Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars debut their 'Hunger Games' song live at the Ryman -- VIDEO

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Last night country-folk duo (and 2011 EW breakouts) the Civil Wars made their Ryman Auditorium debut to a sold-out crowd in Nashville.

The twosome were clearly well-received — at one point garnering a standing ovation, after a performance of “Barton Hollow” — but that affectionate outburst wasn’t the only surprise last night.

Between tunes, Joy Williams jokingly introduced a guest performer who “hasn’t had much time on stage” and “is really new at writing songs,” and into the spotlight stepped a faux-shy Taylor Swift, with whom the Civil Wars recently collaborated on “Safe and Sound,” the haunting ballad from the upcoming Hunger Games movie.

Upon taking the stage, Swift, in very T-Swifty fashion, remarked, “Man, this is so sold out right now — do you know that?”

For the first time ever, the three singers performed “Safe and Sound,” and except for one slightly flat high note (via Swift, whose lilt was otherwise lovely and very much in tune) in the first chorus, they sounded terrific.

Swift, an expert at channeling the feeling of a song, stood solemnly with hands clasped and head low, while Williams and John Paul White brushed their crescendoing harmonic flourishes throughout. Watch the collaboration below:

What do you think, readers? Did you enjoy hearing the live version of the song? Does it get you even more excited for The Hunger Games?

Read more:
Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters join Grammy performance slate
Taylor Swift’s ‘Hunger Games’ song: What do you think?
Taylor Swift joins ‘Les Miserables’: Will her star power motivate you to go to the movies?

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