The Band Perry also is The Family Perry.
“We live together,” said Neil Perry, a multi-instrumentalist and singer in the Grammy Award-winning country-music trio. “We make decisions together. It’s a family business. Every idea truly is what’s best for the band. We operate as a democracy. We’ll talk it out.”
Singing out in three-part sibling sonorities, Neil, 25, Reid, 26, and Kimberly, 32, have lifted The Band Perry from hometown Jackson, Mississippi, to the upper echelons of the Nashville, Tennessee, country-music industry.
Dad Steve — “No, not the one from Journey” — is a pediatric physician who “comes out on the road” for truck duty. Mom Marie “basically makes sure” the group looks “presentable.”
That’s the plan Tuesday when the Perrys — “we’re one big happy family” — visit Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys for the first time. Jana Kramer, 31, a singer from Rochester Hills, Michigan, and Casey James, 33, from Plano, Texas, open.
The Perrys — who won a Grammy for singing a Glen Campbell hit and were influenced by Queen’s stage act — are back after taking six months off to make their third album.
Their self-titled 2010 debut sold four million copies. They’ve recorded three No. 1 singles. Such success isn’t as sudden as it seems.
“We’ve been doing music for more than five years,” said Neil Perry, who plays mandolin, accordion, drums and sings. “It’s been literally a lifetime. We definitely have a strong foundation to keep building on.”
Construction continues Aug. 14, when a new “top-secret” single is released. It’ll be followed by an as-yet-untitled CD.
“Finally,” Neil Perry said. “It’s been a long process. Over a year. We tend to take a long time. We always have an image in our mind. … This time, we have a lot of vibrant color. We’re kind of known as the ‘black-leather’ band. Now we’re thinking in a very digital, color spectrum. Minimalist … in colors and sound.”
As siblings, of course, there is that genetic linkage. The Carter Family, Louvin Brothers, Everly Brothers and the Judds, among others, have demonstrated this. Kimberly, the energetic lead singer, also plays guitar and piano. Reid is the bass player.
“What makes it special,” Neil said from a tour stop in Yerington, Nevada, “is because we’ve all grown up together. Our accents all sound the same. Our three-part harmonies meld together. On our third album, more vocals are hook-based.”
They won their Grammy this year for a performance of John Hartford's “Gentle on My Mind.” It was a top-10 hit in 1968 for Glen Campbell, 79, and part of the sound track for “I’ll Be Me,” a documentary film about Campbell.
“He’s a great musician,” Neil said. “A quintessential entertainer. He’s played on everything. His influence definitely is very wide. That goes for his songs as well.”
After 42 country-music nominations in four years, it was The Band Perry’s third Grammy chance.
“It’s the Super Bowl,” Neil said. “It’s an honor to be nominated. It was pretty special. It changes us to being ‘Grammy-winning’ instead of ‘Grammy-nominated.' We made quite a scene on the red carpet. We were definitely ecstatic. Over the moon.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Queen — the flamboyant English rock band led by Freddie Mercury (1946-91) — is a major onstage role model: "They’re such an influence. We love them in so many ways.”
There’s also Bobbi Gentry, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Loretta Lynn during “different parts of our lives.”
Though they’ve lived for 12 years in the Smoky Mountain town of Greeneville, Tennessee — east of Nashville — they started out in Jackson, Mississippi.
“We have a music-loving family,” Neil said. Dad played bass in college and mom sang. Motown tunes, Michael Jackson, bluegrass and country filled the house.
Neil and Reid began as roadies in Kimberly’s teenage band. They were 8 and 10 when they opened for her group as Mobile Music Machines. Garth Brooks’ manager spotted the united Band Perry on a 2005 New Faces of Country tour. They were signed to Republic Records in 2009. Off they went.
A track on their 2009 debut — Kimberly's “If I Die Young” — reached No. 1 in 2010. So did “All Your Life” (2011) and “Better Dig Two” (2012). Five of their 10 singles have sold at least one million copies.
Former hip-hop guru Rick Rubin produced their second album (“Pioneer”) in 2013, but the Perrys are doing their own thing for No. 3. They met with some supportive radio disc jockeys as they contemplated their direction.
“All they said was, ‘We always expect The Band Perry to do something we don’t expect,’ ” Kimberly has said. “So … we’re following suit with that. This collection … is our favorite one we’ve ever gotten to write and be a part of.”
— Contact Tony Sauro at (209) 546-8267 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @tsaurorecord.
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