Personnel: Gerald Boyd, Jack Martin, Michael Spriggs, Bill McDermott (acoustic guitar); Mike Johnson , Al Perkins (steel guitar, dobro); Donnie Allen (banjo); Stuart Duncan (mandolin, fiddle); Jimmy Nichols (strings, accordion, piano, keyboards); Brian Fullen, Tommy Harden (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Bill McDermott.
Recording information: Dogden Studios.
Photographers: Bryan Allen ; Nick Salter; Amy Bunton; Stuart Bunton.
Joey Feek recorded an album called Strong Enough to Cry for Sony Nashville in 2005 but the label chose to shelve the record after a company restructuring. Twelve years later, the album appeared under the title If Not for You on Farmhouse Records. The occasion of its release was the year anniversary of Joey's death from cervical cancer, a tragic story made worse by how her duo with husband Rory was on the rise. Rory is all over If Not for You, as is co-producer Bill McDermott, but the focus is firmly on Joey's honeyed voice. Apart from a handful of tracks -- the down-home throwback "The Cowboy's Mine," the galloping "When the Needle Hit the Vinyl," the swinging "Red" -- the proceedings are pretty gentle, but that suits his voice and sentimentality. Occasionally, the record feels a little too understated -- which may be the reason it didn't see release upon its recording -- but in the wake of Feek's passing, that adds a sweetly melancholy undertone to If Not for You. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine