The Band Perry: Billboard Cover Story
"We have worked really hard on 'Pioneer,'" Kimberly says. "We're kind of excited to just hit the reset button. Even at our shows the past two and a half years, we've been playing the same eleven songs, so we're excited to put out into the world all these things that we've been thinking, and everything we've been living out over the past couple of years, which is exactly what the tracks on Pioneer talk about."
The album's first single, "Better Dig Two," found it's way to the top of the Country Songs chart, which helped the Perrys breathe a huge sigh of relief. "It was a benchmark for us," admits Reid Perry. "We were coming off the success of 'If I Die Young' and the first album. We released the single, and played it on the CMA Awards all in one night." Seeing the song's popularity, "was really a morale booster, and gave us a lot of encouragement."
Kimberly admits that past success aside, there were some butterflies. "We were so nervous. We were biting bullets, biting fingernails, keeping our fingers crossed that the world would get what we were doing musically – next. You hear about the fears of the sophomore slump all your life, even before you have a song on the radio. It was so important that the first song resonated – not only with our fans, who gave us the opportunity to make a second album, but also with our critics. I think everyone really got what we wanted to do next. It has teeth, but it also has an Appalachian melody and lyrical sense."
The trio shares that lyrical sense with rising trio the Henningsens, with whom they wrote six cuts on "Pioneer." What makes that writing partnership work? Kimberly says "They're a family. We're a family. They grew up in rural Illinois, we grew up in the deep south. There's so much sensibility when we sit down to write. They're avid readers, as we love to read, so we really get each other on those levels. It's cool to take a seemingly complex thought and fit it into a creative bed of music and lyric that resonates universally. I feel that we have really discovered this really cool art between the six of us."
"We made some of the most bold musical decisions on this record," Kimberly adds. "We kind of got gut-level as a family and as a band and we said, 'What is the most important thing?' Is it the fame? Is it the fortune? And it was always, no, it's just making the making the right album, making the most honest album that we can. That was what was most important. And I think that's ultimately the beauty of 'Pioneer.'