Yesterday, while waiting for the kids’ Winnie the Pooh tape to rewind, I caught the final few seconds of a commercial from Overstock.com. “Rory!” I shouted at the television. This was followed by a puzzled look from my little daughter who replied, “Dad, what are you saying?”
The man on television, Rory Feek, was one of my now spouse’s neighbors in what seems like a lifetime ago. After researching him, I now know that he is the Rory of the Vanguard/Sugar Hill duet “Rory and Joey,” and he and his wife are spokespersons for Overstock.com. I remember Rory being a kind and quiet guy who was very handy. He drove an old classic car, wore overalls regularly, had served in the Marines, and was raising his young two daughters as a single Dad.
He was a songwriter then—chasing the musicians dream. Rory was always very nice to us, and he even invited the Mrs. and me to watch him perform for a small group of fans at a local bookstore (yes, even the best songwriters are the unheralded yet talented performers playing for 20 or so people at bookstores, bakeries, and coffee houses). In my mind, I have this great image of Rory with his daughters as he leaned against a picnic table on a bit of land that overlooked a duck pond, strumming his guitar and singing.
I was glad to see that all of his hard work had finally paid with a recording contract and international recognition. The life stories of Rory and his wife make you just want to root for their success. They now live in a 19th century farm house in rural TN. His wife is a part owner of a small town restaurant (seen in the picture below--a great restored General Store now called Marcy Jo's Mealhouse), and when not doing music stuff, her day starts at 4 am baking and serving the breakfast crowd.
Consistent with the discussion in one of my last posts regarding music industry execs only wanting performers shaped from the same cookie cutter, Rory said this in an interview:
“When I came to town in ‘95, I put all my singing dreams away,” he says. “I quickly realized it was a beauty contest, and it was a game I wasn’t willing to play, and one I wouldn’t win,” he notes.”I am elated that Rory was able to succeed while remaining true to his values.
Rory's story is further evidence in my belief that no one can predict quite what God has in store for each of us. You never know—-the smiling yet confident neighbor guy struggling to pay his bills and support two kids today could certainly be the singing star inspiring thousands with his music tomorrow.