These days, it’s almost impossible to see Taylor Swift live somewhere other than a packed stadium or a special industry function, which is why her schedule this past weekend was particularly shocking. As recounted by The Tennessean, Swift made a surprise appearance at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, where she joined prolific country songwriter Craig Wiseman onstage to sing some hits, drink whiskey, and reminisce about her country roots. Welcome back, Old Taylor.
Swift’s rare drop-in was reportedly filmed for a documentary in honor of the Bluebird Cafe’s 35th anniversary this year. The storied venue holds special significance for Swift because it’s where she was discovered by Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta when she was in eighth grade (yeah, let that sink in).
“I wanted to say a big thank you to the Bluebird Cafe,” Swift said, according to The Tennessean. “I think any songwriter in town would echo my sentiments and say that this is kind of the only place where this exists — this particular place where you get to come and hear the writer's take on the songs they've put out into the world.”
The 28-year-old treated the intimate crowd to a three-song set that included her pop smash “Shake It Off,” her throwback hit “Love Story,” and “Better Man,” the Grammy-winning tune she wrote for Little Big Town. When she wasn’t gushing about Nashville or singing her songs, she was apparently knocking back some whiskey, as Swift and Wiseman reminisced about hanging out in the Fireball Whisky shot room at a CMT after-party a few years back. Wiseman recalled pouring shots for Swift, who admitted that she and Ed Sheeran stole a big inflatable Fireball bottle from the party.
While some Swifties will undoubtedly overanalyze the singer’s Bluebird Cafe drop-in — to debate whether it means Country Taylor will reemerge for album No. 7 — the rest of us will simply savor her return to her roots. After all, the Reputation tour launches in just over a month, and you can bet there won’t be any mid-set shots of Fireball or acoustic renditions of “Love Story” on the stadium trek. It seems that’s only reserved for Nashville.