“If I Die Young” has done a lot to create a buzz for The Band Perry. The song is one of the five best-selling current country singles, and it helped the family trio get a nomination from the Country Music Association for Vocal Group of the Year.
Despite the big accolades, though, the thing that really has TBP jazzed is the personal way it’s touched music fans. They’ve heard stories about it being used at funerals, and in one instance, they received a letter with a meaningful gift.
“This necklace fell out with a little ring on it, and then there was a hand-written note on there as well, so we started reading it,” Kimberly Perry recalls. “This girl, I think she was about 18 years old, and her best friend had just died. And she talked about how she had been walking through a really dark period ever since her friend had died, and she was sort of a little bit lost. One day on the way home from work — it was sort of the pinnacle of her grief over her friend — she was contemplating suicide and actually heard ‘If I Die Young’ on the radio on the way between work and home. And she said in her letter, ‘This song saved my life.’”
The letter and the necklace are something Kimberly and her brothers, Neil and Reid Perry, will not forget. The jewelry was a gift that the friend had given to the letter-writer just before she died. Because the song had become so meaningful, she passed it along to the band, and the Perrys now carry it everywhere they go.
“It was just so special and so haunting,” Kimberly notes, “to hear that three and a half minutes that we of course poured our hearts into — that it would have helped counsel her, if you will, through a dark period in her life.”
That fan was not the only one to respond. Numerous people have paid homage to family, friends, pets and soldiers by posting homemade videos online with “If I Die Young” as a supporting theme. And, of course, the country music business gave TBP that CMA nomination despite the fact that its first full-length album hasn’t even been released yet.
“It’s amazing to me,” Kimberly says, “how folks are finding so much life in a song about death.”
The Band Perry’s debut album will be released Oct. 12.