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Joey Feek Recalls Difficult Days in Cancer Fight: ‘I Needed God Every Hour’

Joey + Rory have been incredibly open with fans about matters of life and death in Joey Feek’s battle with terminal cancer. The truth is, Joey Feek may not have much time left on Earth, but she and her husband, Rory Feek, are living each day to the fullest while preparing for the release of their new album, Hymns That Are Important to Us. In promoting the record, Joey Feek has opened up about how her fight has affected both the project, recorded during her treatments, and the Feeks’ relationships with God.

“It was early in the spring when we started talking about the record …,” Rory Feek recalls in a press release. “We began recording it in a studio in Nashville early in the summer, just after recovering from her first big surgery in Chicago. She championed it … and even with all she’s gone through, there might have been a few things that changed, but that record was not gonna stop.”

Joey + Rory continued to record the new album in between some of Joey Feek’s treatments. Many of the sessions took place in their Atlanta-area hotel room, while others occurred at their house or “wherever and whenever she felt up to singing.” The project features well-loved hymns including “It Is Well with My Soul,” “How Great Thou Art,” “I Surrender All” and “I Need Thee Every Hour,” all of which Joey Feek says gave her great comfort during this tremendously difficult time.

“A lot has taken place in a year’s time, but through it all, these songs have given me such strength,” she states. “They’ve given me such hope, and they give me something to look forward to. I think that a lot of times, when we don’t know what to say … you don’t know what to pray … you don’t know how to even begin … I think that’s, for me, where these hymns have come into play so much.”

Feek uses “I Need Thee Every Hour” as an example, recalling when she woke up in the middle of the night two days after her surgery.

“I’m hooked up to every machine possible; and out of just complete thankfulness that I came through, I remember having the strength to sit up enough, and my hands just elevated over my head, and I sang [the hymn], ‘I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour, I need Thee,’” she recounts. “Every hour, He got me through … and it was hard, and I needed Him every hour, and I still do to this day — there are days that are just hard.

“[This song] has got us through so much at every hour that we needed Him … He continues to watch over us and take care of us,” Feek continues. “People every day who don’t have cancer who are dealt with trials or family issues or whatever it might be … we need Him. It doesn’t matter what it is, and when we think that we can get by on our own, we’re so wrong.”

The 13-track disc is especially touching because it will be the last album the husband-and-wife duo will ever make together.

“[Hymns] have met generations of people at their moments of need, which is incredible,” Rory Feek says. “As a songwriter … we’re moved that someone will sing along with one of our songs today, but imagine them singing along with one of our songs in 100 years. That’s an incredible achievement, and I think it’s mostly because there are things that don’t last and things that do. What these songs are about — they’re gonna matter then just as much as they do now, just as much as they did 100 years ago. That’s pretty special.”

In October, the couple performed a special taping of the songs, of which readers can see snippets in the trailer below. Though Joey Feek was weak, she wanted to sing these important songs, and her husband, along with daughter Heidi Feek, added harmonies to the recordings at Bill Gaither’s studio in Joey Feek’s hometown of Alexandria, Ind.

Purchase information for Hymns That Are Important to Us is available at Proceeds from the album will benefit the Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation, in honor of the Feeks’ daughter Indiana‘s best friend Scout, who has Loeys-Dietz syndrome.

Watch a Trailer for Joey + Rory’s Hymns That Are Important to Us:

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