Ben Harper & A "Young" Fan Play Tribute to Neil Young
Well, with yesterday's announcement of 2014 Bridge School Benefit Concert Dates , this little video seems quite appropriate.
While as corny as this might seem, stick with us here for a very heart warming story.
From TW reader Bryan:
Dear Thrasher's Wheat,Thanks Bryan! Wonderful. Really touching.
This is a neat story that Neil Young fans might enjoy. I was able to find this video of the event on youtube after the fact, but the video does not belong to me.
The brief background info:
At the 31st Claremont Folk Festival in Claremont, California last Saturday an audience gathered to hear Ben Harper and his mother Ellen perform. Ben walked out onto stage with a Neil Young hoodie and in between songs proclaimed his love for Neil Young music. This resulted in a young boy getting a very special opportunity to sing some Neil Young with Ben Harper (to the surprise of both Ben Harper and the audience). This is how it happened.
A few songs after the Neil Young conversation, a young boy named Joseph walked up to the stage and caught Ben's attention. Joseph asked Ben if he could play Heart of Gold for him because that was his favorite song. Ben proceeded to call the kid up on stage, gave him his own chair, and they both gave Claremont California a version of Heart of Gold they will never forget. After the song Ben asked Joseph if in 20 years he would please request him to be an opening act for a show.
Three generations of Neil Young influence was seen on stage that night. I just thought I would pass this along for other Neil fans to see. Thanks for all the work you do Thrasher's Wheat.
The whole scene says a lot about what it's really all about. This is for folks who "get Neil".
More on the musical relationship of Ben Harper and Neil Young.
From Young Ben Harper fan makes great first impression | claremont-courier.com by Angela Bailey:
What they didn’t anticipate, however, was Mr. Harper’s darling duet with another Claremont native, 4-year-old Josef Luevano who ended up stealing the show.
Claremont resident Karla Ramos, who was attending the festival with her husband and two sons, had been enjoying the Harpers’ performance from the back row of the audience when Josef turned to her and said, “Mom, he’s talking about Neil Young!”
Knowing her son’s love for the singer, Ms. Ramos took Josef by the hand and led him to the front of the crowd so he could get a VIP experience. That’s when the pint-sized performer made up his mind about what to do next, telling his mom, “He likes Neil Young. I want to tell him I like Neil Young too!”
Both Josef and his 2-year-old brother Atticus have been listening to the soft rocker’s music since they were infants, so it was no surprise that he would want to share his favorite song with another Neil Young fan.
When the Harpers’ finished their performance, Josef marched right up to the front of the stage and after a brief exchange between the two, Mr. Harper lifted the boy onstage and the duo broke into their rendition of “Heart of Gold.”
To the delight of the crowd, the Claremont United Methodist Nursery School student held his own next to Mr. Harper, giving a “thumbs up” mid-song and garnering applause from the audience when he nailed the lyrics to the Young classic.
“My favorite part was singing and smiling. I felt the music in my heart,” Josef told the COURIER. “It was like being on a ride.”
The performance ended with a standing ovation from the audience and Mr. Harper giving Josef a guitar slide, telling the tot, “Josef, in like 20 years, just give me the opening gig, would ya? They’re hard to come by!”
Mr. Harper’s mom followed that comment up with her own suggestion. “Yeah, Josef get your mom up there with you in 20 years!”
With the audience still laughing, the youngster left the stage, “high-fiving” fans as he made his way back to his family.
For Josef’s mom, the kindness shown by Mr. Harper and the joy he brought to her son in that moment is something she’ll forever cherish.
“Thank you for making him happy, Ben” says Ms. Ramos. “He was so excited, it made my heart explode.”
Joseph intends on thanking the singer himself by sending him an autographed photo of the two of them singing onstage. He hopes Mr. Harper will reciprocate the gesture with a signature of his own.