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Mason Ramsey proves he is more than a yodeling kid

The young artist charmed the Jefferson Theater with classic country covers and twang-filled original songs at his sold-out concert

Seventeen-year-old country singer Mason Ramsey brought his “Falls Into Place Tour” to the Jefferson Theater on Saturday evening, playing for a sold-out audience. Catapulted to viral fame by a 2018 video that featured him yodeling in a Walmart, Ramsey has evolved beyond his yodeling kid roots to find his voice as an up-and-coming artist. His Saturday set showcased this evolution with a combination of crowd-pleasing covers and originals — and just the right amount of yodeling.

A veteran on the Charlottesville stage, Ramsey first played the Jefferson Theater in 2019, fresh off his childhood internet fame. Reprising his act five years later, Ramsey blended the campy, country fun of his early career with more grounded recent releases that displayed Ramsey’s flair for songwriting.

Country musician Halle Kearns opened the concert with a breezy acoustic set, looking chic and confident in her all-white outfit. A chattering crowd trickled in as Kearns made personable conversation with the front row between songs, giving the 750-seat  theater the ambiance of an intimate coffee shop. Kearns drew in those listening with her sincere smile, smooth vocals and natural rapport with the audience. After a string of originals, two sing-along covers made her set sparkle — “Wide Open Spaces” by the Chicks and “Love Story” by Taylor Swift.

The crowd burst into applause when Ramsey took the stage with all the swagger and stage presence of a seasoned performer. Ramsey’s deeper, more resonant vocals were reminiscent of a classic country crooner, a similarity he reinforced with a cover of “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley. 

His shimmying, hip-swaying choreography occasionally bordered on an Elvis impression, but Ramsey danced with enough heart to make his flashy moves endearing. He played the air guitar and keys, slid onto his knees and ended each song with a dramatic flourish, flipping his bangs out of his eyes like a golden age pop star. Ramsey particularly leaned into this persona with his crowd work, leaning forward to hold hands with screaming audience members.

“What’s your name, sweetheart?” Ramsey asked a fan celebrating a birthday before serenading her with a birthday song.

As a high school-aged artist, Ramsey’s heartthrob act felt a little ironic. However, the musician so clearly loved charming his audience that his sincerity won out. Watching Ramsey soak up the glory felt like watching a young boy’s dreams unfolding in real time — a privilege for anyone to witness.

A few standout original numbers elevated Ramsey’s concert. The single “Blue Over You” alone made a case for regarding Ramsey as a capable artist in his own right. With smooth, honey-sweet vocals and stripped-down instrumental backing, Ramsey sang a song about love lost — or never loved at all.

“And if I could get that close / Oh, heaven only knows / I wouldn’t be blue over you,” Ramsey sang, embellishing the chorus with a vocal flip that sounded suspiciously like a yodel. With nostalgic lyrics and a soulful, sentimental sound, Ramsey brings elements of old-school blues music to the modern country landscape.

Ramsey also brought a more mature sound to songs from his early discography, prefacing “Before I Knew It” — another original that went viral on TikTok in 2019 — with a smiling nod to his viral fame.

“You might recognize this song from TikTok a few years ago,” Ramsey said. “My voice has changed a bit since then.”

No song captured Ramsey’s fairytale stardom better than “On My Way,” which featured lyrics about Ramsey’s dizzying rise into the spotlight.

“I'm on my way / To this dream that I've been chasin',” he sang.

By the latter part of the setlist, Ramsey finally released his yodel and taught the audience how to yodel along. He pointed to different sections of the crowd, raising up his arms to prompt a yodel in waves.

In an encore performance of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” — the same song from the 2018 video — Ramsey paid heartwarming homage to his start in the Walmart aisle. The gesture brought a necessary self-awareness to Ramsey’s setlist. Ramsey understood that his audience wanted to see the yodeling kid and he delivered, swooping through the chorus just as smoothly as he did six years ago.

With a maturing voice and reimagined stage persona, Mason Ramsey has the chops to establish himself as a rising star in the country music scene. “The Falls Into Place” tour marks a transitional stage in his career, and Ramsey beautifully balanced his old and new country style at the Charlottesville concert. Audiences can appreciate Mason Ramsey’s artistic evolution just like they loved the yodeling kid for his twang.

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