"We're just not built that way. We live on a farm," says Rory. "We're aware of that stuff, but we're both at a place in our lives where we love country music, and we miss certain kinds of traditional country music so we're just going to do what we do. If you liked the first album, you'll probably like a lot of the stuff on the second album. We're not adjusting things because it went well on the first album. We're just continuing to be who we are, and hopefully that works out."
So far, it's working well for Joey + Rory. Even with country's current pop tendencies, the couple has clearly found an audience that is more interested in autoharp rather than Autotune.
"There's so many different varieties of country music," says Joey. "It's constantly swinging. It seems like it's going more pop, but the further pop you go, there's this huge pull toward traditional country music. And that's all that we know how to sing, that's all we know how to write, and that's all that we're really interested in doing."
Rory worked with a variety of co-writers on "Album Number 2" - All You Need is Me is the lone song he wrote alone - but one name among his collaborators stands out. The album's closer, This Song's For You, was written with Zac Brown when Joey + Rory were touring with Brown last year and then filed away. When the duo hit the road with ZBB earlier this year, they started talking about songs they could do together.
"In the encore, Zac wanted us to play that song," says Rory. "It was such a moment live; we came out with Zac right after Chicken Fried, and we sang that song, and it just exploded onstage. We'd never felt anything like it before. We were already done with our album, and we weren't really sure about putting it on the album. But we love the song, and we thought we would capture that so that's really why it's there. We were young in our careers, and the song happened, and it‘s been so much fun to play with them so we added it, and it was a nice addition."
There's an old proverb, which maintains that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and another that espouses the inverse of that idea, that familiarity breeds contempt. It takes an exceptional couple to live and work together, and Joey is quick to point out that she and Rory are that couple.
"Not to make you sick or nothing, but Rory and I are best friends," she says with a laugh. "We got into this relationship and got married right away. It was just one of those things where we knew that we were supposed to be together and every minute of our lives have been a blessing. Sure, there's the first year or two of marriage that you're adapting, and Rory had two teenage daughters so it was a transition, but we were so happy five years into our marriage, and then this happened."
From the triumph of their top three finish on "Can You Duet" to the successes of "The Life of a Song" and "Album Number 2" and the hard work required to support them to all the setbacks that accompany a music career, Joey and Rory Feek have navigated it all with an abiding belief in each other. And that might be their greatest success of all.
"It is a journey, and it's exciting, but it's difficult," says Joey honestly. "It takes you far from home, and you have to be on when it's hard to be, but because we're so close, it's not a challenge. We never feel like, ‘I need my own time, go do your thing, and I'll do mine.' Rory is very computer techy, and I'm more about gardening and roping and being outdoors, but we share so many common things, that when we're home, that's our sanity and our time to reflect. Our perfect date night is making a campfire and cooking steaks over the fire and having a glass of wine and decompressing. But we don't want to be separate for one minute. After eight years of marriage, I think that says something."