(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Ukuleles always sound happy. That's Taylor Swift's theory on them, anyway. And it would be hard to argue with that after she played one at her show in Chicago on Tuesday (Aug. 9). "I bought this ukulele in Hawaii a couple years ago," she said. "I always wanted to play it in concert for you guys, but I knew that if I learned to played it for you in concert, it would have to be on a very happy song. It would have to be a song about falling in love, or having a best first date, and being, just, fearless." Then she went into a ukulele-only take on her big hit "Fearless." All the while wearing singer-songwriter Patty Griffin's "Christina" lyrics on her arm: "And up in the air they would write your name there, but love would fall to pieces in the rain." So even though Swift has all kinds of pop crossover appeal, as long as she has folk-country music heroines and a ukulele, she is country enough for me.