Country stars Luke Bryan and Kelsea Ballerini talk about the COVID safety precautions in place at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as the return of Taylor Swift to the show. (Sept. 15)
Taylor Swift made a high-profile return to the Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday night during the Academy of Country Music Awards and gave her first country awards show performance in seven years.
The Nashville-bred superstar sang “Betty,” a highlight from her latest album, “Folklore.” The surprise album made Swift the first artist in history to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s album and songs charts.
The song’s sound harks back to the confessional country-pop of Swift’s earliest albums, and thus was the first single of hers to crack the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart since “Red” in 2013.
2013 was also the last year Swift performed at the ACMs — or any country awards show. That year she joined Tim McGraw and Keith Urban to sing “Highway Don’t Care” at the ACMs, and enlisted Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and others to perform “Red” at the CMA Awards.
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Swift’s sound made a full swerve into pop (and away from Music Row) with 2014’s “1989” album. But she hasn’t been completely absent from the country landscape. In 2016, she penned Little Big Town’s chart-topping song “Better Man” and appeared on Sugarland’s 2018 single “Babe.”
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