On Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2016, husband-and-wife duo Joey + Rory will release an LP of sacred songs. Titled Hymns That Are Important to Us, and featuring such familiar songs as "The Old Rugged Cross," "Softly and Tenderly" and "I'll Fly Away," the new collection will be released as part of the Gaither Gospel Series, which includes the couple's 2013 album and DVD, Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family. (See the complete Hymns track listing below.)
The duo's Joey Martin Feek recorded vocals for the album last summer. Feek has since returned to her home in Indiana, after ending treatment for Stage IV cervical cancer one month ago. Since his wife was diagnosed, Rory Feek has updating his deeply personal blog with details about her illness, sharing the couple's personal reflections throughout the difficult process.
On Monday, November 23rd, a post titled "Manna From Heaven" was accompanied by a picture of the snowy Indiana landscape out the Indiana farmhouse where Joey Feek was raised. In the post, Feek explained that his wife had said she didn't think she would ever see snow again.
"She looked at me, then raised her eyes up at the sky and said, 'If this is the last snow I ever see, thank you Jesus… thank you,'" he writes. "Like manna from Heaven. God sent us just what we needed… just when we needed it. He always does."
The post was accompanied by a video of snowy scenes Feek captured around the farmhouse, with Joey's poignant vocal on one of the songs from the collection, "It Is Well with My Soul."
Feek notes that for his wife the album is "the one she's always wanted to make – filled with the hymns she grew up with."
Recorded in Nashville last summer, Joey was then recovering from her first major surgery in Chicago. Her vocals for the album were recorded when and where she was able and depended largely on how she was feeling at the time. In early October, Joey + Rory filmed a concert of the songs in the hall at their farm in front of a live audience. Although Feek says his wife was weak and the performance was difficult, she was determined because the record means so much to her.
Last week, Rory Feek's daughter, Heidi, accompanied her dad at gospel legend Bill Gaither's studio in Joey's hometown of Alexandria, adding harmony parts to her vocals.
"It's going to be special," he writes. "Like me with the snow, I think Joey wants to capture the words and music of her childhood. The music that she goes to when she needs comfort. The music that makes this beautiful, tragic, crazy life somehow make sense. I think she wants to capture this music so we can take it home with us. All of us. And have it forever."
Here is the Hymns That Are Important to Us track listing:
1. "Jesus Paid It All"
2. "I Need Thee Every Hour"
3. "Take My Hand, Precious Lord"
4. "He Touched Me"
5. "I Surrender All"
7. "Jesus Loves Me"
8. "It Is Well With My Soul"
9. "The Old Rugged Cross"
10. "How Great Thou Art"
11. "Softly and Tenderly"
12. "I'll Fly Away"