Justin Nolan Key (Courtesy of Republic Nashville)
On a Friday evening, The Band Perry is set to take the stage at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois, alongside country legends Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan. In the midst of McGraw’s Emotional Traffic tour, the brother-sister trio appears as opening act for the “Live Like You Were Dying” singer, warming up the crowd with their infectious songs and equally as exhilarating personalities.
“[The tour] is going really great,” comments Reid Perry, the group’s bass player. “This is our 4th week out and everything’s starting to get really smooth now.”
“It is, it’s a really fun tour,” lead singer, Kimberly Perry adds. “Tim is such a country music icon and so is Luke Bryan, so we’re in good hands out here on the road and it’s an honor to warm up that stage night after night.”
The Band Perry, consisting of siblings Kimberly, Reid, and Neil, acquired their first taste of touring alongside an icon in 2010, after joining forces with Alan Jackson. In September, the singers are slated to embark on Keith Urban’s Get Closer World Tour.
“It’s been really humbling,” Kimberly says of being acknowledged. “The whole country music community has given us such a warm welcome. A couple of days ago, the three of us got to write for Keith Urban, and last night, we were sitting in our tour bus thinking, ‘Yesterday, we were hanging out with Keith Urban, and tonight we got to sing on stage with Tim McGraw.’ It feels like we’re in the twilight zone. We’re just so grateful to be in the moment. Country music artists are a really tight-knit family and we’re grateful to be a part of it.”
While performing remains the band’s foremost task on the tour, Neil admits to spending much of their downtime penning songs for future albums.
“We’re getting better at that,” the musician says. “We just got our second bus and we’re starting to get into the groove of bringing writers on the road. We’re also getting our song stash built up for the second album and we can’t wait.”
“I find that there’s more focus time to write when you are out on the road,” Kimberly states. “Of course, when we’re in Nashville, there’s business, interviews, creative things to do, so when you’re on the road, there’s hours to focus on creative time. We’re doing pretty well at figuring out creativity on wheels.”
Along the way, the artists haven’t forgotten to take advantage of the best available source at their fingertips: Tim McGraw. The three singers maintain that McGraw imparts valuable advice in regards to songwriting.
“Tim has one of the best song-picking ears of any country artist, and because of that, we’ve been playing a lot of our new songs and trying to get his ear and see what he thinks,” Neil shares.
“I think we’re going to sit him down and play him some brand new ideas,” Kimberly adds. “He popped his head into our dressing room a few days ago when we were trying out new stuff. He’s got so much longevity in his career, and a lot of the artists who have made their ascensions started so on a Tim McGraw tour. We were talking to Keith the other day, and I asked him what his very first tour was. He told me that he opened for Tim and Faith on one of their early tours. So, I think that Tim is always great at having an eye for songs and talent, and really nurturing that.”
Though having released only one full-length album, The Band Perry’s songwriting prowess demonstrates a maturity well beyond their years. The release of their first single, “Hip To My Heart”, saw a peak in the Top 20 of Billboard’s country charts, while the band’s follow-up release, “If I Die Young”, was certified platinum after reaching number 1 on the charts and earning the group a Grammy nomination in the Best Country Song category.
Having struck an emotional chord with fans and artists alike, “If I Die Young” exposed their sharpened skill for writing relatable material. The secret to their emotion-infused songs, according to Kimberly, is “experience and lots of consideration”.
“The three of us are thinkers,” she goes on to state. “We like to chew on things and smoke all the flavor out of [the songs] and respond to them. That’s a contemplation of the life that we’ve lived up to this moment. It was just a statement of ‘Have I made the most of my minutes so far?’”.
The Perrys’ minutes in the music industry prove well-spent, as their triumphs gain increasing momentum. Among the ingredients in their recipe for success remains a tight familial bond.
“The family band is a staple in country music,” says Kimberly. “It’s very much a tradition in our genre and it works for us for a few reasons. First of all, we know each other so well that there’s always an underlying respect, and we can usually chisel right down to the business of a creative idea. Also, we all play such a distinct role in the band creatively, that it adds many nice flavors into our music.”
“Nowadays, we agree both creatively and business-wise on the majority of the decisions, and if we don’t, we’ll always walk out of the room on the same page,” Reid continues.
“We know each other like the back of our hand and sometimes we have to use the back of our hand on each other, but we’re family, so make it work,” Neil shares what Kimberly refers to as the 'Band Perry cliché'.
Throughout The Bandy Perry’s 3-year long career in the mainstream, they’ve supported one another and earned themselves chart-topping singles, numerous accolades, and a dedicated fan base to count on. Pinpointing their favorite part of all their endeavors is a tough choice between the three singers, as they each offer a different pick from their already accomplished career.
“That’s like picking just one flavor of ice cream,” Kimberly teases. “My favorite part of it is getting to sing country songs with country music lovers. They are so passionate about our genre and I feel like the songs that we’re singing are the stories of our lives and the stories of theirs, and to get to sing it with them is amazing.”
“One thing that is always very special for us is getting to play in the Grand Ole Opry,” Neil recalls. “That’s the mother church of country music, and wherever we go, that’s one place we can always go home to.”
Reid adds, “Also, after every single show that we play, we’ll go outside afterward. Having the fans waiting around to shake hands and take pictures with us is a great experience.”
“We believe country music is the people’s music,” Kimberly sums up. “We’re just working really hard and are excited to bring that to the fans.”
Credits: Kimberly Perry, Reid Perry, Neil Perry, Erin Burr, Catherine Snyder, Republic Nashville, Joseph Anthony Baker, Justin Nolan Key, The Band Perry Official Website
© Veronika Tacheva, 2011. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.