Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe on Saturday night, sitting in with singer-songwriter Craig Wiseman, an old friend whom met Swift at a charity show when she was a teenager. Swift received a standing ovation.
“I wanted to say a big thank you to the Bluebird Cafe,” Swift said, seated beside Wiseman, according to a report in the Tennesean. “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.”
She said one of her earliest lessons was that all a song needed was three chords and simplicity.
“If there’s truth in it, don’t overthink it,” she said. “It can be the same three chords over and over again.” To illustrate her point, she then performed “Shake It Off.”
A comical exchange about shots of Fireball whiskey at a CMA afterparty ensued, then Swift talked about her Grammy-winning composition for Little Big Town, “Better Man.”
“When I would play writers nights … I didn’t have the experience of a writer writing something and then it going out into the world and you earing it from someone else’s perspective until recently,” Swift said, referring to the song “Little Big Town gave me the opportunity to feel that way … to be at the Bluebird and play a song you’ve maybe heard on the radio. I will always be forever grateful to them for that.”
After the song, she and Wiseman did shots of Fireball. Swift recalled inviting Wiseman to cowrite a song when she was 17, which he declined. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea,” Swift said. “I thought there was something to it. I really liked it.This is the song I almost wrote with Craig Wiseman,” she said. “It’s called ‘Love Story.'”
Swift’s performance was filmed for a documentary in honor of Bluebird Cafe’s 35th anniversary. The cafe, featured in the television series “Nashville,” occupies a hallowed place in country-music history, and not only because Big Machine label chief first heard Swift there.
Swift’s tour in support of her latest album, “Reputation,” launches in May.