Members of Old Dominion making name for themselves beyond songwriting for others
Old Dominion may not be well-known to many outside of the Nashville music industry, but the four Virginians and Michigan yankee who came together in Music City are behind many of the songs regularly heard on country music radio stations. While spending the last 10 years writing and honing their own sound, the band members were also penning hit tunes recorded and released by an impressive list of country music stars including Keith Urban, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, and Craig Morgan. Old Dominion is now on pace to bring its own style of songs and music to country fans with a self-titled debut EP via the Nashville-based Thirty Tigers entertainment company.
The five-man band of Matt Ramsey (vocals, guitar), Brad Tursi (guitar), Trevor Rosen (guitar, vocals), Geoff Sprung (bass), and Whit Sellers (drums) is guided in the studio by award-winning producer Shane McAnally (Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves). “I had been doing my own thing musically for a while, but I knew Geoff and Whit and I was always a big fan of their band,” recalls Ramsey in a band profile posted on OldDominionBand.com. “A few years after I moved to Nashville, they ended up moving here too, so of course it was a natural fit to play together.”
Old Dominion has opened for Trace Adkins, Brett Eldridge, and Jake Owen, creating a tight, crowd-pleasing sound that is a “cohesive blend of country lyric and rock instrumentation, fused with pop and hip-hop sensibilities.” The band’s road success has even led to a couple of appearances on the world-renowned Grand Ole Opry stage. The invaluable road experience has also helped the band’s transition to the studio, making Old Dominion one of the few country bands to write, record, and perform all of its own music.
“For us it just made sense to play on the record,” says Tursi in the website profile. “We are a band. As a band you really want to try to capture the essence of what you do live on tape, and there’s really only one true way to do that.” Ramsey adds, “There’s nothing like playing a song you’ve written and watching the crowd sing the words back to you. The Old Dominion EP is captures a live show that focuses on “feeding audiences hungry for a good time rather than sustaining their own egos,” reads a review by Creative Loafing Atlanta.
The magazine notes Old Dominion—which peaked at No. 22 and No. 33 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums and Top Country Albums charts, respectively—was recorded with minimal production and considers tracks such as ‘Shut Me Up’ a “strong indicator not only of their songwriting prowess, but their performance chops.” The other titles on the five-song release include ‘Break Up with Him,’ ‘Nowhere Fast,’ ‘Beer Can in a Truck Bed,’ and ‘Wrong Turns.’
A Billboard review cites Old Dominion as one of its “10 Hot Country Artists to Watch in 2015,” stating current single ‘Shut Me Up’ “shimmers with a rock 'n' roll swagger and has been impressing crowds with their live show everywhere they play.” In addition, Huffington Post ranks the group No. 6 on its list of “15 Country Artists to Watch in 2015.” Old Dominion is currently touring through the summer as a headliner and on specific dates as the opening act for Eli Young Band and Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival Tour.
Watch Old Dominion in an acoustic performance of ‘Break Up With Him,’ a featured track off the band’s self-titled debut EP.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Old Dominion formed in Nashville, where in the fall of 2003, singer-songwriter Matt Ramsey was introduced to another Nashville newcomer: Detroit native Trevor Rosen. The two discovered an immediate musical chemistry and began a writing partnership.
* Guitarist Brad Tursi was a James Madison University classmate with fellow Virginians Whit Sellers and Geoff Sprung, joining Old Dominion in 2012. Meanwhile, Ramsey and Rosen continued to write songs for other artists including The Band Perry’s ‘Better Dig Two’ and follow-up single, ‘Chainsaw.’
* The band’s Virginia roots run deep as Matt Ramsey moved to Nashville after meeting and impressing country music star Phil Vassar, a Lynchburg, Va., native. In addition, Ramsey and Whit Sellers were rivals on their respective Virginia high school drum lines.
* Sellers studied drums and percussion at James Madison University, where he met Falls Church, Va., bassist Geoff Sprung and guitarist Brad Tursi. After moving to Nashville, the three soon replaced the studio musicians with whom Ramsey had been performing.
* Ramsey initially formed Old Dominion with Sellers and Sprung before Rosen convinced Ramsey to let him play in the band since he wrote half of the band’s songs. Old Dominion’s self-titled debut was recorded with producer Shane McAnally and session guitarist Ilya Toshinsky.
* Matt Ramsey recently collaborated on a song for Dierks Bentley with writer/producer and fellow Roanoke Valley, Va., native, Ross Copperman. The cut is slated to be part of a reality show on the History channel.Copyright © 2015 Triton Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.