As the lead singer in The Band Perry, Kimberly Perry had tremendous success in the early 2010s with tracks like ‘If I Die Young’ and ‘Better Dig Two’. The band established themselves as something of a tour de force in Country music and these pioneers (pun intended) played their energetic and impactful songs on stages all over the world. A decade later, after some turbulent professional and personal moments, Kimberly Perry is back, solo, in Nashville and launching her career with ‘Bloom’, a return to the sound that we knew and loved: with some added wisdom, experience and life lessons learnt mixed in for good measure.
We recently spoke to Kimberly all about The Band Perry and her new EP and you can read that interview with here right here
Fans of The Band Perry will be thrilled with what Perry has achieved on ‘Bloom’. It sounds like a natural progression from the ‘Pioneer’ album, a decade later and with the benefit of years of growth and personal evolution augmenting the writing. To launch this third phase of Kimberly Perry’s career with a re-working, re-imagining, sequel to the iconic ‘If I Die Young’ is sheer genius. It establishes, immediately, a connection back to her halcyon days, evoking memories of exciting times in the minds of fans whilst showcasing something new: a very clever riposte to her younger self as she reminisces on the naivety of youth in a meaningful and heartfelt way. ‘I’ve had time to bloom,’ Perry sings, ‘…and I’m changing my tune.’ Clever stuff, indeed! She ruminates on the passing of time and how precious life is compared to the precocious statements that littered the original! ‘I’m so glad I’m here now rather than somewhere underground,’ she concludes as she works within the structure of the original song, singing the familiar cadence and melodies in a new and still impactful way.
Elsewhere, the effects of time and benefits of wisdom are like a binding narrative tying all these songs together. On ‘Burn the House Down’ Perry gives us a biographical peek behind the curtain at what she feels you need to do to be able to start over in life. ‘You can’t rise from the ashes,’ she sings, ’till you burn the house down.’ Re-birth and renewal are a feature here on this mid-tempo track with a funky bass line and powerful, singalong chorus. ‘I can’t live a new life with the same address,’ she concludes as she draws you in to her origin story and makes you really root for success in this next phase.
Re-birth and renewal are also a feature of the best song on ‘Bloom’. Once the dust settles and the hoopla surrounding ‘If I Die Young Part II’ has quietened down, ‘Cry at Your Funeral’ will emerge in all its glory and, hopefully, provide Kimberly Perry with another number one hit. It’s a darker, fiddle driven song with the drums providing the urgent backbeat to a bigger, expansive chorus as an unapologetic yet graceful Perry sings goodbye to a spouse or a lover in a very serene and positive way. All the benefits of age are at play here. ‘A slow wave to send you off, I only wish you well,’ she says, partly through gritted teeth and partly through personal growth & mindfulness. ‘I laid us to rest,’ (there she is with those death metaphors again!), ‘All my sad girl tears have run dry.’ What a banger of a song this is, echoing those broad, uptempo sweeping moments that we came to love in The Band Perry with a little of Perry’s own personal wisdom on a song that makes you want to dance with gay abandon and carefree joy.
‘Bloom’ is rounded out with two love songs that feel very personal and are both finely crafted pieces of modern Pop/Country. ‘Ghosts’ was inspired by a greeting card Perry came across with 2 skeletons on it and the phrase ‘Til death do us part is for quitters.’ It’s a southern gothic inspired love song full of powerful sentiments and powerful imagery. ‘I’ll love you when we’re both six feet buried,’ (she’s at it again!), ‘I’ll find you in heaven,’ she says as acoustic guitars and strings combine to produce a lush backdrop and cinematic landscape on top of which Perry can tell her tales. ‘Smoke ‘Em Too’, meanwhile, is a love song and a song of thanks full of clever contradictions and quirky lyrics in which Perry realises she is now in a relationship where her ‘wildest dreams have come true’ and that she can be herself and still be loved. There’s a paradox to most of the lyrics on offer here, ‘I want red roses but I don’t want the thorns,’ Perry sings at one point, full of girlish uncertainty and self-entered confusion but the woman that finishes the song is a strong, independent and well loved one that knows her own worth and is grateful for the relationship that got her there.
When Kimberly Perry announced that The Band Perry were going on hiatus, something we’d thought they possibly were since the pandemic anyway, and was returning to Country music she must have worried about what the reception was going to be like in this notoriously insular and often walled off genre. ‘Bloom’ proves that this is not a cynical or lazy attempt to re-capture former glories – it’s a deep, meaningful and very open and honest foray into a new (old) world for her that feels nothing but natural. After some time away in which the likes of Maren Morris, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde and Kelsea Ballerini have come along and built on top of everything that Kimberly laid down a path for within The Band Perry, she is now returning, full of the benefits of a little age and wisdom, to throw down the gauntlet to these challengers and say, ‘I was here before you and here I am now.’ That fiery mix of Country soul and southern gothic has never sounded so good and we can’t wait to see what more songs Kimberly Perry has coming down the line later in the year as she rounds out ‘Bloom’ into a larger body of work.
Tracklist: 1. Smoke ‘Em Too 2. Burn the House Down 3. Cry at Your Funeral 4. Ghosts 5. If I Die Young part II Record Label: RECORDS Nashville / Columbia Records Release Date: Friday June 9th Buy ‘Bloom’ now