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The Band Perry Aims for More 'Romance' on New Album

Sibling trio already road-testing new material during summer tour

The Band Perry performs in Detroit, Michigan.
Scott Legato/Getty Images
June 6, 2014 10:04 AM ET

With an opening slot on Blake Shelton's Ten Times Crazier tour — as well as a handful of headlining shows in support of the group's second album, 2013's gold-selling Pioneer — the Band Perry is in the midst of another busy summer. That hasn't stopped the family trio from setting aside some time to work on another record, though — even if it means flying back home between shows.

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"We're in the studio," mandolin player Neil Perry confirmed during a press conference Thursday morning, minutes before joining his siblings, bassist Reid and athletic leader Kimberly, for a "fan club breakfast" honoring 500 of the band's biggest supporters. "We were in there yesterday, working on a new music, but we're on the road as well. So we're bouncing back and forth between playing shows on the weekends and recording on the weekdays."

That sort of schedule hasn't left the Perry siblings with much time to rest. Earlier this week, Neil and Reid spent three hours at a Nashville recording studio, where they recorded background vocals for a new song. Afterward, they changed clothes and headed downtown for the 2014 CMT Music Awards. Although the Band Perry won the very first award of the evening — taking home a trophy with the inventive, chess-inspired music video for Pioneer's second chart-topper, "Done" — they chose to keep working instead of celebrating. Once the ceremony wrapped, all three headed back home, where they fueled up on midnight snacks ("Oreos and baloney sandwiches," Kimberly specified) and signed 500 8x10 photos for their fan club members.

Luckily, they're familiar with the process of jumping back and forth between projects, especially when a new record is at stake.

"We learned the art of that while doing Pioneer," Kimberly explained after the press conference, during an exclusive chat with Rolling Stone Country. "Necessity is the mother of invention. We toured a lot while we worked on that record, so we were in two totally different head spaces. We'd be doing our live show at night, but we'd also need to be creative during the day, so we could write songs and record them when we get home. We got really militant about it, and a lot of the songs on the album came out of that spirit. That was the visual we had at the time: an army marching forward.

"We're trying to have a little more romance about this new album," she added. "We are definitely ping-ponging between things again... but we're allowing more time for creative flow, too."

They're also allowing fans a rare chance to hear several of the songs in concert, sometimes months before they're recorded.

"We soundcheck with new songs all the time," says Reid, "but if there's a new song that we want to get in front of some real ears, we'll actually play it live as well. It's not necessarily the kind of gauge that tells you everything, but you can see if [the crowd] is paying attention. You can see the spark."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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