The Slow & Plodding Death of The Band Perry is Finally Over
There may not be a greater cautionary tale in the history of country music for what can happen when you chase trends and try to forage in the greener pastures of pop than what happened to The Band Perry. The sibling trio of Kimberly, Reid, and Neil Perry was one of country music’s most promising up-and-coming bands in the 2010s. Young and fresh, but rootsy in nature, with sensible yet smart songs, they could create consensus behind their music by crossing the country music cultural divide with excellent harmonies and traditional instrumentation weaved into contemporary compositions.
But after veering heavily into the pop realm, the popularity of The Band Perry plummeted, resulting in numerous years and numerous projects attempting to retool the band that ultimately failed catastrophically. Totally forgotten by the country mainstream years ago, and struggling to fill rooms on the club circuit, The Band Perry have finally decided to call it quits, at least for now. In a statement published to social media on March 27th, The Band Perry said,
“To our TBP friends and family: We wanted to let you know that the three of us have decided to take a creative break as a group and each focus on our invividual creative pursuits. During this season we will continue to support each other as artists and family in all we do. Thank you for making our childhood dreams come true! Love you all. Kimberly, Reid, and Neil.”
This is a huge fail for a band that was supposed to be the future of country music. The Band Perry’s second single “If I Die Young” went 7-times platinum in 2010, leading to the trio earning Best New Artist recognition from both the CMA and ACMs, and “If I Die Young” being named the CMA’s 2011 Single and Song of the Year. A couple of years later the dark murder ballad “Better Dig Two” co-written by Brandy Clark awakened the early influences of country music’s Gothic past, and the #1 helped launch Brandy Clark’s career.
The Band Perry went on to win back to back Vocal Group of the Year awards in 2013 and 2014 from the ACMs. In 2015, the brother/sister trio earned their first Grammy Award for their cover of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind” written by John Hartford, once again underscoring how this was a band that was capable of bridging the cultural divide in the country music genre.
But it was a few months after the “Gentle On My Mind” Grammy win that The Band Perry decided they needed to take a significant leap forward in their careers, and a strong move towards pop would be the way to do it. The opening salvo was the single “Live Forever” released in August 2015. Up to that point, all of The Band Perry’s original singles aside from their first had achieved Top 10 success, including four #1s, and two #2s. “Live Forever” was a complete reinvention of The Band Perry’s sound, style, and image, and it stalled at #27. This is when the trouble began in earnest.
After their “Live Forever” reinvention clearly failed to find reception with fans, The Band Perry was dropped by Big Machine Records. Then they tried to reinvent the reinvention after a rumored collaboration with Nicki Minaj fell through, at one point claiming incredulously that they were never planning to go pop at all, even though they were clearly on record saying so. They signed a new dual label country/pop deal with Interscope, and released another single called “Comeback Kid” that did even worse than “Live Forever.”
This led to yet another reinvention that brought The Band Perry into their “Coordinates” era, ushered in by a 2018 pop/EDM EP that failed to chart at all (despite the supposed participation of Rick Rubin as an “executive producer”), and took The Band Perry from a mid-sized arena act to playing clubs.
The last nine years feel like one huge unforced error by The Band Perry. If the band would have stayed the course, they probably still would be securely in the 2nd tier of mainstream country. They would still have a place at the table, the pride of doing things their way, a loyal fan base that would stick with them through thick and thin, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with doing something you love, and making a living doing it.
Even though they were already doing better than 95% of the other acts out there playing “country” music, really good was not good enough for The Band Perry, and they coveted superstardom. There are many lessons to be learned from doing an autopsy on The Band Perry’s career. But the biggest might be that being yourself is always the safest bet, and the problem with money is that you can always have more of it.
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March 28, 2023 @ 8:24 am
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but as an experienced musician, these folks were comfortably adequate in skill
Nothing profound, any decent bar band could play as well,
But they had a certain sense for composition and structure in their music that was quite satisfying compared to the dreck of bro country
But still, I don’t miss them.
It’s a good lesson that trying to be a star beyond your skill and betraying the fans who liked what you were doing just ends badly
March 28, 2023 @ 8:29 am
I think if the band could have stayed the course they’d be bigger than second tier. They were better than Little Big Town which I always kinda put in the same vein as them.
March 28, 2023 @ 8:38 am
You may be right. Right now there are no true star bands in the mainstream country “group” space. That’s how Old Dominion has won the last five CMA Vocal Group of the Year awards, which is beyond preposterous, and Little Big Town won it six years in a row before them. This is the same thing that happened with Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves: the industry puts all their clout behind an act, gives them all the awards, and then when they go pop, you have nothing to show for your investment. It’s even worse for The Band Perry because they weren’t even successful at it.
March 28, 2023 @ 8:42 am
If you go back and listen to their self titled album, it would have fit better on the radio 3 years ago than it did when it was released.
March 28, 2023 @ 1:55 pm
Especially Kacey Musgraves !, WOW ! I Have Seen Careers Crash and BURN, But, Hers Was the MOST Promising. Even I could Deal with Her LGTBQ Songs, She Made and Sang them From Her Heart. TBP, And Kacey Should Be Cautionary Tales to ALL Newbies in Country Music Today.
March 28, 2023 @ 2:29 pm
100% Her first album was the first country album I purchased on CD. (I previously bought music from other genres)
March 29, 2023 @ 10:13 am
If you knew Kacey at all you would know she never wanted to be a big star. She was happy playing for a room of 80 and could care less about the money and fame.
March 31, 2023 @ 3:05 pm
So what happened?
May 5, 2023 @ 6:54 pm
Why All Words Capitalized, Are You Having A Stroke?
March 28, 2023 @ 2:30 pm
Taylor Swift won big on this gambit though. And her pop stuff is miles better than her country songs.
March 30, 2023 @ 12:57 am
Because her “country” songs have always been pop songs essentially. I remember my old boss showing me her music in 2007 and I didn’t hear anything country about it.
March 28, 2023 @ 8:43 am
What if they really wanted to do pop and rock? Maybe it wasn’t a mistake in trying to advance a career but a choice of how they wanted to make art?
March 28, 2023 @ 8:56 am
Well one thing you can’t question is their commitment to the bit. But when Kimberly Perry went on record saying they had always been pop, then later turned around and said they’d never been pop … only to turn around and say they always wanted to be pop again, I’m not sure they really knew what they really wanted to do. You look at some one like Hanson, they caught hell for being a silly boy band, but they have stuck with their guns over the years, and are a serious band, even if they don’t play big venues. With The Band Perry, clearly they had aspirations beyond country. Also, there was a quote from Scott Borchetta around the time of the transition, something about wanting to “develop into an arena act” or something.
March 28, 2023 @ 2:35 pm
They fit the bill of a “country” act exploiting the genre to ultimately transition to pop. These people are easy to spot; they don’t listen to country music in their free time. The Band Perry strikes me as the kind of people who only listen to music that is current. I always changed the station when their songs came on anyway.
March 28, 2023 @ 5:15 pm
If Scott Borchetta said that he wanted to develop The Band Perry into an arena act, he must have had delusions of grandeur for them that they couldn’t possibly fulfill. And besides, didn’t Borchetta already have Florida Georgia Line, the “Barons Of Bro”? (he asked rhetorically)
As to The Band Perry’s demise, I don’t think their failure to develop into a big act was caused by the mere fact that they “went pop/country” (I think that’s an argument that country music has had on and off for almost seventy years now, and is still having) so much as it was caused by the way they did it. High points like “If I Die Young” and their cover of “Gentle On My Mind” seemed to say that it wasn’t necessary for them to become a loud arena act, just one that was able to fill actual concert venues (which–and I make no bones about it–arenas and stadiums ARE NOT).
For them to have been anything even close to that, though, Kimberly Perry would have had to have been a vocalist who projects well; and I think she fell short there more than she succeeded. With material like the aforementioned “If I Die Young”, “Gentle On My Mind”, and others of the folk/bluegrass variety, she was in a good enough “zone” as it were. But when she tried to “rock”, especially on the loud stuff like “Done”, her vocal limitations got dreadfully exposed. To do that stuff in a real cohesive way, you kind of have to be Linda Ronstadt or Pat Benatar, and she never was.
I won’t go into the business of bashing them like others here will, and have already done. I’m trying to offer my own careful analysis of where they went wrong. Their demise is a loss for country music in one way, but in another way, because they (or their handlers) got too greedy, they bought that demise onto themselves (IMHO).
March 28, 2023 @ 8:47 am
Used to really love this band when they were good. I think they could’ve been huge had they kept on the country path especially considering mainstream is starting to sound more country.
March 28, 2023 @ 9:01 am
What’s wrong with Live Forever? I love that song, especially when the Highwaymen covered it, and Billy Joe Shaver was one of the greatest songwriters ever.
March 28, 2023 @ 12:23 pm
It’s a different “Live Forever”. They are similar in that they both technically are songs. That’s about it.
March 28, 2023 @ 12:37 pm
Haha, thanks for the response. I was starting to worry that my dad joke was getting an even worse response than the ones with my kids at home…
March 28, 2023 @ 12:39 pm
I love “Live Forever”. Even the BJS/Big and Roch collaboration is amazing. Honest mistake because I’m not familiar with The Band Perry either!
March 28, 2023 @ 4:11 pm
Best thing since Hendrix covered “Hey, Joe.” Boudeloux Bryant and Carl Smith were so proud.
May 26, 2023 @ 11:39 pm
Just speculation on my end here, but I’d say that her brothers were the ones pushing the pop/EDM experiment which clearly failed and was likely a huge factor in the collapse of this band. After all, Kimberly Perry has suddenly re-emerged as a solo artist with a new record deal in pursuit of country music again. Whether or not she will be accepted again by country music fans remains a mystery. Only time will tell, I suppose.
March 28, 2023 @ 9:06 am
I saw them play in my home town back when they were still making hits. Sounded great. Always loved Kimberly Perry’s voice. I still feel like she’d be a great solo artist. Maybe do an acoustic album.
March 28, 2023 @ 9:09 am
I never understood the leap to weird EDM pop the band perry, little big town, and zack brown band all made around the same time. All 3 failed at it, too.
The Other Wayne
March 28, 2023 @ 2:41 pm
I get the feeling there was somebody in the industry advising them to do so. EDM/electronic pop was the “new horizon” of genres for pop artists to experiment with in the early 2010s; I’d assume they were trying (or were told) to get ahead of a trend by cutting EDM pop tracks, but radio-EDM-pop was already on its way out by the time any of these artists released their singles. This is completely a suspicion, but it sounds like a lot of 2nd/3rd tier radio country acts received similar advice and then failed.
March 28, 2023 @ 9:28 am
I liked a few of their songs. They never came off as lifers in the country world, the brothers, especially. Random thought, LeAnn Rimes pulled some of the same junk. I saw her the other day, I preferred her voice with a lil twang.
March 30, 2023 @ 1:54 pm
Not that I care for her music, but I’d give Leann Rimes a pass, considering she reached stardom in country music at the ripe ole’ age of 13. Who has any idea of who they are at that age?
March 28, 2023 @ 9:38 am
There is a video on YouTube of the The Band Perry interviewing Brandy Clark and Chris Stapleton backstage at the ACMs several years ago. The whole thing is completely vapid and tone deaf on the part of the band. They keep asking Stapleton if he and Justin Timberlake are going to do a record together “like Kanye and Jay-Z.” Understandably, Stapleton seems pretty irritated / uncomfortable with it all. Then he tells the story of how Garden & Gun was supposed to put Merle Haggard on the cover of an issue, but at the last minute substituted Stapleton without telling anyone. He criticizes the magazine pretty vehemently, and is really sticking up for Merle. (It is almost like a mini country “protest” moment, as you are so good about chronicling, Trigger.) The Band Perry was completely incapable of engaging in even the slightest bit of substance, and they just laugh awkwardly and quickly try to change the subject. It wasn’t entirely clear whether they even knew who Merle Haggard was, or the point that Stapleton was trying to make. I have no reason to doubt that early in their career they were a good country act, but at least based on that one little moment of country music history, you would never know it.
March 28, 2023 @ 10:01 am
Sturgill Simpson was also incensed over that “Garden & Gun” cover and let them hear it.
Here’s the video:
March 29, 2023 @ 2:17 pm
Wow that’s pretty awful.
March 28, 2023 @ 10:11 am
I don’t think there’s anything ideologically wrong with their career. They wanted to do something different and it flopped. Since they wanted to be superstars, it’s better that they tried and failed than never trying at all. The marketing is a separate issue, I think.
March 28, 2023 @ 4:30 pm
Barely a single person said this would be a good idea. If you remember they were deleting comments on their social media as fast as they came in.
March 28, 2023 @ 10:18 am
I’m surprised they bothered making an announcement. I still don’t understand how they went under right after winning the Grammy.
March 29, 2023 @ 3:59 am
Milli Vanilli won a Grammy. Not that it matters, the Grammies aren’t credible to me.
March 29, 2023 @ 7:37 am
They also had their Grammy revoked.
March 28, 2023 @ 11:46 am
I just listened to “Live Forever”. Not bad but forgettable. I don’t know much about top 40 pop music.
That “If I Die Young” was haunting.
March 28, 2023 @ 12:23 pm
They never were purely Country, but when their first album popped on the scene I thought it was a brilliant mix of Country, Rock, and Folk. And, unless they were embellishing, they did most of their own writing, so it’s hard for me to write them off as a manufactured act. Anyways, I thought they were a pretty surefire bet to have some staying power. They must’ve wanted that Pop thing a bunch, or listened to a fool.
April 3, 2023 @ 6:20 pm
I agree with the assessment of the ZBB. On that tangent, I think that their “Jekyll+Hyde” album was the beginning of the end, or at least the decline. I liked some of its artistic venture, but personally, I am a major, nostalgia-driven, country fan, and I know many of the country music listeners are the same way. Therefore, if you just jam on the breaks and swerve to a completely different sound, it can surprise them at best, and alienate them at the worst.
I then think that the ZBB tried to reverse the process by making “Welcome Home,” with songs like “My Old Man” (my personal favorite) and “Roots,” but country fans tend to remember, and so I think that their reputation has never been the same. With T-swift, she always leaned more in the pop direction, but always (and still) has a clear love and passion for country music and its fanbase, and so keeps her appeal.
With TBP, this is hard for me to do, because I’ve loved them as country artists, but they are the classic example of “killing the golden goose.” They had a niche genre that got them followers, and in my opinion, the style that they brought with their first album would be a breath of relief with all the country-pop that’s on the radio nowadays. Their one fault was that they failed to understand who their audience was. And, like @Trigger said, they continued to double-down on their transition rather than take a step back and realize that this was a bad move. Let’s not forget also, that key differences between TBP and T-Swift were that Swift already was double-dipping with pop success as well as country for nearly 10 years before she transitioned with “1989.” This gave her a set of two successful, established camps that she kept a strong fanbase with, and continues to be respected in both. TBP’s transition came off as an “f— you” to their fanbase, myself included.
My conclusion to this longwinded comment is that the whole thing is kind of sad, as I was a big fan of theirs, and much of my young introduction to the country radio came from their songs. I remember hearing songs like “Done,” “Better Dig Two,” “If I Die Young,” and “All Your Life” (my favorite of theirs) on the radio of my dad’s old truck. There is certain nostalgia to their music for me, particularly the two previously mentioned songs, as they were a breath of fresh air from all of the “Bro Country” that dominated the airplay at the time. Personally, I continue to listen to their old music, and keep the memories that I had in the same special place. “All Your Life” takes me back to a much simpler time and I would honestly rejoin TBP’s fanbase if they made music like that again. Thanks 🙂
March 28, 2023 @ 12:31 pm
A similar story could be told for Zac Brown Band. Although at least ZBB had a sustained period of success before trying to conquer the music world. The success from those first 7 years let them come back to mainstream country even after their pop gamble failed.
if Band Perry had waited 1-2 more albums to try the direction change, they would’ve had a bigger safety net for when it failed. And by waiting, they may have seen that the EDM/pop fad wasn’t here to stay. TBP could’ve had success in the 2023 mainstream country universe where things are slowly becoming more organic.
March 28, 2023 @ 12:56 pm
Zac Brown Band also reversed course. He saw the writing on the wall. The Band Perry doubled down.
March 28, 2023 @ 12:42 pm
What’s funny is that the more traditional-country-sounding “If I Die Young” did better on pop radio than any of their purely pop releases (it crossed over to #12 on the Top 40 radio charts, went #1 at AC and Top 5 at Hot AC in the era of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga). That may have been part of the impetus to start releasing more purely pop singles.
March 28, 2023 @ 1:28 pm
Early in their career, CMT ran a special showing them performing in their hometown, as well as in a warehouse setting. When I saw it, I really understood their appeal. They played and sang and performed well, and Kimberly had a voice and plenty of charisma.
Whoever writes a thorough account of the rise and fall of Clint Black needs to write one on The Band Perry, too. I think both would be fascinating.
March 28, 2023 @ 2:33 pm
Do tell? I thought it was because he wanted to spend more time with his family and his independent label went bankrupt?
He did some great podcast appearances to promote his latest album and I catch one of his interviews on Circle occasionally.
March 31, 2023 @ 5:19 pm
Clint Black’s career went to the toilet because he stopped putting out traditional country songs. Both the song and video for Summer’s Comin’ were insufferable, and nearly all of his songs after that had a similar sound. It blows my mind why artists do that. It’s taken me about 25 years to want to start listening to his early country stuff again because of his change in direction.
March 28, 2023 @ 1:47 pm
The Band Perry is a family group that was formed in the early 200s featuring a teen girl and her kid brothers. When they got their major label deal, the girl was in her 20s and the brothers were still teens.
By its nature, such a group is of a time and place. Trig, you want them to stay what they were? They grew up. If they have musical talent, they probably want to go their own way. It would be phony and absurd for the men who are in their 30s to continue an act as the little brothers.
Hey, the Judds were great, but Wynonna, when she was in her 40s, asking Momma to tell her about life or for her permission to date got artificial and was not what she wanted to do anymore. She went off on her own and made some great stuff in the ’90s (not enough), but she reportedly has a major new project coming out shortly.
March 28, 2023 @ 1:49 pm
Damn, I shouldn’t post without proofing. Misspelled “is” and “its” above.
March 28, 2023 @ 2:02 pm
I got you. If you ever want edits, just leave a comment below requesting them, and I will take care of it.
March 28, 2023 @ 2:40 pm
I loved The Band Perry when they were in country. I saw them in concert then several times, met them often, met their parents and grandmother, went to their fan club parties, etc. If they were still in country, I’d still be going to see them as often as possible. They had certain candy favorites and I enjoyed bringing them a bag of goodies at each show. I do miss them. A lot.
David: The Duke of Everything
March 28, 2023 @ 3:35 pm
They weren’t bad back in the day. I think they should have stayed with that early sound. They probably wouldnt have blossomed into huge stars but could have did well enough to make it further. But maybe going pop was what they really wanted to do and sometimes you have to bet on yourself. They just came up short.
March 28, 2023 @ 4:27 pm
Zac Brown has entered the chat.
March 28, 2023 @ 4:48 pm
They had a short peak but made some great music. I will always wonder if the label is partially to blame for not knowing how to push the trio with the rise of bro-country
March 28, 2023 @ 5:07 pm
That could very well be the case with the “Live Forever” single that flopped. But after that, they were dropped by Big Machine, and were calling their own shots. Maybe Interscope wanted them to continue on the same path as well, but nobody was forcing them to sign anything at that point.
April 2, 2023 @ 6:46 pm
Good point. None of it adds up to me. It would be nice to know the whole story. I hope in time they find themselves and are able to have a second act.
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 28, 2023 @ 6:19 pm
The problem, is anyone who believes anything this group ever did was country.
If your position is, “Darn, they were country when they started; too bad they went pop.”, then you have no idea what C(c)ountry Music is and have no business talking about it.
March 28, 2023 @ 7:58 pm
Honk: you and I probably agree as a general rule but disagree on the finer details
I’d love to pick your brain
For starters, we probably disagreed about exactly when and where country music as an institution, began, and about where it ended.
I usually call country music as an institution beginning with the great speckled Bird recording by Roy Acuff.
And as a rule, I see country music stopped being country music, right about 1980
There are some examples of country artist to record in the 90s ( like randy Travis) that I consider honorary country artists but do not hold them to the same distinction as the country artists of the 50s 60s and 70s
If I recall correctly, you aren’t particularly invested in other styles of music. But I don’t remember, is whether or not, you’ve offered an opinion on western music as a genre, or Bluegrass music. Or if you consider those parts of country music or separate
When country music is done correctly, it isn’t too far removed from Bluegrass. But from my perspective, I am taking Bluegrass and making it the bellwether for how country something is. Because Bluegrass has more or less stand true to its traditions.
Now, let me be clear, there are artists from other styles of music that I enjoy. I like some of the hits of Broadway, there are some jazz records I have enjoyed, there are some rock groups that I like. But I do not feel particularly invested in the styles of music as art forms. I just like the individual albums, sometimes even the catalog of artists as a whole. But I do not consider myself as being an enthusiast of that style of music. Nor do I Try to hold strong opinions on matters relating to jazz. That is for people who like jazz to decide. I am more of a window shopper with jazz. I look I listen and move on
But I want all of the styles of music to remain distinct. Just because I like country and some jazz doesn’t mean I want to mix the two of them. I like spinach puffs, and I like coconut cream pie, but only an idiot put them together.
My specific area of expertise in music, is what I call traditional music. Uncle Dave Macon, the skillet lickers, bascom Lunsford.
And while all of that music is the corner stone, on which both country and bluegrass are erected, I don’t consider uncle Dave Macon, a country artist Any more than I equate Chuck Berry to dragon force, or Guns N’ Roses
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 29, 2023 @ 7:34 pm
My opinion on this isn’t strong enough for me to say you’re wrong. I’m okay with with your beginning and end markers. If you pinned me down though, I’d probably say the beginning was what Ralph Peer did, and I’d put the end in 1997, specifically the meteoric rise of Tim and Faith’s “It’s Your Love”. That song, at the time, was rock bottom as far as I was concerned. There had been a lot of bad songs prior to that, but for some reason that one sealed the deal for me.
How did you land on 1980 as your end year?
March 30, 2023 @ 8:48 am
Honk: I was 1980 as a good bellwether, because it was the first election year that people voting for the first time would have grown up in a world without Patsy Cline, ira louvin, and little Joe Carson
Hee haw was eleven years old and had basically lost its earlier brilliance and was becoming formulaic
The Bakersfield sound was comfortably on its way out. Buck Owens having lost his commercial relevance alongside the success of hee haw
The outlaw movement had come along, and, depending on your perspective on the country music timeline was still happening
The new crop of country stars were more urban, with more drums, more electric bass instead of string bass
The CBS rural purge might as well have been ancient history. The country music audience probably wasn’t watching Green acres Gomer Pyle, or Andy Griffith in the evenings
They most likely would have been watching all in the family instead. I show that takes place in New York.
The most country parts of country, specifically, the acoustics, some of the harmony aspects, the Banjo, dobro and the mandolin, had been edged more into blue grass than main stream country music
Porter Wagner had moved to Opryland, as opposed to his own studio, and was more of a theme park attraction on TV than a legitimate program.
It’s well established that there was a stretch starting sometime at the end of the 70s and running until the arrival of people like Ricky Skaggs, where country music was pop, influenced, similar to what we are seeing today.
From my perspective, it never really went away. Not that I dislike Ricky Skaggs. I think Ricky Skaggs is a remarkable musician, but he’s made it clear that he was always a bluegrass musician doing country, as opposed to being a straight down the road country musician.
Folk and traditional songs had lost their place in mainstream country music. Even 10 years earlier, it was not uncommon to hear, foggy Mountain top, foggy river, or mole in the ground, to say nothing of soldiers joy, Arkansas traveler, Frankie and Johnny, the Knoxville girl, poor Ellen Smith
By 1980, all of the roots of country music we’re no longer relevant in mainstream country. It was slick, polished, even, and made for TV
So I look basically at the end of World War II up to the election of Ronald Reagan, as
being the prime of country music. As well as being the prime of American television culture. And maybe that’s my bias because I love a lot of the shows that the CBS rural purge did away with.
March 29, 2023 @ 7:12 am
Genuinely have no idea how you could listen to a song like “If I Die Young” or their cover of “Gentle On My Mind” and think they weren’t making country music
March 29, 2023 @ 10:39 am
Gentle on my mind wasn’t exactly a country song by the standards of the time anymore than take me home country roads was
Sure, John Hartford may be the only person in the country music Hall of Fame to not actually have been inducted. Sure he played the fiddle and the banjo, on hee haw alongside Roy Clark, grandpa Jones, and Ramona Jones.
Country music loves to lay claim to John Hartford. But John Hartford was really an old time musician.
John Hartford musically had more in common with uncle Dave Macon or string bean, then with the country music of his contemporaries
In fact, if you take the song, gentle on my mind, and compare it to the other iconic country songs of a similar time. It’s quite distinct. Specifically, because John Hartford, as a composer, wasn’t really composing songs that fit the bill as country in the current climate.
And I’m going to go a step farther and claim that Glen Campbell wasn’t exactly the most traditional country singer around either. So it makes sense for him to pick a song that wasn’t a straight down the middle honest to God country song. Glen Campbell was a wrecking crew guitarist for years before becoming noticed as a singer. And an awful lot of those sessions were outside the country fold. They were early rock ‘n’ roll, they were rockabilly, And Glenn Campbell was a pop country singer. Country music loves to embrace Glenn and exalt him alongside and the other more traditional country singers Because of his sheer talent and the quality of his record output. And the same thing happens for John Hartford. Country music has retroactively embraced him as being right there, equal to all of their own, when he was just as much an outsider of the business at the time as John Denver was.
Country adjacent, country, influenced, country stylized, but if Vern Gosdin and George Jones were making country music, John Hartford, sure as hell wasn’t
So it makes more sense. If you look at it in that light, as gentle on my mind, being a pop country crossover hit by an independent artist, who was frequently incorporated into country music spaces that got recorded by a pop country superstar, it makes sense that the band perry, who were in acoustic pop group, that had success in the country genre because of their acoustic work, Which didn’t succeed for them in top 40 Pop, it makes sense that a group like that would cover a song like that. In fact, it’s the logical procession of things.
And please do not take this as any kind of criticism level did Glenn Campbell. Glenn Campbell, is in my opinion, the greatest recording guitarist, who ever walked the Earth. The amount of jaw-dropping solos Glenn recorded for hundreds of other artists before launching his own solo career with a peerless singing voice, that is instantly distinctive, and bringing Guitar chops that have never been surpassed to a solo career that recorded songs that sounded country, covers of songs that were pop, covers of songs that came from rock, as well as playing, Jazz and blues on the guitar.
There’s a reason Eddie Van Halen wanted to get lessons from Glen Campbell.
But I consider Glen Campbell as being bigger than just the country music genre
March 29, 2023 @ 12:54 pm
Glen glen glen*stupid voice to text
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 29, 2023 @ 7:36 pm
By knowing what C(c)ountry Music is.
March 29, 2023 @ 8:41 pm
If those songs are not country music, then I would love to know what you think they are
It’s definitely not pop music with the organic country instrumentation they have
Just because you have some kind of bias against mainstream country music, that doesn’t mean that most of the music The Band Perry made before their heel turn wasn’t country
Especially more so than their peers at the very least
April 20, 2023 @ 6:07 am
I grew up in the 60’s on country music and felt how u do for a long time but as I age I have come to understand that artist like George Strait, Chris Stapleton,
Garth Brooks, Hank Williams Jr etc after every bit as good and every bit country as what came before them. As time passes all things change and artist reflect their sound, their voice and like TBP they can’t hold a sound, they have a sound and it resonates or they fade. TBP were a teen band so they were handled probably from the beginning. They must be pretty young still so writing them off may be premature as individual artist.
March 28, 2023 @ 6:47 pm
I always really loved their first album, and still do to this day. Their second album had some great songs as well (Pioneer, Better Dig Two, Mother Like Mine, and I Saw a Light come to mind as standout songs). The Big Bird/Live Forever era was an incredibly costly mistake that killed off one of the better mainstream acts at the time, sadly. Supposedly, Kimberly is coming back to country as a solo artist. She is slated to perform at CMA Fest this year. I’m intrigued.
March 28, 2023 @ 7:35 pm
Holy shit, the lead singer is unrecognizable these days. She was a 10 back in the day, but damn, she had to of blown whatever she made on some plastic surgery.
Rickie Jon Connors
March 28, 2023 @ 10:59 pm
What a waste.
March 29, 2023 @ 2:28 am
the “yellow” era was… i dunno….DEVO?
March 29, 2023 @ 9:14 am
Big Bird. It was Big Bird.
March 29, 2023 @ 6:24 am
I could be off base, but I always viewed The Band Perry as a family band that probably grew up playing Bluegrass and Traditional Country with their family, but likely preferred pop and radio music as part of a younger generation. They scored some success with the combination of the genres, Bluegrass, Country, and pop, but likely had dreams of transitioning to a more pop country direction all along.
Also see Kimberly as the leader and real focus of record labels with the brothers pretty much just following in her wake. Not surprised she has decided to go out on her own and try to reinvent herself again. Surprised it took this long.
March 29, 2023 @ 8:11 am
They were always frauds.
During their pop transition, there was a poster here called Marie who documented how they were originally a Christian band that suddenly became country because country was more popular. They were always trying to become a larger brand.
It was pretty clear that they listened to the top 40 on the tour bus and not country music.
March 29, 2023 @ 2:41 pm
Oh my gosh I miss Marie
March 30, 2023 @ 7:31 am
We have lost many great posters over the years.
Her documentation on the TBP was first-rate.
I miss Adrian. His Taylor Swift analysis was magnificent.
March 30, 2023 @ 11:54 am
If you’re able to find any of Marie’s best comments, please post some links to them; SCM’s comments section has insights unlike any other music site.
March 30, 2023 @ 1:51 pm
Check out all the articles on TBP during their transition period.
March 29, 2023 @ 10:03 am
Let’s face it, they played us for chumps.
March 29, 2023 @ 12:02 pm
Yeah but that Kimberly is so darned cute! So there’s that!
March 30, 2023 @ 1:40 am
What I dont get is if they were fully committed to this change of direction, why was the vast majority of their set even at the end made up of the 2 albums and not pushing their new sound.
Fm to C
March 30, 2023 @ 3:16 pm
I appreciate the Zoolander faces they’re making in the photo.
Ken Morton Jr
March 30, 2023 @ 9:14 pm
I’m intrigued that I read Kimberly Perry’s name as one of the songwriters/performers in the Live in the Vineyard Goes Country Festival in a set with LANCO, Jackson Dean, and Wade Bowen. I have no reason to know otherwise, but it is possible that it was the brothers that wanted the new pop direction? And Kimberly is revisiting her roots now as a solo artist?
Upper Midwest Listener
April 1, 2023 @ 2:17 pm
I don’t read this site, story popped in my Google Feed. Maybe everyone here is a big happy country clique, here is an outsider take:
I live in upper midwest, grew up in farm town in 80s, parents listened to Kenny Rogers, I was into Def Leppard. I remember in 90’s when Garth Brooks ‘broke’ country single handedly with his KISS childhood infused into Oklahoma rural.
When ‘pop’ moved away to autotune and boy bands, real bands faded until country moved towards ‘bro country’ which I loved because it filled that void.
To me, pop crossover began in earnest when Taylor Swift did the show with Def Leppard. Follow that to Florida Georgia Line collaberating w Nelly and stuff was getting blurry.
Then like the Dixie Chick episode, politics chilled the Country/Pop love fest with the 2016 election, be honest.
Everyone went back to their corners, and bands like The Band Perry got hung out to dry. Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton dropped heavy churchy country albums and kept their buses going.
Based on the current political climate, pop country crossover is DOA, RIP.
April 6, 2023 @ 11:19 am
Their former manager is now managing the generically generic artist Russell Dickerson.
May 7, 2023 @ 9:51 pm
And now Kimberly’s going for the solo career she always wanted. Her first single is “If I Die Young (Pt. 2),” which is such a generic dance-pop sounding record (described as a “sequel” to the original song) it just has to be a mainstream pop country hit. In fact, it reminds me of the pop radio mix of Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” Off to a fast start on the Mediabase airplay charts thanks in no small amount to payo- I mean, “an airplay deal” from the iHeart stations.