On the strength of their breakout single, The Band Perry have seen their stock in Nashville rise dramatically since early last year. Now they look to prove their versatility with a follow-up that veers away from the bleak confession on “If I Die Young.”
“If I Die Young,” a candid song about a teen’s thoughts of suicide, was embraced by fans, critics and radio programmers alike, challenging the conventional wisdom of Music Row regarding upbeat subject matter. With its dark setting but sweet melody, it has also propelled the group’s self-titled debut album to gold status for shipment of 500,000 copies, but this sibling band is quick to rebel from being typecast as downers. Their new single, “You Lie,” takes a more empowering stance that the Perrys’ hope will be the perfect counterpoint to “If I Die Young.”
The fresh-faced family trio recently stopped by the CMT offices for an interview about adjusting to their success, forging ahead with “You Lie” and the difference between a Tim McGraw tour and a Blake Shelton tour.
CMT: Congratulations on your gold album. Have you been celebrating?
Kimberly Perry: We have actually celebrated by working more and more. … It’s really amazing because we’ve had so many wonderful things happen over the last 12 months. Our entire first year in country has been charmed, to say the least.
Neil Perry: Our life in music, up to last year, has been “wait, wait, wait” and then “hurry up.” Last year was definitely the “hurry up” part of that. We were home 19 days last year, and we loved it.
Now that people are familiar with the band, are they recognizing you more, too?
Reid Perry: More and more at airports and stuff.
Kimberly: Which means I have to wear makeup all the time now! I didn’t used to have to do that in airports.
Reid: It’s funny, in our hometown in East Tennessee, we’re having the impromptu meet-and-greets and getting pictures made, and that gets kind of interesting.
Kimberly: They’re always like “We don’t want to bother you while you’re eating your quesadilla.” And we’re like, “Honey, we worked for 10 years to get to take a picture while we’re eating our quesadilla!” It’s a new thing, but it’s really cool.
It seems like with “If I Die Young” you made the decision to push a few boundaries.
Kimberly: I don’t know that we knew we were pushing boundaries. Naivety is a beautiful thing!
Some of the people around you must have had concerns about the subject matter. How did you convince them to release it as a single?
Kimberly: Well, I think everybody knew that it was the right decision to make. Mainly because that was a song that connected with folks in so many different walks of life. … They would respond to it in different ways to make it their own. … So anytime a piece of art, whether it’s music or painting, strikes that kind of a chord with so many different people, you know you’ve got something special on your hands.
Now you’re moving on to “You Lie.” Is that a song that takes chances, too?
Kimberly: I hope that we’re always taking a little bit of a chance. I like living on the edge.
Reid: Yeah, we want to be able take the next step from where we are in our careers and lives. But “You Lie” is a side of us that people haven’t heard yet. It’s more … spitfire.
Kimberly: And it’s a bona fide country song! … I feel like for us, each of our songs serves as a character, like they are all unique to themselves, and “You Lie” is maybe one for folks that didn’t get our first two singles.
Just judging from the title, is it a cheating song?
Kimberly: Yes, of course it’s a cheating song! Half of country music is built on cheating songs. … It has my very favorite lyric on the whole album, which makes its debut appearance in the first verse. It goes, “I never liked the taste of crow/But baby, I ate it.” And then the whole crux of the story is, this girl’s family and friends were telling her the whole time that her lover-boy was a liar and a cheater, and she didn’t buy it. It’s quite a wonderful story that has its climax on a bridge.
Tell me about the treatment for the music video.
Kimberly: We wanted it to be somewhere between reality and more of a stage production. It begins on this banquet table, and it’s my engagement dinner, but the liar-boy did not show up. So my brothers, to avenge my honor, are out searching for liar-boy, and we get a snapshot of exactly what he is doing while I’m waiting for him.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
Kimberly: I think being a part of all the tours that we’re on. Every single night — because we sign [autographs] after our shows — we’re having the opportunity to meet more of the country music family. It’s really amazing to put faces with the name “country music lovers.”
What do you think will be the biggest difference between your upcoming runs with Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton?
Reid: Well, I do know that we have matching tracksuits for the Tim McGraw tour. (laughs) … That will probably be the big difference. I think Tim McGraw, unlike us, he exercises a bunch. So I think we’ll be wearing out the track suits, going to the gym with him, playing basketball. Whereas, on the Blake Shelton tour, we’re totally lazy. Just show up, eat. That’s pretty much all we do.