Pioneer by The Band Perry

Do you realize it’s been nearly three years since The Band Perry hit the big time with breakout crossover single “If I Die Young”?

The group’s self-titled debut appeared late in 2010, producing three subsequent hit singles. That stretch of time feels like an eternity in the lightning-fast world of entertainment, but with the release of the group’s sophomore album, Pioneer, it’s clear it was time well spent.

The stakes were high for Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry, but the album’s lead single, “Better Dig Two,” refused to play it safe, spinning a story of obsessive love that went on to become No. 1. That tune also revealed the Perrys’ stadium-sized ambitions, which are all over Pioneer.

The album’s second single, “DONE.,” adds funky guitar and drums for an utterly danceable (and somehow still twangy) breakup anthem. “Forever Mine Nevermind” nods to one of the greatest stadium bands of all time—Queen—with multitracked and layered-to-heavens na-na-nas. Elsewhere, “Mother Like Mine” pays tribute to the Perry matriarch, and songs like “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” and “I Saw a Light” reach for the rafters with soaring harmonies. 

And let’s talk about Kimberly Perry the singer. With this album, there’s considerable evidence that she’s one of the finest vocalists in country, blessed as she is with a bluesy tone and style that are uniquely her. It’s not uncommon—as on “End of Time”—for her to range from a whisper to an all-out scream in one song.

The album’s overall spirit of adventure is summed up in the gorgeous title track, written by the Perrys with fellow family trio The Henningsens. Starting sweet and delicate, it offers a message of encouragement to be bold in the face of uncertainty and doubt as it builds to a thrilling crescendo.

Hopefully it’s a mantra that Kimberly, Neil and Reid will keep in mind for all their future releases.

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