If there's a sense that the festivities of ACM Week in Dallas have taken on a life of their own this year, Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet insists that you would be correct in that assumption.
"It's bigger, bolder and better than ever," Sweet said after the band rehearsed at Arlington's AT&T Stadium on Saturday afternoon (April 18). "It's a big party and also a reunion for all of us who don't really get to see each other that much. It's a big time."
LBT's Karen Fairchild says the feeling is quite unique from many of their performances. "I can't wait to see what it's going to feel like in that room with 70,000 to 80,000 fans," she said. "We've experienced some pretty big festivals, but I think this will take the cake. It's enclosed and it's going to be so electric in there."
On Sunday's CBS telecast, Little Big Town will perform its latest single "Girl Crush." Vocally, the group was as tight as ever on the first run-through at rehearsals, but Fairchild stressed there are other factors they want to make sure are right.
"Obviously, the sound is important, but we're also looking for the right delivery of the song, camera-wise and what connects the most," she explained to The 615. "We're watching and getting feedback from our team. It's kind of calculated because it's such a big room out there, but there's people watching at home, so you have to make it intimate. There's a lot of discussion about it, and tweaking the camera angles and sound. We want to be as comfortable as we can so we can give the best performance," she added, stressing that still things can get interesting on live TV. "You have to be on edge and ready because the unexpected always seems to happen."
When asked about the recent spike in airplay and sales for the single -- which met with a little bit of controversy as the song was moving up the chart -- LBT's Kimberly Schlapman was honest.
"It was hard at first," Schlapman admitted to Billboard. "On this side of it, it's been great. It has given huge life to the song, but when it was happening, it was disheartening. We heard all these angles and negative news stories about the song. But what was so incredible was that the people who heard it and believed in it rallied around it. Then people started buying it like hotcakes on iTunes. So on this side of it, it's good that more people have heard it. The song is just a solid one for the ages."
With dates piling up for Little Big Town this summer, the 2015 vocal group of the year nominee is set to take the music of Pain Killer -- nominated for album of the year -- to the masses. And to ensure the band doesn't go hungry, it has a cook on the road -- Schlapman, who hosts GAC'S Simply Southern series and has just released a new cookbook, Oh Gussie! Cooking and Visiting in Kimberly's Southern Kitchen.
Fairchild says they have taken note of her talents. "We're putting her to work this summer and we're going to cook all 100 of the recipes in that book," she says. "We haven't tasted all of them."
Schlapman says she's more than happy to oblige. "We always cook every summer. We get our grill and make a bunch of side dishes. Jimi flips burgers and we have a good ol' time."
The other members of the group are big fans of her knack with sweets. "Kimberly will treat us to a bunch of desserts throughout the year," Sweet admits. "On each of our birthdays, she makes us our favorite cake. So we get treated very well and try not to eat too much."