Rory Feek is headed to Los Angeles in honor of his late wife Joey. The pair notched a Granny Awards nomination in the Best Roots Gospel album category for 2016’s Hymns. The album represents the last piece of work the duo recorded together.
Last year, Joey+Rory couldn’t attend the award ceremony due to Joey’s illness. Though she wanted Rory to go, he refused and instead watched at home alongside his wife. “Now I am even more thankful that I am going because she did want me to go,” Rory Feek says.
Last year, the duo received a nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. Their song “If I Needed You” ultimately lost to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” But their nomination altogether represented a strong sign of solidarity from the music community.
This year, the pair have a much better shot at winning. Their album Hymns lines up against a traditionally light category. Plus, it’s just a downright inspiring roots gospel album.
Rory Feek told the Associated Press that the recording process differed greatly due to Joey’s treatment for cervical cancer. “It was hard for her, but it was a reprieve for her because she loved those songs so much,” Rory says. “In the midst of hard things she was dealing with, that was the thing she was really excited about.”
Hymns certainly rewarded the pair for their tenacity. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart. As the year went on, sales stayed steady. By the end of the year, the record landed among the best-selling country albums of 2016.
Sadly, Joey didn’t get to see the success in person. She passed away in March 2016, but much of her legacy lives on not just in the music Joey + Rory made, but in their young daughter, Indiana. Rory Feek doesn’t play much guitar or sing anymore, but Joey’s previously shelved debut record from 2002 will finally be released later this year.