New favorites in the country music lexicon will be heard July 24, when Old Dominion brings its “Make it Sweet Tour” to the Ironstone Amphitheatre. An as yet unnamed act opens the show that starts at 7:30 p.m. on the stage outside Murphys.
“You won’t want to miss the Mother Lode debut of this band!” states a release from the Richter Entertainment Group, which booked the show. “Old Dominion has emerged as one of the hottest breaking bands in country music, fusing clever lyrics and an infectious sound. Proving that they are not your average country band, Old Dominion blends old-fashioned country charm, lyrical wit and rock ’n’ roll grit into radio-friendly, hook-heavy pop nuggets.”
The band of five friends came together after Virginians Matthew Ramsey and Whit Sellers – who knew each other in high school – met Brad Tursi and Geoff Sprung (also Virginians) in college. The membership was rounded out when the Virginians met Detroit native Trevor Rosen in Nashville, where they had moved to pursue careers as songwriters (Ramsey, Rosen and Tursi) and session players (Sprung and Sellers). In Nashville, Ramsey, Rosen and Tursi have enjoyed major success writing for other artists, creating a string of hits (including seven No. 1 songs) for artists like Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Tyler Farr, Sam Hunt and the Band Perry.
Initially, the members of Old Dominion got together to showcase the songs they had written for other acts, but they formalized the band in 2007, when the members began to attract and impress audiences during energetic live shows.
“We already knew we were hit songwriters because people were recording our songs and making them hits,” Rosen said. “People were coming out to see us. We just couldn’t get a record deal. So we said, ‘Let’s go out and play a million shows and build it ourselves. Let’s keep writing and record something that we think is the album.’ Then a hit happened. And a hit changes everything.”
The hit was “Break Up With Him,” a hip-hop-influenced song that became the first single off Old Dominion’s 2015 debut titled “Meat and Candy.” After going into heavy rotation on satellite radio, the tune spent two weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Ramsey sings lead vocals, Rosen plays guitar and keyboards, Sellers is on drums, Sprung plays bass and Tursi also plays guitar. Onstage, the men keep audiences engaged with shows that don’t follow what’s been done before.
“We love feel-good songs,” Ramsey said. “Sometimes you just want to put on something that makes you smile. It’s a big part of who we are, but we definitely wanted to show that we were capable of writing more than just fun, party tunes. We think we have the potential to be around for a long time. To stick around, you have to have meaningful songs.”
Old Dominion was nominated for Academy of Country Music awards and won Best New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year in 2016. The band has been nominated for two Country Music Television awards, an American Music Award and a 2017 iHeart Radio Music Award. The band’s successes have led to an insatiable demand for live shows, and the quintet was invited to open two stadium tours for Kenny Chesney.
“That has definitely shaped who this band is,” Ramsey said of touring with Chesney. “We watched him and thought, ‘OK, we’ve gotta step this up.’”
“We try to learn something every time,” Sprung said of performing live shows.
The Sioux City Journal said Old Dominion easily entertained an outdoor crowd in Iowa: “Smooth, hip and nostalgic, their ‘Song for Another Time’ set the scene and showed just how perfect they are for an arena or outdoor venue.”
Ticket prices were not announced, but they go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. at ironstoneamphitheatre.net.