Sunday, May 16, 2010

Joey + Rory, "That's Important to Me"

NOTE:  "That's Important to Me" was originally slated to be the album's first single, but it now appears that "This Song's For You" will be released instead.  This review was written prior to, and does not reflect the change.

Joey Martin Feek of the husband-and-wife duo Joey + Rory will tell you herself how the idea for this song came about. "So one day we just literally made a list of all the things that were important to me growing up, what I wanted to help instill in our girls, and this is what came out." The end result is one of the best and most beautiful country songs of 2010.

"That's Important to Me" is the first single from Joey + Rory's upcoming second album, aptly titled Album #2, set for a June release. Part of the song describes simple little pleasures of life that many take for granted (From "Openin' the windows and lettin' in some air" to "Feedin' my family a home-cooked meal"). As the verses progresses, the song focuses on important values ("Tellin' the truth and bein' real"), and on the commitment in Joey and Rory's relationship as a married couple. ("Always havin' you to hold/ Bein' beside you when we're growin' old") They look toward the future as the song closes with "Believin' our dreams will take us somewhere/ Still bein' ourselves if we ever get there." Thus, instead of sounding like a mess of cliches, the song comes off as an open and honest statement of who Joey and Rory are as people.

One of the important things Joey mentions is "keepin' it country on the radio," and Joey + Rory are definitely keepin' it country with this single. There are no wild bass lines, no fiery electic guitar solos; there aren't even any drums. The song is primarily backed with Rory's acoustic guitar, with the occasional piano notes, and the soft twang of a steel guitar. A dobro is also included, giving the song some bluegrass feel. Joey doesn't try to blow us away with her vocals. Instead of screeching at the top of her lungs, she sings in a soft, sweet, and understated manner that could hardly be more lovely to listen to. The instrumentation combined with the vocal delivery give the song one of its most notable traits - elegant simplicity. Thus, with strong lyrics, pleasing instrumentation, and excellent vocals, Joey + Rory have turned in one of the best performances of their career.

After taking third place on Season 1 of CMT's Can You Duet, Joey + Rory have received little support from country radio. Their first single, "Cheater, Cheater" clocked in at a rather un-impressive #30, and their two susequent radio offerings failed to chart. It's uncertain if "That's Important to Me" will receive more spins than its predecessors. But this is one song that the programming directors would do well to pay attention to, since it just might be one of country radio's most memorable moments.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)
HEAR IT: (Live acoustic version)