Alan Sculley
Special to Lake Tahoe Action

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July 10, 2013
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Perry family breaks trail on the way to Harveys

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 band mates. “So it was very fitting that the title was called ‘Done.’ It’s cool, it really taps into a sentiment more than a story, and it’s cool to see the fans make it their soundtrack for wherever they are in this particular moment. We’ve seen a lot of feedback from our fans that says ‘All I want to be is done with school so I can get on to the summer,’ or ‘All I want to be is done with my diet so I can get back to eating chocolate.’ So it’s been really cool to see them take the song and use it for whatever they need it for.”

The song could also be about a relationship hitting a dead end. But that wasn’t what inspired the song,” Kimberly Perry said.

“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.

Kimberly Perry, 29, Reid Perry, 24, and Neil Perry, 22, formed the Band Perry in 2005. Several years were spent touring and writing songs, but once the trio was discovered by Garth Brooks’ manager, Bob Doyle, things have been on a fast track.

The group signed to Republic Nashville Records and the Band Perry’s self-titled debut album (released in October 2010) put the group on the country music map in a major way. The first album produced two number one country singles in “If I Die Young” and “All Your Life,” with the former tune also reaching the top 15 on Billboard Magazine’s all-genre Hot 100 singles chart. The album, meanwhile, sold more than 1.4 million copies, as The Band Perry played some 600 shows in support of the album.

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 number one on Billboard’s Hot Country singles chart.

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

Kimberly Perry said the rapid growth in The Band Perry’s fan base has been apparent in its recent live shows.

“We ended up seeing the fan base grow by leaps and bounds, almost instantly,” she said. “We judge a lot of that growth out by our shows and how many folks are out in the seats and how many songs they’re singing along to. So we began to see that grow almost in real time.”

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

But early next year, things are on track for The Band Perry to take the step up and become a major headlining 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 along with Kimberly and multi-instrumentalist Neil 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. So ‘Pioneer,’ it answers some of those questions and it still poses a couple of questions of its own.”

It turned out to be a fairly lengthy album-making process.

The Band Perry first considered working with producer Frank Liddell on the album before deciding it was not the right match.

After considering a full list of producer candidates from both within the Nashville country music scene and outside of the country establishment. They chose one of music’s biggest production names, Rick Rubin, whose projects have ranged from the Beastie Boys to Slayer to Johnny Cash to ZZ Top.

“Some kids grow up wearing Batman capes and they want to be Supermen. We just kind of wanted a beard like Rick Rubin,” Kimberly 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.”

While Rubin helped The Band Perry with its songwriting and choosing outside songs for the album, the group decided his rather minimalistic concept for the album was not the direction to go in recording “Pioneer.”

“We needed macro production as opposed to making this current incarnation with minimalism,” Reid Perry said. “We knew we needed big songs to fill up big arenas.”

That idea led the group to bring on Dann Huff to produce “Pioneer.”

“He was the first producer to ever come see us in our live element,” Neil Perry said. “So 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. So 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 Band Perry is playing an hour-long set opening for Rascal Flatts (and has even more stage time for its headlining shows) – 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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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 10, 2013 10:36AM Published Jul 12, 2013 08:08PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.