dick, I try not to focus on that too much (exhibit A of people blatantly ignoring a musicians personal life and only caring about their music), alongside my personal favorite Toby Keith. Steven Huey of Allmusic referred to them as “multi-platinum country megastars noted for a soulful twang and a big black cowboy hat” and “rowdy redneck rebels who still hold small-town values”, and I really don’t think I could put it better myself. From ‘Daddy Won’t Sell the Farm” to ‘Work Hard, Play Harder’ their sound has been consistent, rambunctious, and in my opinion, it’s been great.
I don’t know if its really a problem that in lieu of scandal or controversy American culture cares more about the song than the artist behind it, I mean to be fair the singers probably appreciate the distance it gives them. Hunter’s death just brought it to my attention. The personal lives of songwriters are the only thing that influences their songs and we care so little about one and so greatly about the latter. RIP Hunter, and my condolences to Eddie Montgomery.
In December 2012, a shooter took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in an assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. It was the deadliest shooting ever to take place in an American public school.
Two and a half years later, the Sandy Hook Promise organization has put together a concert to raise funds for promoting “gun safety”. Charity concerts happen all the time, but this one is stirring controversy because the man that has agreed to headline it is one of the biggest stars in a genre of music whose fans have clung to their right to bear arms even in the face of mass shootings.
That man is Tim McGraw.
News of the concert was spread by the conservative media outlet Breitbart in an article titled “Country Singers Tim McGraw, Billy Currington Headlining Gun Control Fundraiser.” (Currington had been scheduled as the opening act.) In the comments, Breitbart‘s readers expressed their dismay, claiming that McGraw had abandoned the principles of the country music fans that bought his records. Some readers even suggested that his participation in the concert might end his career. As the user WyoAndy put it, “So I guess you will be able to see Tim McGraw and Billy Currington opening for the dixie chicks real soon at the Paramus, Nj holiday inn! They are both dead to me!”
Trigger, over at Saving Country Music, argues that Breitbart is being intentionally inflammatory. McGraw agreed to do the show because he has personal ties to one of the victims of the shooting. Moreover, the concert is raising funds for gun safety, not gun control. After the Breitbart article went viral the organization released a statement clarifying its purposes:
Sandy Hook Promise supports the 2nd Amendment and is not anti-gun. We recognize an individual’s right to bear arms and support millions of law-abiding citizens in the United States who own firearms. Our primary focus is preventing children from being harmed by gun violence…
We support policy that helps identify, intervene and stop at-risk individuals from hurting themselves or others. And, we support laws that will help to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerously ill people and criminals, as well as out of the reach of children to prevent unintentional shooting deaths and injuries that have become much too frequent.
McGraw, in a statement for The Washington Times, takes a similar stance:
Let me be clear regarding the concert for Sandy Hook given much of the erroneous reporting thus far. As a gun owner, I support gun ownership. I also believe that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety – most certainly when it relates to what we value most, our children. I can’t imagine anyone who disagrees with that…
Through a personal connection, I saw first-hand how the Sandy Hook tragedy affected families and I felt their pain. The concert is meant to do something good for a community that is recovering.
And yet despite these attempts at damage control the concert continues eliciting outrage among fans of country music. Buckling under the pressure, Currington announced on Thursday night that he would not be playing the charity concert though he will open for the other shows on McGraw’s summer tour. Guns rights advocates took Currington’s cancellation as proof that they had been right all along — that the concert had been organized to deprive them of their firearms.
The controversy raises a number of questions that I would love to hear your thoughts about in the comments (or your own posts). Why are guns such a big deal for fans of country music? Do you agree that every “authentic” country performer should support the Second Amendment? Should McGraw have agreed to perform the Sandy Hook Promise concert? Should Currington have pulled out of it?
Most importantly, do you think WyoAndy is right that the controversy signals the end of McGraw’s career? Is he the new Dixie Chicks?