Tag Archives: dolly parton

This Life They Lived: Joey and Rory Feek

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.

Other artists such as Eric Paslay, Charles Kelley, the Eli Young Band, and many more have shown their support through social media as well.

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.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Classic Country, News

Young Country

Most people assume that being the youngest child of a family is synonymous with being a spoiled brat, but I think otherwise.  Has anyone ever thought that maybe a child is a spoiled brat because their parents allow that? I, for one, am the youngest of four children and work for everything in life. For me, this is easily relatable to classic country music. Many songs like Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” express hardworking woman, without discriminating against age or what number child you are.  dolly-parton-press-2014-650-430

Sure, there will be spoiled brats that just so happen to be the youngest child, but that goes for all stereotypes.

There’s more to being the youngest than just getting people to see you for you. Some of the biggest issues of being the youngest child are “How will I get people to stop stereotyping me?” or “Will I ever be able to break out of the shadows of my older siblings?”

Frankly, I can’t help if my parents look at me as their “baby” because I am. I’ll admit that, but it doesn’t mean I had any control over the matter. As soon as people hear I’m the youngest of four kids, they automatically begin to assume I’m either a trouble maker (which in fact is my sister-number 3) or I get what I want. While “The Baby” by Blake Shelton tunes into the youngest child stereotype, it also does a great job of describing how my mother sees me.

635511422966331949-XXX-GARTH-BROOKS-MUS-jy-0170-The same concept could go for people who are only children or the middle child. No matter where you are in the pecking order, it seems like you have a stereotype. Truth be told, I did tattle when I was younger, but as far as I’m concerned everyone has at some point or another. It even seems like youngest children get the most grief from their older siblings when they get older about their past. However, I’ve always found comfort in country music growing up. No matter how much my siblings and I fought, when we turned on Garth Brooks or the Dixie Chicks, we put all matters aside.

Despite what others may think, I know many youngest children who actually end up baring the most responsibility of any of their siblings. Getting a job and paying for my own things came naturally to me, but when I’d treat myself to things, I still would get stereotypical thoughts that my parents paid for it. If there is one thing that country music has taught me, and that I’ve been able to relate to my situation, is that hard work won’t always go unnoticed. If I keep fighting against these stereotypes, people may see me for me, not as the youngest child.

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Filed under Blog Post 1, Reflection, Song Analysis, Women

Your New Brad Paisley Playlist

Brad PaisleyWritten by Dustin Hixenbaugh

Brad Paisley, if you don’t already know, has made a career that many performers would envy by singing songs that are just a little catchier, just a little smarter than the other fluff typically playing on the country radio. In the decade and a half since the release of his first album, Who Needs Pictures (1999), he has hit #1 on the Hot Country chart 18 times, won the Country Music Association’s prestigious Entertainer of the Year Award (2010), and built a large and (mostly) loyal following of country and country-pop listeners.

It is true that Paisley’s biggest chart-toppers have been of the Interchangeable Love Ballad variety, including “We Danced” (2000), “She’s Everything” (2006), “Then” (2009), and “Remind Me” (2011), the last of these a double-platinum duet with Carrie Underwood. But these predictable hits had their purpose. They kept Paisley affording the hats he likes to throw out at his live shows, and they lured new listeners to his albums, where they would be surprised with edgier guitar solos, jam sessions with Alan Jackson and Keith Urban, comedic banter with veterans like Bill Anderson, George Jones, and Buck Owens, and the occasional critical perspective on pop and southern culture.

Last year’s Wheelhouse album took the experimentation and critical perspective a bit too far in the eyes of conservative listeners. Although the record still reached #1 and #2 on the country and pop charts, respectively, none of its singles became major hits. “Accidental Racist,” the controversial duet with LL Cool J, topped out at #22, “Southern Comfort Zone” at #10. Even “Beat This Summer,” the album’s most toothless track, stalled at #9. Sure, a lot of artists would kill for this much radio play, but for Paisley it was a slap on the hand. The Wheelhouse singles rank among the least successful in his career.

This brings us to last Tuesday and the debut of his new album, Moonshine in the Trunk.

Moonshine in the TrunkI’m still working my way through it, but from what I’ve heard, it doesn’t seem to cover new ground as much as it returns to the themes and instrumentation that fueled Paisley’s rise to fame in the mid-2000s. Whether the radio will forgive him for Wheelhouse (“Accidental Racist” in particular) is yet to be determined. But still, Moonshine should reassure wandering Paisley fans that he’s still catchy, he’s still clever, and he’s still tossing back beers on the lake.

The Playlist

I always look forward to my favorite artists’ new albums because they give me an excuse to revise my iTunes playlists. My current Paisley Playlist has 24 tracks, though I suppose this number could change depending on how much I end up loving Moonshine. 

The ten songs I have listed below, however, won’t be going anywhere. Some of them are older hits people seem to have forgotten about in the midst of the Wheelhouse fallout, and some of them are album cuts that never made it to the radio. Whatever you think of his recent work, it is hard to deny that Paisley has performed some of the twenty-first century’s more moving/thought-provoking country songs. These may just be my favorites.

1. “He Didn’t Have to Be” (1999). Paisley’s first #1 hit, from the album Who Needs Pictures, casts an admiring look on the singer’s stepfather. It’s a syrupy song that shares some qualities with the Interchangeable Love Ballads I dismissed earlier, but I’ll forgive this since the story is told so clearly and with such sincere emotion. Paisley would revisit the theme of fatherhood in the more recent chart-topper, “Anything Like Me” (2010).

2. “Celebrity” (2003) / 3. “Alcohol” (2005). He doesn’t always get the credit he deserves for it, but Paisley is a gifted comedian. In “Celebrity,” from the Mud on the Tires album, he laughs about the reality TV phenomenon, which makes celebrities out of just about anyone (and which has become somewhat ironic given his new role as a judge on ABC’s Rising Star series). “Alcohol,” from Time Well Wasted, describes drinking-related incidents that are funny, but only when they’re not happening to you. Kind of like a hangover.

Brad Paisley & Dolly Parton4. “When I Get Where I’m Going” (2005). With Dolly Parton on harmony, this is probably the most spiritual track that Paisley has released as a single. His motivation to record it, I remember him saying, was the recent death of a favorite aunt. In any case, the song was an unlikely #1 in 2005–Paisley’s 5th, Parton’s 25th. It also features some of Paisley’s strangest imagery, including flying through the sky and running fingers through a lion’s mane. What?!

5. “364 Days to Go” (2006). The Brad Paisley Christmas album consists of mostly forgettable holiday covers like “Winter Wonderland” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” But this track, written from the perspective of a father relaxing on the couch at the end of a long Christmas Day, is special. We may have over a hundred days to go until the next Christmas, but that’s no excuse not to appreciate spending time with the people we love.

6. “Letter to Me” (2007) / 7. “Some Mistakes (2007). Following “When I Get Where I’m Going,” Paisley continued to express his nostalgic side, first in Brad Paisley Christmas and then in 5th Gear (which, for the record, is my favorite of his albums). In “Letter to Me,” he inverts the classic school tradition of writing a letter to your future self by thinking about the advice he would send back to his high school self. What would he change? Surprisingly, very little. “Some Mistakes,” which is an album cut that should have been a single, continues the carpe diem theme: “Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.”

8. “Ticks” (2007). In “Mud on the Tires” (2003), Paisley proved he wasn’t above singing about barroom romance. But in “Ticks” he takes the theme further, delivering with perfect comic timing some of country music’s best cheesy pick-up lines, ranging from “I wish I was your beer” to “I’d like to check you for ticks.” As I imagine him, this song’s narrator is just one beer shy of singing Paisley’s other great drinking song, “Alcohol.”

9. “Welcome to the Future” (2009) / 10. “Southern Comfort Zone” (2013). Even people who say they agree with the principles guiding “Accidental Racist” dismiss it as poorly written and performed. These criticisms certainly don’t apply to all of Paisley’s attempts at social relevancy. In fact, “Welcome to Future,” which reflects on the historic Obama election, and “Southern Comfort Zone,” which points out that even country folks can be open-minded citizens of the world, are some of the strongest recordings in his catalog. Also, of all Paisley’s songs, “Welcome to the Future” is probably my favorite.

Do you also have a Paisley playlist? If so, what’s on it? Share in the comments!

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Filed under Lists, New Country, Song Analysis