One measure that you’ve made your mark in country music: being asked to preside over one of the annual CMA events.
Kimberly Perry, of the award-winning Band Perry, and Luke Bryan both can claim that signpost now. They co-host ABC’s now-annual three-hour special “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” Monday, Sept. 17. The show condenses the Country Music Association’s four-day Nashville gathering that brings artists and fans together every June.
Perry and her performing partner brothers Neil and Reid were feted by the CMA last year with the song and single of the year awards for “If I Die Young,” which she wrote. As if that wasn’t flattery enough, she got an additional honor via the organization’s offer to be one of the point people for its summer-ending television showcase.
“I like to run my mouth,” Perry tells Zap2it. “It was such a great time also to spend a little bit more time with Luke. We toured together with Tim McGraw last year, so we’re buddies, and it was great to figure out together how to do things … like interview other artists. This was the first time I’d ever done anything like that, on camera no less, so it was truly an experience.”
Perry and Bryan also will perform during the ABC show, as will many of country’s other top acts. Among them: Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, spouses Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Jason Aldean, and Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood (who again will co-host this fall’s CMA Awards Nov. 1 on ABC).
“It’s one of our favorite weeks of the whole year,” Perry says of her, her siblings and the CMA Music Festival. “As we travel to different towns every day, we get to see fans in pockets, but it’s really wonderful at the CMA Music Festival to look out and see a lot of your fans all in one place.”
Not to mention fellow country artists, too. “One of the coolest things of the past couple of years,” Perry reflects, “has been the opportunity to learn from, and become friends with, our heroes.”