A Monroe County 13 year old wowed country star Luke Bryan and 50,000 fans on Saturday night with an impromptu performance in Dallas.
Ethan Payne, an eighth grader at Banks Stephens Middle School, was given the chance to meet Bryan before his concert at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Saturday night as part of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Payne’s mother Lisa Payne said Ethan and his 19-year-old brother both have cystic fibrosis.
While they met in the dressing room, Ethan played his guitar and sang Bryan’s hit “Dirt Road Dairy” for the star. The Leesburg, Ga. native must’ve been impressed — he invited Ethan to come on stage during the concert. Ethan played guitar and sang Bryan’s hit “Do I” as the star joined in with a duet. Bryan seemed impressed.
“He’s not even nervous!” Bryan told the crowd. “How are you not nervous?” he asked. “I’m nervous.”
Bryan asked him what he wanted to play next and Ethan responded, “Here’s to the Farmer”. So they played that as well to thunderous applause.
They finished their two duets in about seven minutes, and then Bryan looked over at Payne and said: “See that guitar? You just take it on back to Georgia with you!” to another big ovation.
Lisa Payne said the guitar’s worth more than $2,000, but said it’s now priceless to her son.
Not only were Bryan and his 50,000 screaming fans impressed, so was the website Rare Country magazine, which wrote: “This wasn’t a gratuitous gesture for Luke. He didn’t invite Ethan to perform just out of the kindness of his heart even. It turns out, Ethan can sing, y’all!”
Indeed, Ethan’s mother Lisa Payne said her son plays at Twangs in Macon and Mellow Mushroom in Warner Robins every so often. She said he’s been playing since he was 8 years old. She said he admitted to being a little nervous before playing on stage but added that it’s not hard to get Ethan to play in front of a crowd.
Payne said the meeting made her an even bigger Luke Bryan fan.
“He’s such a good person,” said Payne. “I never had my doubts but you never know how people are until you meet them, and he’s a really good person.”
Payne said Ethan takes voice lessons each week and he dreams of being a country music star. If that happens, he can point to Saturday night as a starting point.