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Taylor Swift Delivers Breathtaking, All-Star Acoustic Version of ‘Red’ at 2013 CMA Awards

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Taylor Swift turned in an all-star, acoustic version of the title track from 2012’s ‘Red’ at the 2013 CMA Awards. She was joined by Alison Krauss and Vince Gill for this customized, slowed down and (likely) one-time-only version of her love-gone-wrong song.

All of the players were seated in a semi-circle on the darkened CMAs stage, and they were backlit. Accompanied by several string players, Swift led the song, strumming her guitar, while Krauss and Gill provided harmonies. Gill also played guitar, so his participation was dual.

It may have started out as a hushed version of ‘Red,’ but it escalated and filled out, thanks to all the extra so-pretty-it-hurts instrumentation. When Swift and Krauss harmonized on the bridge to the song’s coda, it was breathtakingly, achingly beautiful.

Then again, the whole entire performance was just that — breathtaking and beautiful, showcasing Swift’s artistry, which can’t be denied. The fact that her song could be reshaped, resculpted and reimagined in this way is a testament to her incredible strength as a songwriter and her loyalty to country music as a home.

It was a powerful way for Swift to make another statement besides the artistic one. She is still a country star through and through, despite the fact that she has crossed over.

Next: Full List of 2013 CMA Awards Winners

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