Wal-Mart Yodeler Makes a Stop in Birmingham
By MICHAEL J. BROOKS
Special to the Reporter
BIRMINGHAM – Mason Ramsey, “the Wal-Mart yodeling kid,” made an appearance in Birmingham on Thursday at the Wal-Mart on U.S. 280. The store partnered with radio station WDXB, also known as 102.5, “The Bull,” for this event.
Ramsey,11, is a YouTube sensation whose videos have been viewed more than 60 million times. He appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in April and DeGeneres helped get him a spot on “The Grand Ol’ Opry”—his dream. Ramsay signed with Atlantic Records, releasing a single on April 27, and according to Billboard, the song, “Famous,” debuted at no. #4.
WZZK evening host, Davey Allen, said the station interviewed Ramsey earlier in the day in studio, and was happy to co-host the mini-concert.
“He’s a new artist with a cool fan base!” Allen said. “His Internet videos made him a break-out sensation. Look at this crowd today. We probably have 2000 people who braved the most congested highway in Alabama with only a day-and-a half’s notice!”
A Wal-Mart employee said Ramsey had performed in Knoxville and Chattanooga earlier, and the Birmingham store was happy to help with the concert.
“He’ll sing three or four songs, so it will be brief,” the spokesman said. “Wal-Mart gave Mason a college scholarship in gratitude for the publicity he’s given the store.”
Ramsey’s cousin, Daysha Broadway, accompanied him on the tour, and said she was his manager early on.
“Things have gotten so big we had to hire a real manager,” she said with a laugh.
Broadway said Ramsey is completing 5th grade and has been singing for several years.
“He started singing at age 3, and began to play guitar at 6,” she said.
Broadway said the current Internet postings began when Ramsey sang for a local nursing home in his hometown of Golconda, Illinois.
“Our town has 700 people, so everybody knows one another,” she said. “When Mason gets in a singing mood, he keeps on singing! After we left the nursing home we went to a KFC and he sang a song for the customers, then we went to Wal-Mart and he kept singing. A lady asked if she could video a song. We agreed, and she put it on Facebook. And as they say, the rest is history.”
Ramsey sang three songs for the crowd in Birmingham, and attendees responded with applause and sang along on familiar verses.
Connie Smith of Calera said she’d never heard of Ramsey until the morning of the concert when her grandsons, Jackson and Cameron Rutherford, asked her to take them.
“Of course, we’ll do anything for our grandchildren!” she said. “We got here at 4 p.m. and found a large crowd already.”
The concert began at 5:30 p.m.
Jackson Rutherford, 10, said he found Ramsey on YouTube and likes a lot of different kinds of music, including country.
Attendees who couldn’t stand in front of the stage had some difficulty seeing Ramsey perform. According to the Facts Five website, he’s four feet nine inches tall. Some attendees in the wings had difficulty hearing. But Jackson Rutherford had the right idea. He tuned in to the simulcast on WZZK and heard every note with his earbuds.