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Second time is still a charm for the Band Perry

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The Band Perry can assuredly call the sophomore slump a none-concern.

The sibling trio from Alabama lit the country and pop worlds up with its self-titled 2010 debut, a platinum success that launched five hits and helped the group win a half-dozen awards. "Pioneer," which came out in April of 2013, brought the Band Perry back strong, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Country Albums chart, both higher than its predecessors, and sending another three singles (so far) into the country Top 10, including the No. 1 "Better Dig Two."

So it's not surprising the group -- which is one of the headliners at this weekend's WYCD Downtown Hoedown in Detroit -- feels like it's leapt from newcomer to established status in relatively short order.

"I think the first moment we didn't feel the sophomore slump and the nerves was right after our performance of 'Better Dig Two' on the CMA Awards," says Neil Perry, 23, the youngest of the three Perrys. "It was definitely a changing of the guard, if you will, in the Band Perry, like we felt a shift in the band at that moment. We felt like we'd reached a whole other level.

"And that's what we wanted to do right from the beginning of making 'Pioneer.' We wanted to up our game. We're our biggest constructive critics and our biggest competitors, so we just strive to better ourselves and better our music, and I think that'll obviously be the case."

The song "Done," meanwhile, also gave Neil and Reid Perry -- who formed the group with sister Kimberly after working as roadies for her solo act -- their first No. 1 single (on the Country Airplay chart) as co-writers.

"Yeah, that was really exciting," Neil Perry says. "You'll always remember your first No. 1, and that was the last song we actually wrote for 'Pioneer.' That song jsut came out effortlessly; we jumped in the writing room with some friends and wrote it in a day. And once we did that, we knew we were done wtih the album. It just kind of wrapped everything up perfectly."

"Pioneer," meanwhile, is hardly wrapped up as far as the Band Perry is concerned. A fourth single, "Chainsaw," is currently climbing the charts, and a successor is currently under discussion. There are plenty of other good things ahead for the group as well -- Kimberly Perry's upcoming wedding to Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, the Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014 with Blake Shelton (the Perrys were guest advisers for Team Blake on "The Voice" this season) and a third album, which Neil Perry says is "a work in progress" as the group searches for "the core songs that we can build the album around."

And while all that's going on, the Band Perry is happy to keep pushing "Pioneer" on the recording trail.

"I think the new songs have put a new energy into our love show," Neil Perry says. "That's the biggest deal for the three of us; everything we do points back to the live show, and we're really proud of how those songs have come over live. They're very sing-songy. They're fun melodies for the whole crowd to sing with us; I think the crowds have an enjoyable time singing 'Done' back to us or singing 'Chainsaw' back to us.

"So it's a very exciting show now, and I think the songs off 'Pioneer' have a lot to do with that. That was a big deal for the three of us."

The WYCD Downtown Hoedown takes place Friday-Sunday, May 30-June 1, at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. Headliners include the Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Kellie Pickler, Love and Theft and others, as well as a lineup of local and regional acts. Three-day passes are sold out; individual day tickets are $29.50. Visit www.wycd.cbslocal.com or www.olympiaentertainment.com for schedules and other information.

Web Site: www.wycd.cbdlocal.com

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