About Old Dominion
“I always have this visual of, like, taking the heartache and tucking it inside my jacket,” Matthew Ramsey, the lead singer and one of the five songwriters in Old Dominion, told Apple Music, defining the country band’s approach to penning lyrics from lived experience. Founded in 2007, the Nashville group takes its moniker from the nickname of Virginia, where four of its members have roots. But it’s their background as hitmakers for other acts like Dierks Bentley (“Say You Do”) and Kenny Chesney (“Save it for a Rainy Day”) that led them to perform together at showcases, hoping to sell their songs to big-name act and labels. They eventually decided to go it their own way, releasing an eponymous EP in 2014 and their debut, Meat and Candy, on RCA a year later, with tunes that eschewed the popular tropes of Bro Country in favor of hard-rocking positivity tempered with tinges of sadness and vulnerability. On their 2019 self-titled third album, they dialed down the catchiness and good cheer, with darker moments like “My Heart is a Bar” and “One Man Band,” the lyrics of which call for listeners to join them in getting tattoos and trashing a hotel room—as much a send-up of their real-life, sensitive personalities as an invitation to let loose. It won them the CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophy, establishing them as stars whose continuing formula for success is through honest, heartfelt songwriting.