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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: May 6, 2019

The Band Perry comes to Port City Music Hall with a harder edge

Written by: Ray Routhier

The Band Perry – Kimberly, Reid and Neil – will play Port City Music Hall in Portland on Thursday.
Photo courtesy of the artist

In 2010, The Band Perry burst onto the music scene with a No. 1 country hit, “If I Die Young,” which was also a Top 20 pop hit. The three siblings from Alabama went on to win a best country group performance Grammy in 2014 for “Gentle on My Mind.”

In 2018, the band released an electro-pop EP called “Coordinates,” which Rolling Stone said represented a “180-degree shift the rootsy country trio has taken” over the years. But the band members themselves, who grew up listening to hard-edged rock, don’t see their music shifting as much as evolving.

“It just feels natural to us. People want to hear honesty, and I think that’s where our music is today,” said Neil Perry, 28, who plays multiple instruments and sings in the band. “We’ve always experimented with our sound and try not to put ourselves in a box.”

The Band Perry will bring its evolving sound to Portland on Thursday with a show at the Port City Music Hall. Besides Neil Perry, the band includes brother Reid Perry, 30, on bass and vocals and sister Kimberly Perry, 35, on guitar and lead vocals. Satellite Mode, an alternative rock band from New York City, will open the show.

The Band Perry took form when the trio was very young. Kimberly Perry sang in a band in high school and her two younger brothers worked as roadies, moving equipment. But by the time the brothers were 8 and 10 they were playing music too, on stage with their sister. They played local shows around Mobile, Alabama, and by 2005 were playing around the South with various country bands. They were heard by people in the country music industry who recorded them and sent the recordings to record executives in Nashville.

Neil Perry says he and his siblings listened to a lot of different music growing up, but often gravitated to hard rock and bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. Their mother was a country fan, so that was on in the house, too. So when they first began recording music in Nashville, their sound leaned country. After “The Band Perry” album was released in 2010, the band won several country music awards, including Top New Artist from the Academy of Country Music and New Artist of the Year from the Country Music Association.

But after the album “Pioneer” in 2013, the band began changing its sound, Neil Perry said. The band left its label, Republic Nashville, and is now releasing music independently.

The songs from “Coordinates” seem very different from their early work, with electronic beats and hard-driving drums. The sound is hard-edged, and darker, and Neil Perry says some of that is just a natural effect of living life.

Here’s “Marfa Prada” from “Coordinates”

“I think we’ve all gone through struggles, music business struggles, personal struggles, and you can hear that in the music,” he said.

As for playing in the same band with his siblings – working and touring with the same people he fought with over the TV remote – has its pros and cons. But more pros than cons.

“We each have our quirks, and we have to just get over them,” Neil Perry said. “But we have this chemistry from being siblings that is a great benefit. We know each other so well, we know what to expect from each other.”

THE BAND PERRY

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $25 in advance, $30 day of the show, $45 preferred seating; ages 18 and over
INFO: statetheatreportland.com

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