If you make it to November’s CMAs and spy other country stars bowing to wife-and-husband duo Joey+Rory instead of shaking hands, it’s understandable. Their contemporaries are merely showing proper respect to country music’s new grandmasters of vocal jujitsu.
Sure, that’s quite a statement for a pair just putting out Album Number Two. Yes, that’s the name of the CD, and for the second straight time Joey+Rory choose to disarm cranky critics before they can pounce. In 2008 The Life of a Song opener “Play the Song,” the team summarily trashed Music Row’s pigeonholing tendencies and lived to tell about it. So why not offer up a title track sequel that tweaks image consultants, Nashville bigwigs and, of course, those pesky reviewers sniffing a sophomore slump?
(I officially dare them to open their next album with “Song Number Two,” since their releases never really begin with the first cut. If they do they’ll have the best recurring county CD theme since Brad Paisley’s “Kung Pao Buckaroos.” But I digress.)
The synergy between Joey’s voice and Rory’s songwriting chops are just uncanny, from the tender (“Born to be Your Woman,” a surefire backwoods nuptials first dance favorite) to the tangy (“Baby I’ll Come Back to You,” with Joey promising she’ll bury the hatchet when Alan Jackson joins a boy band), to a little bit of everything (“God Help My Man,” with Joey cooly crooning about dispensing frying pan justice.)
There’s so much more to say about their sound, but here’s the best way: Joey+Rory just got done touring with the genre-hopping Zac Brown Band (who guest-star on final track “This Song’s for You”) and are heading back on the road with Don Williams, who many country fans in their 30s only know for his cameo in Smokey and the Bandit II.
Album Number Two, like album number one, demonstrates the range that make them perfect tag-team partners for both acts. Joey+Rory are for everybody. (8 of 10)