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Joey + Rory

Album Number Two – 2010 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Joey + Rory

It's almost easy, many in the recording industry may tell you, to have a hit debut album, but it's that follow-up that will make or break you. After you've used up all your best material on that first record, what do you do for an encore? Joey Martin and husband Rory Feek turned success on CMT's "Can You Duet" into a highly regarded freshman effort, "The Life of a Song." Lest anyone think that led to complacency or predictability, the opening title track on "Album #2" will disabuse that notion. In what's coming to be their trademark wry, good-natured style, they note that success can mean that your biggest obstacles can sometimes be the people who are supposed to be on your side.

The foundation of their sound continues to be Martin's sweet, sultry lead vocals coupled with Feek's intelligent and perceptive songwriting, though he continues to emerge as a singer on tunes like the moving tribute to his own father, My Ol' Man. For those of a certain age, God Help My Man will echo of the playful '60s-era Loretta Lynn/Ernest Tubb duets, and it takes a certain attitude to work in themes like road kill and breast reduction without going over the top - but they get away with it. The second album may not be twice the fun of the first, but it's at least as much.