Tim McGraw and Keith Urban were two of the surprise guests Thursday night at the CMA Music Fest in Nashville. Tim and Keith joined Taylor Swift to perform their #1 hit “Highway Don’t Care.” Before the show, Taylor told us backstage, “To get the phone call from Tim saying ‘Hey do you want to work on something together,’ and then fast forward and it’s the #1 song, it’s just been a beautiful, magical process. Standing on a stage with those two, it’s just an unbelievable, very hard to explain the level of excitement that I feel when I get to collaborate with people admire so much.” No question that it will become a highlight when the CMA Music Fest TV special airs on August 12th.
Taylor is currently touring the US with her Red Tour. But she said she was happy to take a break from her formal tour to perform for her fans at CMA Fest. “It’s really exciting to be back at the Festival this year. It’s always an opportunity to do something unique for your fans and come up with something exciting for your fans. You want to make sure everything you do for CMA Fest is catered especially for the fans, so hopefully they like it!” Taylor was asked if she’s begun writing her next album: “Yeah, it’s starting, all the anxiety is starting, and when the anxiety starts then the writing happens right afterwards. So I like to write for two years before I finish an album, because I know that whatever I write in the first year is going to get thrown away, because I like it but it sounds like the last project. Then the second year ends up sounding like the next project. Staying the same is the easy way to go, but it’s not the way I want to go. Creatively, you need to challenge yourself, you need to change up your influences, I think you need to be inspired by different things than you were inspired by before. It’s harder to call up people you don’t know, or think of topics you haven’t covered before, and think of new ways to say old emotions, but that’s the goal at this point, and one of the things I’m happiest with is the acceptance level in country music for me experimenting and for me trying to evolve and challenge myself, and it’s never felt better to be on that stadium stage knowing everyone has been so welcoming of change.”
It was an incredible kickoff to the four day Festival. Other performers Thursday night were Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Tracy Lawrence, and The Zac Brown Band. The CMA Music Festival continues through Sunday night.