Just one night after turning the 2013 CMT Music Awards “Red” with a dramatic performance, Taylor Swift headlined the first night of Nashville’s CMA Music Festival and shared the stage with a pair of country giants.
Swift’s five-song set at LP Field stadium on Thursday night included her hits “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Mean,” “Love Story” and “Red.” But for her encore she brought out some extra firepower in the form of Tim McGraw and Keith Urban for a cover of McGraw’s “Highway Don’t Care.”
Pulling off her red acoustic guitar, Swift invited McGraw out onstage to perform the song from McGraw’s Two Lanes of Freedom album. As he sang the first verse, Swift shimmied in place, swinging her hips and coming in with her refrain, “I can’t live without you baby.”
By the second verse, the pair gave a longing look and then separated, going to either end of the stage and singing across the expanse before Swift swung her hips back toward McGraw and stood beside him as Keith Urban ripped off the song’s guitar solo. The energetic performance ended with all three stars hugging it out center stage as the audience hollered their approval.
The brief set during the fan-focused festival was just a teaser for Swift’s diehard followers, as she told USA Today that she’s already working on her next album. “It’s starting,” she said backstage at the CMA gig. “All the anxiety is starting. When the anxiety starts, the writing happens right after, usually. Whatever I write in the first year is going to get thrown away. I’m going to like it, but it’s going to sound like the last record. The second year usually sounds like the next project.”
Just eight months after the release of her smash fourth album, Red, Swift said she’s already thinking about how she’s going to switch up her sound and give the fifth release a fresh feel. “I think you need to change up your influences,” she said. “I think you need to be inspired by different things than you were inspired by before.”