Little Boy Sings John Denver Classic Stealing Audience's Heart With The First Note
Apr 02, 2021 by apost team
Some things in life are almost too cute for words, and singing 7-year-old Shaney-Lee Pool is undoubtedly one of them. This heartwarming country singer backs up his humble roots with adorable charm and serious talent.
As his enthusiastic performance of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” demonstrates, this wunderkind possesses some impressive vocal power and a winning smile. Based on this live recording of the John Denver masterpiece, the winsome little tyke evidently has a bright future in show business. In fact, the pint-sized singer can already boast that he’s earned his keep as a professional showman.
This lighthearted spectacle has been graciously brought to us by the 2018 season of the British version of “The Voice Kids." Shaney-Lee’s memorable appearance has already outlasted most of the competition, though he was eventually eliminated. His delightfully upbeat rendition of the old-school tune clearly wooed the reality show’s celebrity panel.
In addition to visibly impressing Pixie Lott of "Strictly Come Dancing" fame, the boy wonder earned praise from both The Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am and McFly’s Danny Jones. In essence, the British entertainment empire may have crowned a new mini king with this stunning performance.
If you were to just hear the music without watching this video, you might think that Shaney-Lee was quite a few years older than his birth certificate shows. It definitely sounds like the words are being delivered by a much more mature individual. Amazingly, the child’s mother isn’t surprised or fazed by her son’s sophistication; instead, she has merely grown accustomed to it.
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-)
Here’s how she explains her kid’s uncanny disposition: He’s "definitely an older person in a little man's body."
The merit of childhood artistry is always worth celebrating, but this down-to-earth chap takes his preeminent stage presence up a notch or two. In the end, everyone in attendance seemed enamored with Shaney-Lee’s uplifting attitude and rural character. Because of his bold reinvention of a distinguished classic, this tiny champ landed a spot in the final round. Regardless of what follows this moment, he is on track to become a certified superstar down the line.
Astonishingly, Shaney-Lee’s time on earth didn’t even get to overlap with the legend that helped launch him to viral recognition. In 1997, singer John Denver passed away tragically in an aviation accident; meanwhile, this new kid on the block wasn’t even born until 2001. Without irony, he serenades crowds by melodically singing, “Life is old there, older than the trees,” which is quickly followed by the expression, “Younger than the mountains growing like a breeze.”
It’s bewildering how fast time seems to fly when you consider that this iconic composition first reached audiences on April 12, 1971. For nearly 47 years, no one had managed to supersede the brilliance of Denver’s original release. Can you believe it took a precious child prodigy to help the world rediscover an infamous piece of country music lore? Consequently, there are now millions of sales around the planet for digital copies of this single. The folksy resurgence is officially in motion, and you're about to see why.
But no matter how many times the song is reinvented, Denver’s classic will continue to have a storied history that young singers like Shaney-Lee ought to know about. We can trace the song’s beginnings back to 1970 and the winding roads in western Maryland, as Kristina Gaddy of the Culture Trip reports in a story from March 2018.
During the 1970s, two songwriters — Taffy Nivert and her husband Billy Danoff — were cooking up a ballad based on the twists and turns of those Maryland roads after having gone on a trip through the area. The only problem? Maryland, a three-syllable mouthful of a word, didn’t really fit in with the rest of the ballad and its meter. Luckily, the U.S. has its fair share of states to choose from, so Danoff went down the list and settled on West Virginia despite having never been there.
It wasn’t until later in the winter of 1970 that Denver got his hands on the track.
As NPR reports, Nivert asked her husband to play the track for Denver after the country musician had asked what the duo had been working on.
"I said, 'He won't like that. It's not his thing, you know, because it's for Johnny Cash,' " Danoff said in an interview.
But Danoff eventually relented and played the track for Denver.
"So I played him what I had of 'Country Roads,' and (Denver) said, 'Wow! That's great, that's a hit song! Did you record it?' I said, 'No, we don't have a record deal,'" Danoff explained.
The track would eventually make its way onto the A-side of one of Denver’s 1971 single releases, quickly growing in popularity, reaching the number two spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles in Aug.1971 and remaining on the charts for 23 weeks. The ballad was such a success that it went Gold in 1971 and Platinum in 2017, with millions of digital downloads as well.
Although Danoff handed over one of the most successful country songs of all time, he says he doesn’t regret the decision.
"Left to our own devices," Danoff said, "Taffy and I may have never gotten that record cut. It wasn't a country record. We could've beat up Nashville and nobody would've recorded it. One thing I learned in this business is that things turn out other than you planned them to, no matter what it is. And you can't predict what's going to happen."
Beyond its commercial success, the song also went on to be one of West Virginia’s most beloved, becoming one of the state’s official songs — a bit funny, considering the song’s origins.
In fact, the country ballad has become one of the Mountain State’s proud symbols. Not only is it an official state song, but West Virginia University has also played it at every home football game since 1972, shortly after the song came out.
And now, nearly half a century and on a different continent, a young British boy is making his mark by giving his own rendition of the classic song, which you can watch below.
Thanks to one youthfully exuberant talent, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is witnessing a full-scale revival. Now is the perfect moment to get your friends and family members in on the endearing rendition of this classic. And don't forget to let us know what you think of Shaney-Lee's cover.