(Sugar Hill Records)
The husband and wife duo of Joey+
Rory surprised the country music industry when the couple's debut album cracked the Top 10. Of course, competing on CMT's reality show "Can You Duet" didn't hurt album sales.
The pair, who will perform at Rose State Performing Arts Theatre on Sept. 30, are back for their second effort with the cheekily titled "Album No. 2," a 12-song record that is charming and underwhelming in its simplicity. Give the title track credit for its originality. Joey and Rory Feek (wife Joey takes lead vocals) whimsically share their concern over whether their sophomore effort will be a success, the origin of its creation and place their bets on whether they'll get to record a third album.
From there, Joey+Rory belt out effortless ditties about being a mother, father and spouse. "That's Important to Me" and "Born to Be Your Woman" will appeal to the Pioneer Woman crowd, and "You Ain't Right" is a cute toe-tapper. "Baby I'll Come Back" expands on the traditional cheating song with lines such as "I'd say chances are mighty slim / That Chris Gaines or me are coming back again," taking a good-hearted jab at Garth Brooks' alter ego. Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band contributes vocals on "This Song's for You," an attempt to placate blue-collar America that, due to lack of originality and heart, comes off feeling disingenuous.
Rory Feek is the primary songwriter and offers up a few pleasing melodies with simple arrangements. Meanwhile, Joey Feek won't win any vocalist of the year awards. Her vocals are thin and not nearly strong enough to carry an album. But knowing there's a doting husband singing backup somehow makes the lack of talent palatable.
Joey+Rory, from the plus sign in their stage name to their song choices, are pure novelty. Their songs are ditties, their image is cheesy (the husband's claim to fame is wearing overalls), and their product is easily digestible. The duo's song choices and skills are pleasing enough to prevent this novelty from being annoying. "Album No. 2" is like cotton candy: light and sweet without much substance.
— Ben Scott