Old Dominion Clayton Anderson

Friday, December 18 2015
7:00 PM | 8:00 PM

Upstate Concert Hall 1208 New York 146
Clifton Park, New York 12065

Tickets $18 adv/$20 day of on sale Friday, September 25 at 10am at all Ticketmaster locations, the club box office 371-0012 and Northern Lights Smoke Shop on Fuller Road


Recently, when Old Dominion stepped onstage at its live shows, something unusual
happened. “It was a whole different feeling!” says the country rock outfit’s frontman and
lead singer Matthew Ramsey, excitedly relaying how audience members at the five-piece
band’s gigs are now belting their lyrics back at him. Sure, this might have regularly
happened in the past when the red-hot band comprised of seasoned Nashville songwriters
and pro-musicians performed songs they’d written for other high-profile artists, including
The Band Perry, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. But hearing their own music getting so
much love? Well, that was something different entirely. “To hear that and to feel that
interaction it takes it to a completely different level,” Ramsey explains. “It’s a breath of
fresh air to play for a crowd of people that knows your music.”
Playing for an unconditioned crowd is looking to be a thing of the past. Blending oldfashioned
country charm, lyrical wit and rock n’ roll grit into radio-friendly hook-heavy
pop nuggets — traits best exemplified on their gut-punch of a new self-titled EP — Old
Dominion have emerged as one of the hottest breaking bands in country music. “It’s kind
of the classic, seven-year overnight success story,” lead guitarist Brad Tursi says with a
laugh, reflecting on the longtime friends and collaborators slow-burning rise to
recognition. “I think we’re all lucky enough to really love what we do and in that respect
we were gonna just keep doing it no matter what.”
A band stocked with time-tested song craftsmen, Old Dominion, which includes lead
singer Matthew Ramsey, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, bassist Geoff Sprung,
drummer Whit Sellers, and lead guitarist Brad Tursi, write nearly every day. It’s a custom
ingrained within them. So when piecing together their EP, which addresses road-tripping
reflection, long-night love affairs and boozy bad decisions at every turn, it wasn’t so
much a matter of writing catchy songs but instead choosing from their well of stellar
material. The five resulting tracks speak as much to their pristine decision-making skills
as their musical chops. “We just try to find a groove or a hook or something that catches
our ear, follow that rabbit trail and try to chase down a good song,” says Rosen, and the
proof lies in the foot-stomping whiplash of their new single “Break Up With Him,” the
hard-charging rock riot “Shut Me Up” (“We wanted to really put across what our live
show was like,” Ramsey says. “It’s an energetic song and we’re an energetic band.”) and
the slow strutting “Nowhere Fast” (“That one was a bear to wrestle into what it is now,”
the singer offers).
“Break Up With Him” evolved from a loose pre-show jam session into the earworm of a
single it is today. “The groove was the fist thing that happened,” Tursi recalls. “We
started singing some little melody. And then I think Matt and Trevor worked on it in the
van another day.”
Adds Ramsey: “It was like two in the morning and we were headed to Myrtle Beach to
do a show and we were sitting in the back of the van just working on it. The one thing
that makes that song special to us is that’s the first song that all five of us have written
If Old Dominion’s songs seem tailor made for the radio it’s due in large part to its band
members spending years polishing their songwriting skills on the Nashville circuit.
“Having success as songwriters has definitely helped the band,” Rosen says. “It helped
snowball the process and get us a lot of attention as a band. Because then we could go out
on the road and play for crowds that didn’t know us and say, ‘Here’s a song we wrote.’
They’d go ‘Oh, these guys wrote this song.’ It makes people pay attention.”
Still, frustration, as is the case for even the most talented of musical acts, set in at times
over the band’s multi-year journey to success. The fact that they were longtime friends —
Ramsey and Sellers grew up together in Virginia; Sellers met Rosen and Sprung in
college; Rosen and Ramsey linked up in Nashville — though helped alleviate the
struggle. “It’s been a lot of years of meeting people that say, ‘Why aren’t you guys
bigger? Why aren’t you guys huge?’ and not having a good answer,” Sprung admits.
“Everybody gets that at some point in their musical career though,” Tursi chimes in,
“whether it’s your mom telling you you’re great or whatever. But I think that it’s just all
about the belief in yourself and the band as a unit. That’s a big thing. It’s an underlying
driving force.”
They survived because behind it all the five guys are super-tight friends. “It helps when
you like your bandmates,” Ramsey concurs laughing. “Because as long as we’ve been
doing this for nobody and for no gain we must like each other because we’d have killed
each other if we didn’t.”
Hitting the stage and tearing through their soon-to-be-household tracks, all big-man-oncampus
swagger and polished musicianship, is at the end of the day what brings it home
for Old Dominion. “The live show, it’s very important to us,” Ramsey says. “There’s a
lot of meetings and things these days that we’re in, so it’s those times onstage when we
get to do what we do that are most fulfilling.” “That’s one of the things that sets us apart
out there: we are a band,” Tursi says. “A lot of these country artist it’s this one guy and
then the band is kind of in the background, almost interchangeable. Immediately that
gives us a different sound.”
With a slew of upcoming gigs at top-notch venues and mega-tours supporting the likes of
Kenny Chesney, and Eli Young Band, the members of Old Dominion are undoubtedly
excited about the future. And yet these country music lifers remain nothing if not
extremely humble. Rosen adds, “Every time we achieve a new level we go ‘Oh my god!
I can’t believe we made it to this level!’ And plus,” he adds with a chuckle, “now our
wives’ parents no longer think we don’t have jobs.”