The Billings Outpost

The Band Perry avoiding sophomore slump

By ALAN SCULLEY - Last Word Features

Kimberly Perry, lead singer of the sibling group The Band Perry, sees more than a little symbolism in “Done,” the recent chart-topping single from the group’s current album, “Pioneer.”

“That was actually one that Reid and Neil wrote, and it was the very last one written for ‘Pioneer,’” she said, mentioning her younger brothers and bandmates. “So it was very fitting that the title was called ‘Done.’

“We were ready to be finished with this album and let it find its wings in the world, so that was specifically what we were tapping into,” she said of “Done.”

When it comes to its career, the Band Perry is far from being done. In fact, the group looks to be just beginning a ride that will take it to major stardom before long.

The group’s self-titled debut album (released in October 2010) put it on the country music map in a major way. The first album produced two No. 1 country singles in “If I Die Young” and “All Your Life,” with the former tune also going top 15 on Billboard magazine’s all-genre Hot 100 singles chart. The album, meanwhile, sold more than 1.4 million copies.

Things have accelerated even further with the group’s newest music. The first single from “Pioneer,” “Better Dig Twice,” was released in advance of the album and went to No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country singles chart.

Then “Done” followed suit, and a third single, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely,” has mow climbed into the top 15 on the Hot Country singles chart.

This fall’s touring had the Band Perry opening for Rascal Flatts before doing some headlining dates, including its headlining appearance at the Lakeside Country Bash at Lakes Park in Fort Myers.

Now the group, which includes Kimberly Perry, 30, and her brothers, Reid, 25, and Neil, 23, is starting its first full-fledged headlining tour, which starts in Canada and then continues in the U.S.

This is great news for the Perrys, who went into the making of “Pioneer” ready to stare down the much-dreaded sophomore slump, but wondering what shape the album would take.

“We were coming off of ‘If I Die Young’ and the first album and all of the success that that was,” said bassist Reid Perry, who also participated in the phone interview. “We were marching kind of into an unknown, wondering what the Band Perry was going to sound like next and what we were going to say.”

After doing a trial run with producer Frank Liddell, the group went outside of the country establishment to work with one of music’s biggest production names, Rick Rubin, whose projects have ranged from  the Beastie Boys to Slayer to Johnny Cash.

“Some kids grow up wearing Batman capes and they want to be Supermen. We just kind of wanted a beard like Rick Rubin,” Kimberly Perry said, joking about Rubin’s famous long, bushy beard. “He’s a hero of ours. So we went out there and got a lot of counsel, gosh, about our song collecting, some therapy, if you will, about making the second album. We just really gained a lot of perspective and wisdom through Rick in that.”

But while Rubin helped the Band Perry with its songwriting and in choosing outside songs for the album, the group wanted a bigger sound than Rubin envisioned and decided Dann Huff was the producer who could deliver on that objective.

“Dann came out and he saw us and he pulled in the more aggressive drum beats that we have in our live shows, the more exciting, bigger electric guitars,” multi-instrumentalist Neil Perry said. “He really did a great job implementing those things.”

“Pioneer” indeed has a bigger sound and rocks considerably harder than the first album, which was no shrinking violet when it came to energy and sass, either.

But here, songs like “Done,” with its crunching guitars and fiery instrumental duel of fiddle and guitar, “Night Gone Wasted,” “Chainsaw” and “Better Dig Two” are all easily as much rock as they are country – and highly catchy and entertaining. The Band Perry even has a Queen moment on “Forever Mine Nevermind,” with its big chorus of vocals and grand melody. Mix in a couple of ballads (“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” and “End of Time”), and it makes “Pioneer” a well rounded and finely crafted album with plenty of energy and attitude.

The rocking material on “Pioneer” has given the Band Perry’s concerts a different character compared to shows the group played when it toured behind the debut album.

“That was what we were able to embrace more with ‘Pioneer’ vs. maybe even our first record, which we are extremely proud of,” Kimberly Perry said. “I feel like ‘Pioneer’ gave us the opportunity to (showcase) even more who we are and what we’ve grown up loving. We got to embrace more of the rock and roll roots, along with maintaining our traditional country roots.”

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

Top Desktop version