Everybody has heard of The Band Perry; even if you don’t realize it, you have heard at least one of their songs. The trio hit international fame in 2010 when they released “If I Die Young,” which, after topping the country charts, topped the pop charts too. The single gave the group a level of fame that is rare for Nashville newcomers. They headed out on sold-out world tours, topped the country charts with four more number-one singles and even took home a Grammy.
The Band Perry is comprised of three siblings who entered the country scene in the early 2000s. Kimberly Perry was the lead in a band that was on the road, and her brothers, Neil and Reid, were their roadies. Eventually the brothers started a band and became the opening act. They became a trio in 2005 and hit the road touring with other up-and-coming country artists.
Garth Brooks’ manager became interested in them around 2008, and by 2010 they had a major record deal and their lives would never be the same after the release of “If I Die Young.” Their second album had a number-one single as well with “Better Dig Two,” in 2013, but creative differences were already appearing with their label by this time.
The Band Perry wanted to go in a different direction, but they were getting pushback from everyone. Their decision to embrace pop was met by critical headlines, even though the country community is probably not all that upset. They left their label to head out on their own, and the tough part was convincing collaborators how far they wanted to diverge from their previous sound.
“There is no such thing as electric guitars or live drums anymore — this is the new way,” Kimberly Perry told Rolling Stone. “They’ve been replaced with hip-hop beats and aggressive synthesizer.”
The siblings told the press they wanted to sound like a filthy underground German club. They wanted to get away from recording a banjo on every track, or for any track for that matter. Every aspect of their writing and recording process changed: they are using different instruments and trying new techniques in an attempt to find out who The Band Perry really is.
In 2018 The Band Perry released their reintroduction to the world, a collection of five songs called “Coordinates.” They are still touring this EP, and they are headed to Aspen to play the Belly Up next Thursday, April 18.
While The Band Perry has left the country genre to go in a different direction, they still pull out their old hits at performances. They don’t want genres to get in the way of what they want to create at any given time, and they have been successful enough to make that happen.
The Band Perry is grateful, and even amazed, that they were able to make a name for themselves in the country music industry, even though it was only for a short time. They had to buy their way out and give up opportunities to go in their own direction, but in the process they feel the protected their integrity. Hopefully they know what they are doing.
John Zelazny doesn’t want to write this column on a typewriter, but it’s in his contract. He appreciates your comments at email@example.com.