Over the last few years, country music has certainly expanded beyond the old stereotype of boots, big hair and ten-gallon hats. Artists like Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum have huge pop hits, the Zac Brown Band & Jason Aldean sell out Madison Square Garden and the Scotty McCreerys and Tate Stevens of the world rise to fame via televised talent shows. On the flip side, Mumford & Sons get played on country radio, UK-lite-rocker Ed Sheeran tours with Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson performs on the CMA’s. Over the last few years, it has become commonplace for country musicians to dabble outside of their genre, and if January of 2013 is any indication, this trend is only going to continue into 2013.
Interestingly enough, I grew up claiming that I loved all music “except country.” (Seriously – I think I wrote that on my Myspace…don’t judge me, I’m from NY.) However, after being taken to see Rascal Flatts at Madison Square Garden, my perspective on the genre completely changed and I was hooked. Now I’ll listen to anything from Garth to Reba to Taylor to Jason. However, if you were to ask a purist of country music, they’d probably argue that Rascal Flatts is just a boy (err, man) band in cowboy boots, Taylor is a dubstep-loving pop act and Jason’s renegade hick-hop style bastardizes country music. Yet, on the heels of Aldean selling out a show at New York’s Madison Square Garden in mere minutes, I’d argue that the biggest development of country music in 2013 will be the pure magnitude of its reach and ability to cross over, while also openly welcoming those who dabble and stretch the ideas of what typical “country” is.
On Sunday Night, country sweetheart, Taylor Swift, was crowned Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards.
On Monday and Tuesday night, she played the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, to sold-out crowds in New York City.
These two shows at MSG marked the end of the North American leg of her extremely successful Speak Now Tour. Swift has been bringing out special guests to perform with her throughout the tour run, and these past two nights were no exception.
On Monday night, John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls joined Swift on stage to perform the band’s mega-hit, “Iris.” The country superstar dubbed “Iris” as one of the greatest songs ever written. I definitely agree with her.
Last night, Swift continued with the special guests. First, she brought her good friend, Selena Gomez, to the stage. The best friends sang a duet of Gomez’s song, “Who Says.”
Later in the night, Swift performed with music legend, James Taylor. He also happens to be her namesake. Swift shared with the crowd that she was named after the superstar singer-songwriter. He joined Swift for a performance of his timeless hit, “Fire and Rain,” as well as played guitar during Swift’s “Fifteen.”
With this leg of the tour wrapped, Swift will enjoy some down time before taking her tour world-wide starting in March 2012.
Check out the videos from MSG! Thanks to Taylor’s fans!
Taylor Swift and Johnny Rzeznik (Courtesy of Youtube user, rxgrl50):
Swift and Selena Gomez (Courtesy of Youtube user, steveditch13):
Swift and James Taylor (Courtesy of Youtube user, Phatheadmycountry961):