Crossing Over

A trio of musical siblings debuted on the country music scene in 2010 with a little insightful song entitled “If I Die Young”—and what happened next, even they didn’t see coming.
The song not only exploded onto the scene as one of the top songs of the year and quickly climbed to the No. 1 spot on several music charts, it changed people’s lives with it’s message—and The Band Perry was off and running, barely making time to breathe. The song achieved multi-platinum status six times and was nominated for a Grammy Award and two Academy of Country Music Awards, winning Single of the Year and Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards in 2011.
Since then, Kimberly Perry (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Reid Perry (bass guitar, background vocals) and Neil Perry (mandolin, drums, accordion, background vocals) have been like a band on fire, recording two more albums and touring relentlessly.
Their second album, Pioneer, released in 2013 produced additional No. 1 singles “Better Dig Two,” and “Done,” plus Top 10 hits, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely,” and “Chainsaw,” for all those jilted people out there.
One of their career highlights thus far included being part of a documentary about country icon Glen Campbell, where they do justice to one of Campbell’s signature songs, “Gentle on My Mind,” and released it as a stand-alone single.
They have toured with Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton.
This is where things get really interesting. The Band Perry is changing their direction a bit, incorporating more of a pop/rock sound and Kimberly is sporting a different look, trading her blonde curly hair for dark and straight. Some fans are still undecided about how they feel, while others don’t care what path they choose as long as the music continues to be as good as ever.
The siblings are marking that change with their third album, My Bad Imagination, which is expected to be released sometime this year. It is meant to be a glimpse into this new direction, breaking away from their country roots, saying, “creating it has been the most exciting thing we’ve ever done. We’ve made an album for you. It’s led us to disrupt everything that was comfortable and familiar to us a short year ago. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in making it it’s this – being yourself matters. It matters even when not everyone agrees that you should be or understands why it’s important that you are.”
Some of those “glimpses” include “Live Forever” released in 2015 with the video premiering on CMT; “Comeback Kid,” released to country radio in August 2016; their latest single “Stay in the Dark,” released a few weeks ago.
We had the opportunity to talk with Reid Perry via a phone interview about the group, their music and the show they bring to Laughlin for the very first time. Here is what he had to say…

Your latest album My Bad Imagination seems to be about stepping out of any real or imagined boundaries and playing the music you want to play? How much heat have you taken for this “new” direction?
Perry: We’re not taking any heat actually because I feel like if the fans have followed the band throughout our history they kind of know we always are expected to do the unexpected. So really we have this free rein to do whatever we want and people are pretty cool with that. Just because it’s what we’ve always done and as long as we’re true to ourselves, I think people will find that that genuine spirit is interesting to them.

Good music is good music. Who says it has to be pigeonholed one way or another?
Perry: Of course it doesn’t. Everyone is an individual unto themselves with their little quirks and idiosyncrasies so I feel like with music, it’s the same thing. It’s kind of hard like you said to pigeonhole it in a subgroup with a bunch of other music as well. There’s always going to be variances to make it completely unique.
Do you think your fans care one way or the other, so long as you’re still playing music?
Perry: It never really was a decision for us to take the music one way or the other, it was just really about—with every album we had a specific sound we wanted to get across. With the first album, there was definitely one where it got more acoustic instrumentation and a lot of harmonies. Then with the second album, we leaned definitely way more toward our rock edge, it was clean and even fun. For this album it’s all about minimalism—minimalism and modern sounds—and so that’s where this album has gone and it does tend to take it out of the country genre, but it is kind of what we always had in our head of what we wanted to do and what we wanted to be.

Why this album and why now? What’s the most important message you want to get out with this new music?
Perry: As always, we love to be as authentic as possible and, as in the past three years or so, we’ve had a lot of unique experiences that we never had before. So there’s gonna be a lot of talking on this album about everything from being the underdog to standing up for yourself, to even just hoping to be yourself. That a person is not necessarily being pigeonholed into a certain group, knowing you’re here for a reason and a purpose and that everything happens for a reason.

Is Kimberly the principal songwriter or do you collaborate?
Perry: All three of us will write. Usually we’ll go into a studio and we’re actually writing the songs and working on the tracks at the same time, so it all kind of gets built at once, which is nice. You can immediately hear what you’re dealing with vs. trying to imagine it a few months later and realizing it. It’s like instant gratification. This one didn’t have as many acoustic instruments, it has a lot of analogue sounds, which of course, are based in the acoustic arena.

Analogue vs. digital has been a longtime discussion in the music industry. Sometimes these days, the music is too perfect. People like the organic feel with the mistakes included.
Perry: We feel like when you get analogue it’s always unique just cause whenever you’re dealing with an analogue drum machine, for instance, you’re dealing with wires that connect all the sound vs. a microchip. It just takes the music to more interesting heights.

Your rendition of “Gentle on my Mind” was well done.
Perry: Thank you. Thank you. We really enjoyed being a part of the documentary and all that. We got to do a tribute with him at the Grammys and during rehearsals he was really fun to be around, hearing him talk and joke around and be Glen Campbell.

For those who don’t know, where did “If I Die Young” come from?
Perry: Actually Kimberly wrote it and she said she wrote it because she was sitting up in her room and was just wondering if she had her funeral to plan what would it look like, and then what kind of legacy would she want to leave behind. So that’s kind of the gist of where “If I Die Young” started.

Boy, did it ever take the music world by storm and people have really embraced it. Did you have any idea that would happen?
Perry: Not to the extent that it did. It went all the way to No. 1 in Malaysia, which we had to look up on a map to see where Malaysia was. So we weren’t expecting that one.

So are you guys a little obsessed with death—”Live Forever,” “Better Dig Two,” and “If I Die Young?” Are you seeing a pattern here?
Perry: (He laughs) That is something we write about because it is part of life. So if you’re like us, it’s one of the many subjects we choose to write about.

So which of you is the more serious, which of you is more likely to pull pranks, who’s more reserved and who is the wild child?
Perry: We’re all siblings—we all play our roles typically how they would normally wind up. Neil, I would say is more outgoing, and if there’s one of us most likely to pull a prank, it would probably be him. I’m the middle child, so I’m considered a little more of the stoic one, and then Kimberly likes to take the torch and claim she’s the bossy one in the family as well. That’s how it all evens out. As far as who can have fun and all that, we all have our moments. It all depends on the time of day or the day of the week, but you catch us at the right time and we know how to have fun.

So talk about the show you’re bringing to Laughlin.
Perry: We’ve been playing this show since about March so we’ve actually played it throughout the summer, so we’ve added things and taken things away. But it’s very exciting because we’re actually playing songs off of the upcoming album, which is fun for us so we can change it up. We do that and then throw in just a couple of covers that we have fun doing, that kind of influences us, or are just fun to play live. It’s a show we’ve had fun building and putting together. We’ve even arranged a couple of songs that most people are already very familiar with but we’re putting a slightly different spin on those as well. Laughlin is probably one of the last couple of shows we’re doing this year, so y’all will be rounding us out, closing us down through the end of the year, so thank you for that.


THE BAND PERRY

Laughlin Event Center

Fri, October 6 (8 p.m., doors open 6:30 p.m.)

See Showtimes for tickets