An upcoming gargantuan fireworks display will keep the sky overlooking the peaceful Ohio River community of Golconda glowing continuously for 30 minutes.
Somewhere in the throng of thousands of spectators expected to witness the dazzling bombardment of the auditory and visual senses, will be a skinny kid with a music career that has exploded louder than any boom, boom, boom heard on this night.
Mason Ramsey is coming home.
The 12-year-old superstar vocalist will be performing a free concert at 6:30 p.m. on July 5 for the City of Golconda’s Second Annual Fireworks Display. A T-shirt promoting the event with a giant picture of Ramsey on the back is flying off local shelves.
“We are expecting a big crowd. As the date gets closer, you hear more and more people talking about it. It’s going to be a great evening of good, clean family fun,” says Golconda City Clerk Jim Suits. “Mason is always excited when he gets back home and sees the people he has known all his life. He has promised to debut a couple new songs for us that will be on an album he is releasing later this year.”
In the blink of an eye, Ramsey in 2018 went from unknown Pope County vocalist that grew up trying to mimic Hank Williams records his grandpa Ernest Ramsey played in his garage to an ultra-popular guest on national television and stages of major music festivals throughout the United States.
Ground zero for this Cinderella story was the Harrisburg Walmart, where where last March Ramsey was videoed on a cell phone singing Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” a cappella.
Ironically, Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of Williams making his legendary debut on the Grand Ole Opry, where he sang “Lovesick Blues” and performed an incredible six encores of the song. It would’ve been more, but Williams refused to continue in give other scheduled performers a chance to play at the sacred Ryman Auditorium, “The Mother Church of Country Music.”
Last year, Ramsey proved there was still a lot of magic left in the tune. The career-launching video received millions of quick YouTube views, which caught the attention of producers of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where Ramsey appeared twice with thunderous crowd support.
His career exploded after Ellen.
He met Justin Bieber, appeared at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Six weeks after the Walmart video, Ramsey signed at major recording contract with Big Loud/Atlantic Records.
Ramsey debut single “Famous” soared to No. 4 on the Billboard charts and he recorded a video in his hometown.
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“It’s very friendly down here,” Mason said on the video, which he performed acoustically. A long interview in iconic music magazine Rolling Stone soon followed.
Golconda plans to roll out the red carpet for its most famous citizen.
“The sheriff is going to pick him up in his squad car and take him all over town with the lights on and sirens blaring,” Suits says. “We are going to escort him right down to the stage to start his concert.”
Sheriff Jerry Suits (Jim’s twin brother) says Ramsey was a curious youngster when he transported the singer last year, when his popularity was getting poker hot.
“He was all over television rubbing elbows with these big stars, but in my car he was a wide-eyed kid asking, ‘How do you turn on the lights and siren?’ At the end of the day, all he wanted to be was a kid,” Jerry Suits said.
Ramsey will perform for approximately one hour, closing with “The Star Spangled Banner” and dismissing the crowd from the performance site to the nearby levee.
Fireworks will start at dusk. There will be several area radio personalities helping to emcee the event, which will include numerous vendors and a lighted boat show on the Ohio River that currently has 65 entrants.
Ramsey's popularity was further boosted by a hilarious skit on the Country Music Association awards show where Brad Paisley jokingly called the high-pitched yodeler the love-child son of his co-host Carrie Underwood.
Soon afterward, Ramsey started headlining his own tour that sold out venues from coast to coast, including shows in New Orleans, Nashville and three in Canada.
“He is doing real good. We are very proud of him,” says grandmother Francis “Skippy” Ramsey.
Grandpa Ernest chimed in: “You can’t keep up with him. It’s unreal. Just to think he went from singing along with albums out in the garage last year to where he is today is hard to believe.”
Ramsey has 2.3 million followers on Instagram and 280,000 on Twitter. He was on the main stages at CMA Fest in Nashville last week and has written new songs for an album to be released later in the year.
Ramsey has survived the initial surge of popularity challenges and remains hotter than a firecracker.