It takes guts to perform on stage. Even adults get the jitters when asked to entertain an audience. Even mainstream artists and bands get stage fright so imagine performing solo with all the lights and all those eyes on you. But like the saying goes, the show must go on.
This is five year old Wesley performing “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. This kid is so rock-n-roll. He takes the stage alone, sits with his guitar, and with his lovely red hair starts playing without an ounce of nervousness.
Whether or not this little boy knew the meaning behind the song he was singing is up for debate but you can’t deny this kid has taste.
He pronounces some words like every kid out there, like his “train” sounding like “twain”, and well, you get the idea. Wesley prefers to strum the bass string which might be what he’s going for just to add some character to the classic country song. The young man starts singing,
“I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since, I don’t know when”
The song is very much Johnny Cash.
Redemption, moral tribulation and sorrow are common themes for “The man in black”. Yes, Cash preferred to dress in black, and with his deep voice, calm and somber demeanor, the man became an “outlaw” with his style.
Look at how young Wesley stares at the audience with those dark eyes, his eyebrows crossed as he strums the signature chug-chug style of Johnny Cash.
The song was written in then West Germany back in the early 1950s when Cash served in the US Air Force. What’s even cooler was that he wrote it in Landsberg, Bavaria which itself was a famous prison. How Johnny Cash is that?
He wrote it when he saw the film Inside the walls of Folsom Prison (1951).
That explains the lyrics. Basically a man spending the remainder of his days inside the prison because he “shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”. He knows people out there are enjoying their freedom while he gave up his for the crime he committed. Dark stuff.
Young Wesley has earned over 4.8 million views for his performance.
He puts some emotion in his playing too.
He swings his head from side to side, his red hair bobbing to the deep melody of his guitar while he moves his leg to the timing of his strumming. Wesley cannot be distracted. He sings his little heart out, making Cash proud.
“But I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me”
Would have been great if he said, “Hello, I’m Wesley” before he started playing as an ode to Johnny, but hey, this kid’s got the attitude so that works fine. Plus it’s awesome to see a kid singing a classic country hit from the fifties.
Johnny’s spirit lives on with Wesley’s performance in the video below.
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