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Video footage provided by Chris West.
Virginia Butler

When 12-year-old Jack West headed to Nashville with his family for a concert last weekend, he never expected to perform onstage with music icon Eddie Vedder.

But that’s just what happened to the Victor boy Sunday night, said Jack’s dad Chris West.

Vedder, Pearl Jam’s frontman, met Jack several hours before his solo set at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival — which closed out the third annual event in Franklin, Tenn.

West said his son met Vedder near their hotel several hours before the show and the two chatted about music for around 10 minutes. During the conversation, Jack asked Vedder if he could sing with him on stage and Vedder agreed.

Once on festival grounds Sunday evening, Jack and Vedder practiced backstage before the concert started. West said the rest of the family watched Jack perform the song “Society” from the side of the stage.

Jack’s vocal performance blew the crowd away.

“He’s just a really cool kid,” Vedder enthused before bringing Jack onstage. He spoke about how he rarely invites fans onstage to perform, but Jack’s personality, name, shirt and talent captured his attention.

Vedder’s solo set included an appearance from Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, who didn’t have a drumkit handy, but joined in for a few vocal harmonies.

He also marveled at his crowd, which didn’t budge through his encore.

“It looks like there’s people all the way out to the highway, and that’s a lot of people to see a guy with a mandolin. (I’m) really grateful.”

West said Jack was repeatedly approached at the airport by fans the following day.

A seventh-grader at The Harley School in Brighton, Jack started playing the guitar four years ago and started singing at local open mike nights several months later, West said.

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Pearl Jam’s opinionated frontman weighed in on President Trump’s tough talk concerning North Korea, and that nation’s nuclear capabilities.

“He’s a very shy kid when you talk to him, but when he’s performing he’s in another place,” West said of his son.

Jack is set to perform at the Bristol Mountain Fall Festival at Bristol Mountain Resort in Ontario County at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 8.

VFREILE@Gannett.com

Includes reporting by Dave Paulson of The Tennessean

 

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