I like the song, If I Die Young, The Band Perry’s uplifting take on a downbeat subject. The topic may be the end of a young life, but the song is infused with joy, gratitude and wisdom.
In an interview with the Boot, Kimberly Perry talksabout the song, which she wrote for the band’s debut album that hit stores October 5, 2010. The band is composed of siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry.
‘If I Die Young’ is actually the first song that we had penned for the album. It defines an early chapter of our music career. We penned it on a cloudy day in East Tennessee, which is where we live and do all of our best thinking. We wanted to write a song about making the most of whatever time you’re given — whether it’s two years, twenty years or two hundred.
We really have gotten to live and love at our young ages. ‘If I Die Young,’ for us, is about if it all ends at this moment, look at what we’ve gotten to do. Whatever time we’re given will be absolutely enough as long as we make the most of it.
It’s been really cool on all of our Facebook pages. We’ve had people writing in and telling us about what this song means to them. People are finding a lot of life through this song. That’s the spirit that we wrote it out of. That makes us so excited.
Here’s a history and overview of the band from their website:
“Daddy rocked us to sleep with the Rolling Stones; Mama woke us up with Loretta Lynn. So we get it honest.”
Inheriting a cross-pollinated love of country and rock & roll from their parents, The Band Perry – siblings Kimberly, Reid, and Neil Perry – say that they bleed the bright red blood of American music.
The three have always felt the drive to perform and create music, sweating out the summers in Mobile, Alabama playing in any dusty roadhouse or church that would have them. Kimberly strapped on her first Gibson – and fronted her first high school band – at age 15, employing Reid, then 10, and Neil, only 8, as her roadies. Changing guitar strings and polishing cymbals for their big sister lost its charm after awhile, so the brothers formed their own band, opening for Kimberly’s band.
“My bass and I’ve been attached at the hip since I was 10 years old,” says Reid. “While most of my friends were playing little league, I was sitting in my room learning Rolling Stones’ and Beatles’ bass lines. It’s really all I’ve ever known.”
Even as the three worked in different bands, the siblings would spend nights at home playing together: “I remember sitting out on our front porch singing old Hank Williams and Bobbie Gentry songs in three-part harmony, hoping to channel the spirits of old country through musical séance while fighting off the southern Alabama mosquitoes,” says Kimberly. “We always knew we’d take the stage together – all we were waiting on was the right moment.” That moment came in July of 2005, when – after years of writing together – the siblings decided to join forces as one band. The Band Perry was then invited by the Coca- Cola Bottling Company to open all of the dates on their “New Faces Of Country” Tour that year.
In the summer of 2008, after spending a few years on the road honing their sound, TBP met longtime Garth Brooks manager Bob Doyle. Partnering with Bob and Josh Pegram, The Band Perry spent the fall and winter of 2008 writing in Nashville and collecting songs for their first country recording session.
“The three of us bring different strengths into the writing room,” Neil points out. “Kimberly carries in a bag of melodies and lyrics, Reid always has some really great musical ideas in his back pocket, and I bring in a sense of humor and some thread that ties it all together.”
The new recordings caught the ears of Scott Borchetta and Jimmy Harnen, the CEO and President of Republic Nashville, signing to the new label in the summer of 2009.
When talking about The Band Perry, each member of the trio stresses how much family figures into the mix: “Reid, Neil and I share genes and a musical pedigree,” Kimberly explains. “We read the same classics and cook from the same recipes. With all of our likenesses though, I believe it’s our distinctions that stir up the magic when we create. When the three of us sit down to write songs together, we pull from all of our individual perspectives and happenstances to create the most interesting song concoctions.”
“There’s a tightness between the three of us that goes way beyond even best friends,” Neil adds. “Family vocal harmonies can’t be fabricated. And, besides – the three of us know that through the thick and thin of life and the music business, we’re watching after each other.”
“Blood runs thick. The music business can be hard, but the three of us are committed not only to our lives in music, but to living them together,” Reid says. “I think the security of knowing that about each other allows us to be uninhibited when we create. It’s a democracy. It’s a safe haven.”
“We’ve walked a long way to find your ears,” Kimberly Perry finishes with a grin. “So play us long and play us loud. The Band Perry is here, and we just have so darn much to say.”
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