Taylor Swift’s Country Collaborations Prove She’ll Never Forget Her Roots
Even though Taylor Swift is a massive pop star these days, country music is the genre that raised her. Throughout the years — even following her switch to pop music — she has collaborated with the best of the best from within the country scene. She continues to push the boundaries with her music and her collaborations, and has performed with a number of country greats, as well as the next generation of stars.
Swift's first surprise guests at her concerts appeared during her Fearless Tour in 2009-2010, including Faith Hill herself surprising the crowd in Nashville. During her Speak Now Tour, Swift brought out a handful of special guests at stops in major cities (fans will recall that even Ellen DeGeneres was a guest at one stop, performing "Mean" on a washboard), and then, on the Red Tour, the tradition really began to pick up.
Swift solidified her special guest ritual during her 1989 World Tour, bringing a special guest to almost every city, and sometimes even multiple guests at one stop. Actors, comedians, models, professional athletes and more were on the list in addition to musicians from multiple genres. Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour featured fewer special guests, but country artists including Sugarland, Tim McGraw, Hill and Maren Morris still got the call to show up. Here's a look back at all of Swift's country collaborations over the years.
Faith Hill"The Way You Love Me"
On Sept. 12, 2009, Swift got one of her idols, Hill, to perform one of her classic songs, "The Way You Love Me," with her. Swift wasn't quite a household name just yet when the two teamed up at Swift's Fearless Tour stop in Nashville.
Kellie Pickler"Put Your Records On"
Swift and Pickler were tourmates on Swift's Fearless Tour and, before that, a trek with Brad Paisley. The pair performed a cover of this Corinne Bailey Rae hit on May 24, 2008, in Huntsville, Ala. In the studio, meanwhile, the two collaborated on Pickler's song "Best Days of Your Life."
Little Big Town"Pontoon"
Swift wrote Little Big Town's smash hit "Better Man," but a few years prior, the two acts teamed up during her 1989 World Tour stop in Pittsburgh. That's where Swift and LBT surprised the crowd with a performance of the country quartet's "Pontoon."
Dierks Bentley"Every Mile a Memory"
Swift had country star Bentley surprise the crowd at her Kansas City, Mo., stop on Sept. 21, 2005.
Kelsea Ballerini"Love Me Like You Mean It"
It's no secret that Ballerini is a massive Swiftie — she's even admitted that, before she started her own music career, she waiting in line to meet Swift during CMA Fest. At Swift's Nashville 1989 World Tour show, Ballerini was all smiles performing her first No. 1 single with her idol.
Hunter Hayes"I Want Crazy"
The crowd went crazy when Swift brought out Hayes on Sept. 21, 2013. Taylor closed out her Red Tour with a surprise duet on Hayes' hit song "I Want Crazy."
Ronnie Dunn"Bleed Red"
Swift's Nashville tour stop in support of her Speak Now album was filled with surprises, including an appearance by Dunn. The pair performed "Bleed Red" at the Sept. 16, 2011, concert to a cheering audience.
Rucker performed at Swift's Speak Now Tour stop in Columbia, S.C., on Nov. 18, 2011. That was near the beginning of Swift's longtime special guest routine!
Miranda Lambert"Little Wed Ragon"
Swift introduced Lambert as one of her favorite artists on Oct. 21, 2015, in Greensboro, N.C. Her 1989 World Tour featured light-up bracelets that, fittingly, turned the entire crowd red for the song.
Kenny Chesney"Big Star"
Swift always pulls out all of the stops in her hometown of Nashville. During the Speak Now Tour, she performed "Big Star" with Chesney on Sept. 17, 2011. Chesney originally met Swift when she was a fan at an airport — then, she opened shows for him after she signed her first record deal.
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks"Goodbye Earl"
Growing up, Swift was a huge fan of the Dixie Chicks, so it's fitting that one 1989 World Tour stop featured Maines as Swift's special guest. The duo performed "Goodbye Earl" at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Aug. 24, 2015.
Tim McGraw"Just to See You Smile"
Swift brought out her McGraw during her Speak Now Tour stop in Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 17, 2011. The pair performed "Just to See You Smile" — and arrived onstage on a couch!
Tim McGraw and Keith Urban"Highway Don't Care"
Swift, McGraw and Urban teamed up for the collaborative single "Highway Don't Care," so it was only a matter of time before the trio performed the song together onstage. They did just that at McGraw's 2013 Super Star Summer Night event.
Fun fact: Swift was an opening act for both Urban and McGraw!
Maren Morris"The Middle"
Country's genre-defying powerhouse Morris performed at Swift's last U.S. Reputation Stadium Tour date in her home state of Texas. Swift and Morris sang Morris' smash No. 1 hit "The Middle" on Oct. 5, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.
Keith Urban"John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16"
Swift's international crowds get to see surprise guests, too! Toronto fans were thrilled to have Urban perform his hit "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" with Swift on Oct. 2, 2015.
The Band Perry"If I Die Young"
The Band Perry shocked Swift's Indianapolis, Ind., audience in September of 2015. Swift seemed like the fourth Perry sibling, blending in seamlessly with their harmonies.
On Oct. 6, 2018, Swift surprised the Arlington, Texas, crowd at her Reputation Stadium Tour stop with a guest appearance from country duo Sugarland. They performed their collaboration "Babe" — a song that Swift co-wrote with Train's Pat Monahan — live for the first time ever, complete with dance moves!
Luke Bryan"I Don't Want This Night to End"
Donning her own Grand Ole Opry shirt, Swift surprised a Nashville crowd during her 2013 Red Tour with an appearance from Bryan. The pair performed "I Don't Want This Night to End."
Rascal Flatts"What Hurts the Most"
Swift invited fan-favorite country trio Rascal Flatts to perform their earth-shattering hit "What Hurts the Most" at her Nashville show on her 2013 Red Tour. Swift opened up for the Flatts on one of her first tours ever, famously securing the opening slot after Eric Church got kicked off the trek.
Florida Georgia Line"Cruise"
Swift and Florida Georgia Line teamed up during the 2013 Country Radio Seminar, performing their debut single and breakout hit "Cruise."
Sam Hunt"Take Your Time"
Swift's Chicago crowd on her 1989 World Tour got a special guest appearance from Hunt. The two stars sat on a bench to perform his hit "Take Your Time."