One year after the death of his wife, Joey Feek, Christian singer/songwriter Rory Feek has honored her memory by making her solo album a reality.
Joey's newly-released album, If Not For You, is a 12-song collection featuring a 48-page booklet of photos, memories, and stories penned by her husband.
In a recent post on his personal blog, This Life I Live, Rory, 51, shared how the album was originally recorded in 2005, when the Feeks were newlyweds.
"At that time, we had high hopes for the record Joey made that spring. Both Joey and I did. We prayed that God would bless those songs, and that her dream of following in her hero Dolly's footsteps would come true, Rory shared. "But God had a different plan. Looking back years later, it was easy for Joey and me to see that God didn't say no at the time ... instead, what He said was, 'Not right now.'"
The country duo worked tirelessly to bring the album to the public, but the timing wasn't right, Rory said.
He reflected: "Joey was beyond brokenhearted. And I was brokenhearted for her. The record in its original form (using her maiden name, and titled Strong Enough To Cry) has sat quietly on a shelf for the last 10 years, waiting for the right time to come along ... when maybe, somehow, someone would care. A time like now."
Sadly, Joey passed away last March after a lengthy battle with cervical cancer and never got to see her dream come true. However, Rory said he's "so proud" that her album is finally getting the chance to be heard.
"I think the new title is perfect," he said. "Though I know that when Joey originally recorded 'If Not For You' - and years later, when she wrote those words one of the sweet cards she gave me - they were originally her way of honoring me."
Rory reflected on how Joey's faith and love for others impacted the world around her: "The phrase 'If Not For You' has come to mean something different to me now," he said. "Each time I hear her sing it now, I think about how different my world would be if Joey wasn't in it. I've met and heard from many, many other people who feel the same way. Some are family and friends, and some are people who never met Joey, but have followed her journey and been inspired by her courage in difficult circumstances, her love for her family, and her faith in God through it all."
"Even now, though she's no longer with us, she is very much still here," he said. "Her presence is that strong, and her impact on my life and this world is that special."
If Not For You is is available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace, and through online retailers including iTunes, Amazon, Target, Walmart.com, crackerbarrel.com and www.gaither.com. The recording is also available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.