It was right after Joey Feek had undergone surgery for cervical cancer when she and her husband, Rory, (collectively Joey + Rory) began recording an album of Christian songs. Choosing hymns that Joey sang growing up, the couple relied on the creation of Hymns That Are Important to Us as a form of treatment, along with chemotherapy, radiation and additional surgeries.
Rory recalled the recording of the Hymns album in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Sometimes in the evenings I would get out a microphone, and my wife sang the vocals in our hotel room 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.”
Joey lost her battle with cancer on March 4, 2016 at the age of 40. On Feb. 12, only a few weeks before Joey’s untimely passing, the couple released the album and was able to experience one more success as a musical duo — Hymns’ debut at No. 1 on the Country and Christian album charts. The album remained at No. 1 in its second week, later experiencing a spike in sales after Joey’s death.
Now, with two months since its release, the album remains in the Top 10 of Billboard‘s all-genre chart, making it the best-selling Christian album of the year. In true “save the best for last” fashion, Hymns has now also become the most successful album in the couple’s musical catalog.