Taylor Swift Replaced by Brad Paisley on All-Star Nashville Mural
A beloved downtown Nashville mural tributing famous faces of country music is getting an update, and in the process, one of the artists it previously honored has been nixed. Taylor Swift — who was formerly depicted sitting perched on a barstool between Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash — has been painted out of the picture, literally.
In her stead is Brad Paisley, wearing a blue shirt and his trademark cowboy hat, sitting on the stool where Swift used to be.
The country ingenue-turned-pop-superstar may not have spent the bulk of her time in the genre in recent years, but she broke down barriers, set records and cleared major milestones during her time as a country artist. She even won the Country Music Association's coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy twice (in 2009 and 2011) and became the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award at the 2013 CMA Awards.
Plus, Swift is one of only a small handful of the genre's women who earned a spot on the mural to begin with. Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton are the only other female artists to appear in the mural, with women making up four (and now three) out of the 14 iconic characters represented.
But with Swift making the transition from country to pop music, it's debatable whether she still belongs in a tribute celebrating country music's legacy. After all, the mural is located in Music City's honky-tonk-entrenched Lower Broadway strip, along the side of Legend's Corner, a famous bar next to the even more famous Ryman Auditorium. Per USA Today, the decision to replace Swift came about at least in part because of the disapproval of the country fans who hang out in downtown Nashville.
"I have heard many complaints here in Nashville about Taylor being on the wall with country legends since she is currently focused mainly on pop," says artist Tim Davis, who is carrying out the mural's overhaul, including painting over Swift's image. "Some inebriated bar hoppers have spit on her image specifically, feeling betrayed by her venture from country. I guess this is to be expected, but by [and] large, the people of Nashville love her, as do I."
Davis adds that it was the bar owners' decision, not his, to remove Swift from the mural. Also, he's currently raising money via a GoFundMe page to paint a mural in Nashville dedicated exclusively to Swift's storied career.
Moreover, in addition to swapping out Swift for Paisley, Davis hints that the Legends mural will soon feature three additional country stars, including an as-yet-unnamed female artist already sketched out to the far right of the mural, between Parton and Garth Brooks.
As for Swift, it's unlikely that her relationship with country music is behind her for good. The singer's recently-released "No Body, No Crime" tributes the Chicks' enduring, high-energy murder ballad "Goodbye Earl" — and the legendary trio even gave Swift's song their seal of approval after hearing it. The pop superstar was also a presenter at the 2020 CMT Music Awards, and in July, she sent a new single, "Betty," to country radio — her first since 2013.
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