Indie-folk musician Rain Perry climbs ‘Beautiful Tree’ to new popularity heights

By Mike Cidoni, AP
Friday, October 1, 2010

Perry climbs ‘Beautiful Tree’ to new heights

LOS ANGELES — For Rain Perry, it’s a case of exposure unexpected.

On a good night, most indie-folk artists play for an audience of a couple of hundred in clubs or coffeehouses. But millions of viewers have heard Perry’s song “Beautiful Tree” under the main-title sequence for the CW drama “Life Unexpected,” which launched in January and returned last month for its second season.

“It’s a little bit surreal in the sense that I know that people have seen it, but I’m still driving my kid to school in the morning,” Perry said, with a laugh. “I’m not Gaga.”

“But in terms of people finding me online and saying, ‘Hi,’ and saying they heard the song or that they liked the song or that it reminds them of their families, that’s expanded exponentially.”

“Life Unexpected” spins around an emancipated minor who, after a life in foster care, reconnects with her birth parents. “Beautiful Tree” celebrates the endless variations of family: “Bent or broken, it’s a family tree,” goes the lyric.

The Ojai, Calif.-based Perry, 43, knows what she sings, as the Hollywood-born child of actors. After her parents split, she spent time in what she called a religious “cult” with her mother, who died when Perry was just seven, then went to live with her recently deceased father, whom Perry dubbed a “hippie.”

“(The song) is about coming to terms with the counterculture, for one thing — which,you could imagine, since my name is Rain — and coming to terms with your family, whoever they might be.”

“Beautiful Tree” is actually from Perry’s last album, 2008’s “Cinderblock Bookshelves,” inspired by her childhood. Her new CD, “Internal Combustion,” was released last month and forges into adulthood, including a sultry, stripped-down reworking of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.”

“It was great to do an album that wasn’t about my dad,” Perry noted. “It deals with lust and obsession and grief and art and growing up. It’s a grown-up record.”

Perry’s not expecting a stampede of “Unexpected” viewers to buy it.

“I have no illusions,” she explained. “I’m a indie-folk artist and this is a really fun little blip that happened. I am very grateful for it. I am just taking it for what it is and we will see what happens next.”


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