Christmas on the Farm

Joey & Rory got a gift. It came a few years ago in the form of a TV show called Can You Duet? on CMT. In case you hadn’t noticed, country music isn’t exactly full of opportunities for rootsy, comforting, timeless twang to reach millions of people at once, and this made one overnight.

The married duo of Joey and Rory Feek were living a peaceful life, she as a mom and solo artist and he as a hit songwriter, when the idea of auditioning for the show came up. And let’s face it, they could have made awesome records all day and night and not found a place on country radio any more than Gillian Welch and David Rawlings or Robin and Linda Williams could, just to name two other distinctive and important duo acts. But CMT made this platform for duets, and it was a hit. Joey & Rory did really well with their affectionate energy and affecting singing. They came in third, but they made a LOT of fans – enough to tour steadily and make really fine albums for Sugar Hill/Vanguard Records.

And in a gift for us, Joey & Rory have agreed to host this week’s season-closing Music City Roots, a holiday celebration that also will be a benefit for our friends at the Nature Conservancy. J&R know nature. They live on a farm. And they know music, so they’ve invited some extremely talented friends to come visit what will be their stage for the night. Wynn Varble, besides having one of the greatest country artist names I’ve ever heard, is a top songwriter who’s been cut by Garth Brooks, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley, Darryl Worley, Gary Allan, Trace Adkins and a whole lot more. Three nominations for Song of the Year at the ACMs or CMAs also speak to the relevance of his writing, and he’s known for his voice as well.

We’ll also hear from writer/artist Erin Enderlin, who has her own amazing discography with major stars, including Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Terri Clark and Lee Ann Womack. Jackson’s top 5 hit “Monday Morning Church” won an NSAI award as one of the ten “Songs I Wish I’d Written” of 2005. She nailed the same award for Lee Ann Womack’s single “Last Call.” Then there’s Painted Desert, an intriguing duo that includes one Heidi Feek, so we’re suspecting some kinship to the hosts, but we’ll find out for sure. And a late addition is Val Storey, a much-admired and in-demand demo and backup singer who’s stepping out as a solo artist. With a deep bluegrass background and a working relationship with the great Carl Jackson, we’re expecting good stuff.

So this week will have a little bit of a different vibe and format, but it will surely be warm and winning. We can’t think of a better way to close out our Fall season and enjoy the lights, smells and fellowship of this time of year. Oh yeah, and there will beer. Ho Ho Ho.

Craig H.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23rd

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