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The Band Perry, Lee Brice, Dierks Bentley, Sheryl Crow Describe Their Upcoming ACM Awards Performances

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The Band Perry

The Band Perry (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images for Big Machine Records)

By Kurt Wolff

Being nominated and then performing on the Academy of Country Music Awards is quite an honor for any artist. But for an artist to be asked to open the show, that kind of resets things entirely.

That’s what happened with The Band Perry, who it was announced last week would open the show with a live performance of their new single “Chainsaw.”

Talking to Radio.com backstage during rehearsals for Sunday’s ACM Awards in Las Vegas, the three siblings and bandmates (Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry) were visibly thrilled as they explained how that came to happen.

The group was already schedule to play the song during the show. “As we began to design the performance and go back and forth and be collaborative with the ACMs,” Kimberly Perry explained, “they envisioned [the song] kicking off the show. So that’s brand-new news for us, too, over the last couple weeks. We didn’t even imagine that we’d have that opportunity, so it’s really cool.”

“Our last performance at the ACMs was ‘Done,’ and that afforded us the opportunity to let our hair down, if you will,” said Reid. “And this time we wanted to be able to set the bar for ourselves and top that performance. So we feel ‘Chainsaw’ was a really great tool to accomplish this.”

The three Perry siblings, though, aren’t the only artists fired up about their live appearance on the show this Sunday. Lee Brice was also honored, not only for his first-ever nomination as ACM Male Vocalist of the Year, but also for the chance to perform his three-times-nominated single “I Drive Your Truck.”

Related: Read the story behind Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck”

“It blew my mind really,” Brice told Radio.com about his nomination. “That was a big deal, there’s a lot of guys out there who deserve that. I would never have expected that, so that was a big shocker for me.”

“I started all this out to sing,” he continued. “When I was a kid, I started writing because I wanted something to sing. So to be up for Male Vocalist….”

Related: See all 2014 ACM Award nominees

Dierks Bentley is also hitting the ACM stage this year, and he’s teamed up for a unique version of his No. 1 hit “I Hold On,” turning it into a duet by with his friend Sheryl Crow.

“She was talking long ago about how, ‘that’s my favorite song on the radio,'” Bentley told Radio.com during ACM Award show rehearsals with Crow in Las Vegas today.

“It’s so personal and it’s rocking and I love it,” Crow chimed in about “I Hold On.” “It’s just classic, great songwriting.”

And so by working with Crow (an “iconic badass,” as Bentley called her) for this special live performance, Bentley said that it allows him to “take the song that I love and give it something extra … it’s going to be really special.”

The 49th ACM Awards air Sunday, April 6 at 8pm ET/PT on CBS.

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