By Charlie Mitchell

I thought they won the first season of CMT’s Can You Duet. But Joey + Rory finished third.

Their debut single “Cheater, Cheater” was the biggest hit from the show’s premiere season…peaking at #32 on the Country Aircheck/Mediabase chart early in 2009.

The following year, Joey + Rory scored an ACM Top New Vocal Duo award. That was the extent of their national success in Country Music. Still, the duo released seven studio albums total; their final one, Hymns That Are Important To Us, came out February 12th.

And they’ve had a Joey + Rory Show on RFD-TV for six seasons; that is, if your system carries RFD-TV. Not every cable/satellite system offers it. Mine doesn’t.

Did you know Rory co-wrote Blake Shelton’s “Some Beach”…Tracy Byrd’s “The Truth About Men” and “A Little More Country Than That”, the debut hit by Easton Corbin? He spent several years as a songwriter before teaming with his wife to launch a singing career.

But the couple’s roots can be found in the small community of Pottsville, TN, about an hour south of Nashville. Even when trying to become a national act, Pottsville remained their home address.

[Stream Y108 – Click Here]

A number of bloggers found out about Joey’s being diagnosed with cervical cancer nearly two years ago, and the story went viral…turns out Rory had been blogging himself, and what I see in each entry is a pair of grateful hearts, happy for the experiences they’d had in the industry.

I learned that Joey didn’t really care about having a child of her own; the couple were already raising two daughters, Hopie and Heidi, from Rory’s first marriage. But they decided to try; you can see pics of their daughter Indiana, and Joey + Rory’s story of raising a Down’s child, on Rory’s blog.

And it was there, this past October that he shared the heartbreaking news that Joey’s cancer had spread despite all the treatments and surgeries, and they had decided to stop further treatment.

Joey wanted to see the release of their new album, and on February 12th she did.

She wanted to plant a garden this spring, as has been her tradition.

Joey was 40. Born in Alexandria, Indiana, it’s where the couple spent the final months of her life.

Earlier this week it was reported she’d said her final goodbyes and gone to sleep.  I can only assume…hope…pray, it was peaceful.

I lost my dad to colon cancer 20 years ago in much the same way, so I’d like to think I have some small understanding of the sorrow…yet, relief, Rory must feel.

And yes, it’s not disrespectful to say.. relief.

You’re as prepared as one can possibly be, yet feeling so, so lost.

May angels sing you to your rest, Joey; I’m confident your Heavenly Father has declared…“well done, good and faithful servant.”

Rory’s announcement of Joey’s passing HERE.

Billboard’s appreciation HERE.

Billboard’s Joey + Rory chart history HERE.‘s coverage HERE.

Joey quotes from Taste of Country HERE.

Joey + Rory’s official website HERE.

See Joey + Rory’s TV Show HERE.

Six degrees Pittsburgh connection to CMT’S Can You Duet: Burgettstown graduates Spencer Bartoletti and Dessa Zuccaro competed as “Harmon Creek” in the 2009 season. They finished ninth.


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