If you’ve ever seen the Band Perry perform Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” you know the sibling trio has a knack for putting a modern — yet respectful — spin on songs that came before its time. The country group does the same, albeit with a much tamer delivery, with a Glen Campbell classic released 16 years before its eldest member, lead singer Kimberly Perry, was even born. Their stirring, banjo-rich rendition of “Gentle on My Mind” is featured on the soundtrack to the documentary, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, and was one of the highlights of both the 2013 Grammys and 2014 CMA Awards.
“[Campbell] started out as a session [guitar] player, so he’s a musician, he sings, but he’s an entertainer as well,” Neil Perry tells Rolling Stone Country. “We really got to see that at the rehearsals for the Grammys. We did ‘Gentle on My Mind,’ then Blake Shelton came up and sang ‘Southern Nights.’ Then Glen came up and sang ‘Rhinestone Cowboy.’ But before he did that, he took off his guitar, took off the jacket he had on and put on an actual rhinestone jacket — just for the rehearsal to sing that song! He’s the quintessential entertainer.”
“Gentle on My Mind” won four trophies at the 1968 Grammy Awards — two for Campbell and two for its writer and original performer, John Hartford. Literally hundreds of artists, from Frank Sinatra to R.E.M., have covered the song since, but the Band Perry is the only act to get a Grammy nod for doing so. They’re up for Best Duo/Group Performance at February’s event. Campbell is also nominated, for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the final song he recorded before retiring. It’s in both the Best Country Song and Best Song Written for Visual Media categories.
This week, the Band Perry released an official music video for “Gentle on My Mind.” (Watch above.) The clip alternates between the group performing in what looks to be an old hotel lobby and picturesque acting scenes shot in Death Valley, California. The actors play out the song’s storyline of a rambler who chooses to leave his love but then can’t get her out of his head.
“What a beautiful lyric,” Kimberly Perry tells the Tennessean. “Every time we’re singing it in our three-part family harmony it feels like we’re are singing a poem. It’s one of the most beautiful lyrics to ever come out of this format, and it’s truly an honor to honor Glen with this song.”