I’m not sure if this is a popular opinion among the independent and traditional country world, but I am a fan of The Band Perry. Sure, the big hair and over the top performances on award shows in the past comes across as gimmicky and flashy, but they consistently put out some darn good songs. “Better Dig Two” has a cool, dark vibe, “If I Die Young” is a modern classic, “You Lie” and “Postcard From Paris” are great radio singles, and “Don’t Let Me Be lonely” is a fantastically written song, even if it is closer to pop than country. In today’s mainstream country wasteland, they are an actual bright spot. Their new single is a cover of “Gentle On My Mind” by Glen Campbell, and it is one of the best songs on the radio today.
The song is taken from the soundtrack EP to I’ll Stay Me, the Glen Campbell documentary that deals with his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. The album also features the incredibly moving “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, for which you will need a box of tissues ready when you listen to it. When you cover a song that hit number one and won multiple Grammy Awards, you have to make it your own, yet stay true to the original. The Band Perry did just that. They covered the song with a soft bluegrass-like aura that provides some traditional goodness to the radio waves. The original version came from the Nashville Sound era, with a lot of pop overtones. If there was ever a classic country song to cover with a modern country-pop sound and still claim to be authentic, it’s this one. But, The Band Perry didn’t do that. They did the opposite. They never blow the song over the top or get too big for the moment. Taking a page from “If I Die Young”, the rendition of “Gentle On My Mind” is soft and understated, allowing the lyrics to do the talking. John Hartford’s words still shine as brightly now as they did in 1967. Kimberly Perry gives a great vocal performance. She likes to try to be a big belter like Carrie or Martina in some of their songs, but that just isn’t her style. When she sings in that hushed, whisper like tone, she is among the best in the business. Her brothers add spot-on harmony and great musical accompaniment as well.
There isn’t a whole lot more to say about this song other than I’m a big fan. If you are a fan of traditional country, pay attention to this song. Call and request it, make it a big hit. The only way that country music is going to be resurrected from the downward spiral of the past decade is by good songs making big money. That’s it. We need to demand quality, and then reward the artists who give it to us. Well, The Band Perry gave us quality. They released a bluegrass inspired cover of a song from 1967 to country radio in 2014. They used their valuable time slot on the CMA Awards to perform this song. I don’t care if you think they are over-the-top sometimes. I don’t care if you hated “Done”. I don’t care if you think the two brothers’ hair looks prettier than most prom queens. None of that matters. Let’s make this song a huge hit, and show our appreciation. “Gentle On My Mind” is a breath of fresh air on country radio and will hopefully be a big hit for The Band Perry. Two thumbs up!!