May 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

Downtown Hoedown headliner the Band Perry is making itself heard

Siblings Neil, left, Kimberly and Reid Perry make up the Band Perry, which recently had the No. 1 country album with 'Pioneer,' its sophomore release. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Contemporary country group the Band Perry has broken into the pop mainstream with the release of last year’s youthful-sounding and critically acclaimed album “Pioneer.”

The band — siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry, all songwriters — has seen “Pioneer,” its second studio album, peak at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

We talked to lead vocalist and guitarist Kimberly Perry about the band’s hot streak and its appearance at WYCD Downtown Hoedown, which the group headlines Sunday at Comerica Park.

With your recent success, including headlining your first tour this year, how has the momentum changed your day-to-day life?

It usually happens in airports because that’s the biggest cross section of American humanity when we get recognized on a day off. It’s a cool thing to understand that, just like you said, more and more of the population has seen us on awards shows and have heard our songs on the radio and there is a greater awareness, especially when we see that translate to the live show. How many people are out there in the seats and how many people are singing along.

Country music seems to be a very tight-knit community, compared to other genres. It seems like everyone knows each other.

I think there’s a humanity about country music that brings us all together, and there’s also that connection between the artists and the fans. I feel like the distance between the fans and the stage doesn’t really exist. I feel like we’re having a giant conversation with our crowd, singing songs that we’ve lived through and definitely they’ve lived through, too. That humanity ties us together.

Couple of weeks ago we were in Nashville playing a benefit for the Nashville Symphony, and we had this song idea. I really felt like Eric Church would be the perfect guy to finish this. We called him up, and he had the morning off ... and we wrote a song. (It’s an unreleased song that Kimberly said might be on the band’s next album.)

This Sunday you’re headlining the Downtown Hoedown, a country music festival set in the middle of Detroit. Will this be a nice change of pace from the shed and arena shows?

We always love when we can come to the height of the city. We have a great relationship with country radio in Detroit. I think we only played in the heart of Detroit once, and it was the opening day of baseball season, and it was the windiest day! It was so chilly, but we were just so excited to be there. To come back and play in the evening, it’s going to be a special moment.

The Band Perry appeared on “The Voice” recently, supporting voice coach Blake Shelton, whom you are touring with later this year. How is it working with him?

Blake is kind of like the big brother in country music. I just love that he has the brotherly sensibility about him. We’ve been extremely supportive of him on “The Voice.” He’s wrapping an arm around these young singers. When we got the call to come and be mentors on “The Voice,” we didn’t think twice about it. You’ve got the competition between the artists and the vocalists, and it’s so entertaining. It’s a special thing to give back all the knowledge and wisdom we have collected and pour it out on these singers.

How do you guys get along on the road? What do you guys like to do while you travel?

Neil is definitely the explorer. He loves photography, so at all of our tour stops he likes to go on the hunt for sights to put on his Instragram. The three of us, we try to venture out and soak up the local culture, whether that’s having a meal together and just getting out around the town. The three of us love the road and our tour bus. We’re in Nashville working on the album, and we live on the tour bus while we’re here. We prefer our bus to hotel rooms; it’s our apartment on wheels. The three of us get along really well. We know when to give each other space, and we come together for afternoon songwriting sessions.

The Band Perry

8:45 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage

mbaetens@detroitnews.com
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