I first heard, and heard of, Taylor Swift when I was staying with T in New York and we watched SNL. She was the musical guest. I was mesmerized. I had no idea until days later when I looked for her on iTunes that she was a country artist. It sounded like pure pop to me. Really good pure pop.
I don't like the CD versions of the songs -- she's much better live -- so I didn't download anything. The clip below is a bizarre production number from the CMA Awards. Here's one that's a little more stripped down. I searched for the SNL clip, but the NBC goons have already made sure nobody gets to see their "property." (How does alienating your audience make good business sense?) The SNL performance is better than either of these versions. I don't know that I can really explain yet why, but Taylor Swift makes me feel good about the future of country music.