All weekend leading up to Sunday's ACM Awards, the Dallas area was awash with country stars stepping out to high-wattage events around time. On Friday night, The Band Perry -- who were nominated for vocal group of the year -- attended the ACM Lifting Lives Gala, hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood at the Omni Dallas Hotel to benefit the ACM's philanthropic efforts. For lead singer Kimberly Perry, working with the organization has a special place in her heart.
"We love the ACM's for so many reasons, but especially their charitable arm, which is Lifting Lives. We've gotten to work up and close and personal with them," Kimberly Perry told Billboard. "Last summer was the first time, when they did the big camp in Nashville. These were campers who have Williams syndrome (a genetic neurodevelopment disorder), so they invited us to come out, and we all spent three hours and wrote a song together -- forty songwriters in one group. The campers are here tonight, and we're going to get a chance to sing it ('Bright Eyes') together, so it's really special. Music therapy is so important, and Lifting Lives puts a spotlight on that cause." At the gala, The Band Perry hit the stage to perform several songs, including a rendition of "Bright Eyes" with several Lifting Lives campers.
With the MLB season off and running, Kimberly, who married Tampa Bay's J. P. Arencibia last June, spoke about the challenges -- and benefits -- of being a pro baseball spouse. "There's lots of distance between us, but I think the great thing for us as a couple is we're very determined and goal-oriented," she explained. "I think we understand that because each of us have our own pursuits. I'm missing him, but he's fighting the good fight out there." Cheering on the Rays is something that has taken her some time, though. "Secretly, we all grew up as Cardinals fans. Don't tell him that, even though he's playing for Tampa this year. But, I love the weather there, and know we're going to become fans for sure."
Garth Brooks -- who also hit the stage to perform with wife Yearwood and Keith Urban at Friday's Lifting Lives gala -- talked about being nominated for entertainer of the year for the seventh time at the ACM Awards (a fan-nominated award that ultimately went to co-host Luke Bryan). "You don't feel like anything more if you win it, or you don't feel like anything less if you don't. It's just nice to be nominated," he said. All told, Brooks has won 21 trophies from the ACM and was honored with the milestone award at the ACMs.
Yearwood, who first won the top new female vocalist at the ACM Awards in 1991 and top female vocalist six years later, has been in multi-tasking mode recently: In addition to the success of her latest disc, Prizefighter, the singer is celebrating the fact that Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life debuted at No. 7 on the New York Times Best-Sellers list. "It's been out two weeks, and it's doing well," she said. "This is my third one, and I'm as surprised as anyone to be standing here talking about the third book -- but I'm having fun with it, so it's good."
Yearwood also premiered the sixth season of her Emmy-award winning Food Network show, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, on April 18th.