It’s been a little while since we’ve had a reason to report on Mason Ramsey, the boot-tappin,’ warblin’ wunderkind better known as Yodelin’ Walmart Boy. Since he first rocketed to mega-stardom by conquering the aisles of America’s favorite discount superstore—the first box to check on any up-and-comers’ career checklist—the baby cowboy has kept busy by releasing a hit single and appearing at last year’s Coachella.
A new video shows that this grind may have started to take a toll on Ramsey, the combination of so much hard work and the temptations of the road leading him down the first steps of a path that’s swallowed so many stars before him: the hedonistic abandon of crowd-surfing.
Musician and reporter Dave Paulson shared the disconcerting clip on Twitter last night. In it, we see Ramsey, up way past his bedtime, seek comfort in the adulation of the crowd gathered to see him by climbing onto an inflatable horse that’s then sent out over the outstretched hands of concertgoers.
The wild scene begins with Ramsey shouting something inaudible and pointing his finger downward like a furious god-king. Soon, roadies having prepared what looks like a horse-shaped pool toy for him, Ramsey is kneeling in this glorious chariot and singing a song above the everyday people he’s long since transcended.
“Are you kidding me!?” someone shouts in disbelief at what he’s witnessing. “What!?”
This person is obviously seeing just how easily Ramsey’s crowd surfing could be the slippery slope down which the boy may fall into complete rock star abandon. Years from now, tasseled white shirt stained with whiskey vomit and blood spatters, the moment he rode that inflatable horse may linger in his memory as the beginning of the end. The man yells because he sees this and is afraid.
As Paulson reports in a Tennessean article on the concert, others were not so considerate. The crowd apparently began chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug” when the yodeler stopped to drink some water, encouraging him on the road to ruin. Thankfully, Paulson says “Ramsey shook his head” and told the audience, “You guys are looking at the wrong person to do that.”
We can only hope he hangs onto this outlook as show business continues to demand so much. Everything starts from small moments like these: chugging water to satisfy a chanting crowd; crowd surfing on an inflatable horse. Let us commit to protecting Ramsey from a world that chews through its celebrities like the adult tobacco pouches we pray he never discovers.
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