August 8, 2013

Band Perry riding wave of success

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

Kimberly Perry, lead singer of the sibling group The Band Perry, sees more than a little symbolism in “Done,” the current single from the group’s recently released second 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.’ ”

The group is opening Friday evening for Rascal Flatts at Intrust Bank Arena.

When it comes to its career, The Band Perry is far from being done. In fact, the group is just beginning a ride that could 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 in the 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.

Now “Done” has given the band another top 10 hit from “Pioneer.”

This summer’s touring will have The Band Perry doing a mix of dates opening for Rascal Flatts through early October and headlining its own shows at festival and fairs.

But early next year, things are on track for The Band Perry, made up of siblings Kimberly, 30; Reid, 24; and Neil, 23, to become a major headline act.

“We already have on the calendar for 2014 we’re going to be headlining up in Canada and then work our way back to the States playing arenas,” Kimberly Perry said.

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 the country establishment to work with one of music’s biggest production names, Rick Rubin, whose work with musicians has ranged from the Beastie Boys to Slayer to Johnny Cash.

“Some kids grow up wearing Batman capes and they want to be Superman. 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.”

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 drumbeats 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.”

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

But songs such as “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 “Pioneer” becomes a well-rounded and finely crafted album with plenty of energy and attitude.

The Band Perry is playing an hourlong set opening for Rascal Flatts – enough time to cover all of the radio hits and a good chunk of “Pioneer.” There’s also a new look to The Band Perry’s show.

“Our part of the show (with Rascal Flatts) has kind of been revamped since we released ‘Pioneer,’ ” Neil Perry said. “We’ve got a lot of new production. We’ve changed the set list around and it’s really exciting. I think the crowd loves all of the changes, and it’s really fun for us, too.”

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