By Jim Davis
Things seem to keep getting bigger and better for Old Dominion, but sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.
Fresh off a year in which the country band was lauded with the ACM New Vocal Group/Duo of the Year Award, had a highly successful debut album and notched two No. 1 hits, lead singer Matthew Ramsey said he catches himself savoring the simple things when he least expects it.
“It’s those moments that kind of hit you when you don’t expect them. They hit me on stage when a crowd reacts a certain way …or when you meet a fan for the first time,” Ramsey said during a recent phone interview. “Those moments show me what we’re doing is bigger than what we all think it is.”
Fans can catch Ramsey and the rest of Old Dominion Friday when they swing through Troy for an 8 p.m. performance at historic Hobart Arena. Miami County native Clark Manson is scheduled to help open the show, while a special appearance by Brandon Lay also is planned.
Together as a band for 10 years, Old Dominion took a big leap into the country music Top 40 mix at the end of 2015 when its major label debut “Meat and Candy” made a splash. The album got rolling with a No. 1 hit “Break Up With Him” – written by all five members of the band — as well as a follow-up No. 2 single “Snapback.”
Old Dominion’s latest single “Song for Another Time” recently topped the Country Airplay charts to give the band its second No. 1.
Ramsey said it still gives him chills to see fans singing those songs back to him night after night.
“As a songwriter the ultimate validation is to be standing there singing a song and hearing the crowd sing it back … and realizing you have made a connection,” he said. “There’s no feeling like that, especially having written songs for as long as we have. You realize you’ve helped make music part of someone’s life, just like music is part of your own life, and sometimes it’s hard to wrap your mind around that.”
Although he’s never been to Troy, Ramsey said he and his bandmates are looking forward to playing at the newly-renovated Hobart Arena.
“It’s always exciting when you go to a new place,” he said. “It’s one of those moments that shows you that what you’re doing is working because you can go to a place you’ve never been to or heard of and there’s a pocket of people living there … and all the while you’ve been a part of it.”
Ramsey will be joined by Trevor Rosen on guitar and keyboards, Whit Sellers on drums, Geoff Sprung on bass guitar and Brad Tursi on guitar. Ramsey said band members benefit from a strong sense of mutual respect and years of working together.
“I think we click as a band because we’re friends. There’s a lot of respect for each members’ strengths,” Ramsey said. “We have a high bar and everyone meets it in their own way and everyone’s opinion is respected.
“Also, we’re not 20 years old anymore. We’re a self-governing business where if someone’s ego gets too big we’re buddies enough that we can pull them back pretty fast,” he continued. “We all love the songs, and we just want to serve the songs as best as we can. We tend to be on the same page.”
And as long as fans coming to Friday’s concert plan on having a good time, they’ll be “on the same page” too.
“We have a lot of fun playing music together and most people say the fun we have onstage rubs off on the audience and everybody ends up smiling and laughing. We like to have fun,” he said. “We definitely will play some songs from our album and new songs that we’re recording for the next album. We’ll also play some songs we’ve written for other people, so it’s quite a varied show.”
For information about tickets for Friday’s show, visit the Hobart Arena website at hobartarena.com, or call the arena at 339-2911. To learn more about Old Dominion or check out the band’s upcoming tour schedule, go to olddominionband.com.
Jim Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org