PLANT CITY — The 2014 Florida Strawberry Festival culminates with the Band Perry, one of the hottest acts in American country music.
The group makes its second appearance at the festival at 7:30 p.m. March 9. The first time, the trio couldn't get enough of Plant City's famous fruit.
"I think this year they're going to pay us in strawberries," bassist Reid Perry said, laughing.
The group, composed of siblings Reid, Neil and Kimberly Perry, officially formed in 2005, although they had been performing together since childhood. When Kimberly fronted her first band at 15, she used her younger brothers as roadies. Not wanting to be stuck in their sister's shadow, Reid and Neil formed their own band. The three eventually came together.
The trio was booked for the New Faces of Country Tour. In 2008, the group caught the eye of Garth Brooks' manager, Bob Doyle, and label executives Jimmy Harnen and Scott Borchetta. One year later, the Band Perry signed with Republic Nashville and released the debut single, Hip to My Heart.
But it was the single on the band's self-titled EP, If I Die Young, that crossed over and became the biggest hit. With the help of producers Nathan Chapman and Paul Worley, the single shot to No. 1 on the country charts.
At this year's concert, the band plans to promote songs from its latest album, Pioneer, released last year.
In 2012, the band began working with producer Rick Rubin on the second album and ended the session with producer Dann Huff. The second single, Done, charted No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart, and the third single, Don't Let Me Be Lonely, reached No. 2.
"One of the things people can expect are a lot more new songs," Neil says. "Of course we'll play our old songs, too."
Kimberly is looking forward to performing Chainsaw — a song that would result "if Led Zeppelin and Dixie Chicks had a love child."
Traveling the South as younger musicians, the three have performed at their fair share of festivals, carnivals and even crawfish boils.
"It's really exciting for us to play different shows," Neil says. "We love playing outside, too. The (Florida) Strawberry Festival will be a good one."
After the Plant City appearance, the Band Perry will perform in Dublin and London before returning to North America.
Amber Jurgensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.