In January of 2016 when Joey Feek was battling with the cervical Cancer that would eventually take her life, Saving Country Music told the story of Joey Feek’s major label debut album on Sony that was never released. Originally called Strong Enough to Cry, it was recorded in 2002 with producer Paul Worley (known for working with The Dixie Chicks and Martina McBride), and songwriter and performer Billy Crain.
Since it was a major label album and Joey was still a new artist at the time (and known as Joey Martin—she wouldn’t marry Rory Feek until later), she was forced to put herself in the hands of the Sony staff, and hoped for the best. “I really never found all the great songs [for the album] I was hoping to,” Joey said in 2008. “Looking back, it’s nothing I would record today. But at the time, I was really proud of it.”
Right as Joey’s album was getting ready to be released, Sony went through a regime change, and along with the label reshuffling, Strong Enough to Cry was completely shelved. One of the potential reasons is that during the album-making process, Joey met Rory Feek—her eventual husband and duo partner. According to Rory, Sony management wasn’t particularly happy about their marriage. Perhaps they believed an unmarried Joey would be better for marketing. Aside from some limited releases by Joey+Rory from the album through their website, Joey’s Sony debut has yet to be heard by the public.
But all that is about to change. Gaither Music Group is planning to finally release the album, now called If Not For You, on April 7th, 2017. Physical copies will feature a 48-page booklet of photos, memories and stories penned by Joey, her family, and husband Rory. The album includes the original rendition of the song “That’s Important to Me,” and cameo appearances from Joey’s parents and a tribute to her late brother.
Joey + Rory’s final album Hymns That Are Important to Us was one of the best selling country albums in all of 2016, debuting at #1, and selling over 500,000 copies at last count, and being Certified Gold by the RIAA despite no radio play in country.
Joey Martin Feek passed away on March 4th, 2016.
1. Intro (Have I Told You Lately That I Love You)
2. Strong Enough To Cry
3. That’s Important To Me
4. When The Needle Hit the Vinyl
5. Nothing To Remember
6. The Cowboy’s Mine
7. If Not For You
8. Southern Girl
10. Like A Rodeo (with Paul Overstreet)
11. See You There
12. Old Paint