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O Pioneers!: The Band Perry talks about Minnesota, accents and the polar vortex

Country group The Band Perry will be performing Feb. 8 at the Sanford Center.

Although The Band Perry feels right at home among the unfamiliar, they might recognize some things when they come to Bemidji for the first time.

The Tennessee trio of siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry will head to the Sanford Center Feb. 8 on their world tour “We Are Pioneers.” The shows feature songs off their recent gold album “Pioneer,” which matches the name of a certain publication you’re reading right now.

The Bemidji show will be one of their first American dates on the tour as the band comes south from Canada like a warm, pleasant version of the polar vortex — which the band narrowly dodged as they played shows for our neighbors to the north.

Frontwoman Kimberly said our state’s famously frigid weather would actually be a welcome relief as the Perrys have been as far north as Dawson Creek in British Columbia — a long way from their native Greeneville, Tenn.

“We’ve been as far north as we can possibly go without being in Alaska at this point,” she joked by phone last week.  

The name “Pioneer” is meant to evoke the feeling of boldly heading out into the unknown, Kimberly said.

“In this record, we’re talking about the future and the hope for the days that we’re all walking toward together,” she said. “For the rest, it was born out of … really having more questions than answers about where we needed to go next, and what we needed to say next.”

The band got to explore new territory during the first leg of the tour, which had them bringing their passionate, distinctly American sound to audiences around Europe.

One of the highlights was getting to hear the variety of national accents when the crowd would sing back the lyrics to the Perrys’ hit “If I Die Young” as the tour crossed into different parts of the continent, Kimberly said. Their favorite accents from the countries they visited are as follows: Kimberly, French; Reid, Scottish; and Neil, German.

Wait … German? Really?

“There’s a lot of character in the German accent,” Neil explained.

The last show where the Perrys were in the crowd rather than on stage was when they went to see Justin Timberlake perform in Edmonton, Alberta, Kimberly said.

“They have all the modern stage technology, it was pretty amazing,” she said.

The Perrys’ own live show has a meatier, less-shiny edge .

“Playing live is our favorite thing to do … for us, it really is our home away from home, if you will,” Reid said. “It’s a pretty big, rambunctious show. We grew up loving country music and rock and roll, and I feel like the rock and roll has definitely seeped into what we do on stage.”