Rory Feek is preparing new music, announcing this week that he will be releasing a new album, Gentle Man, this spring. The album will be Feek's first solo album and his first new music since his wife, Joey Feek, died in March 2016. Gentle Man will be released on Gaither Records on June 18, and Feek opened up about the process in a new post on his blog.
"I’ve been in the studio making a new album for the last few months," he wrote. "And that’s a big, big change for me. To make a record without Joey isn’t something that I was sure I’d ever do. The fact is, I’ve never made my own record. I’ve only been part of the albums that she and I made through the years." Feek noted that it has been five years since he and Joey recorded their Grammy-winning album Hymns That Are Important to Us, and "I guess it was finally just time."
"So, this past fall, I went into the studio with producers Ben Isaacs and Matt Johnson and some of Nashville’s greatest musicians and recorded 14 new songs," he continued. "Fourteen stories that are about to become part of mine. And to say that I’m excited about it is an understatement."
On Monday, Feek shared a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'," which is the first release from Gentle Man. In his blog post, Feek mused that though the song was written nearly 60 years ago, "it feels like it was written especially for today." "It was meant to be an anthem for a time when our country was changing rapidly," he shared. "For a nation that was on fire. Divided over race, free speech, politics, and many other complicated things. Just like today. A time when there was political unrest, riots in the streets and no one knew exactly what the future held. Again, much like today."
Adding that he is "one of the least political people you’ll probably meet," Feek concluded, "For me, this is not about who’s side is right and who’s is wrong. It's about how all of this is affecting us as families. And what it is all doing to our precious children." The 55-year-old indicated that the rest of the songs on Gentle Man will be different from the Dylan cover, and the album also includes a collaboration with Vince Gill.
Since Joey's death, Feek has been living on a farm south of Nashville with their daughter, 6-year-old Indiana. He continued to blog on This Life I Live, and later published a memoir and released a docu-series of the same name.