If you saw Old Dominion in Charles Town, W.Va., Saturday night, you saw one of the top bands to watch in country music.
The five guys of OD — three of them are Virginians, two connections to the state — performed at The Event Center at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town and what an awesome show!. They sing, song write, can make that all important audience connection and their on-stage connection with each other is genuine. Lead singer Matt Ramsey, of Buchanan,Va., and drummer Whit Sellers, of Roanoake, Va., have been friends since high school. As college friends, they all ended up in Nashville and ended up playing together there to showcase their own songs, while some of them continued to tour and play with other artists until OD became an official band about eight years ago.
Matt opened the show last night taking the lead vocals on OD’s first single, “Shut Me Up,” for their independent EP released last fall, about a guy who just can’t stop talking about unless his girl gives him a kiss: “Just a little kiss will do the trick.” Ramsey and band mate Brad Tursi were co-writers on this song.
The country fused with hip hop “Dirt on a Road” and “Beer Can In a Truck Bed,” a girl, truck, beer song, were followed by a new song that could make the cut for their upcoming full-length album. The song “Nobody Ever,” with the clever lyrics, “I’m tired of having fun. I’m sick of watching that sunset … I just wanna turn in early … Said nobody, said nobody ever, said nobody ever.”
“We’re a super lucky band. You’re looking at the luckiest band this year,” Matt said. “We’ve been fortunate to write some songs other people recorded. Trevor wrote this song and it’s only fair he sing it.”
That song was “Better Dig Two,” a hit for The Band Perry.
Keeping that theme going, Brad Tursi sang a song he co-wrote and was recorded by Tyler Farr, “A Guy Walks Into a Bar.” And Matt took the lead on a song he and Trevor wrote a few years ago and was recently recorded by Dierks Bentley, “Say You Do.” Love these songs!
“Here’s another new song that will hopefully make the album unless we write something better or you boo it,” called “Snap Back,” Matt said. Nope. No boo.
He co-wrote a song with Josh Osborne, “Ex to See,” recorded by Sam Hunt. It’s a song where the girl is using the guy to get back at her ex, “Everywhere we go you keep looking around, Fixing your makeup like its about to go down, And he walks in, it all makes sense, Suddenly you’re climbing all up next to me, next to me, I ain’t no fool, you rascal you. You don’t want me, you just want your ex to see … .”
To the ladies in the audience, Matt addressed the next song. “I respect your choices …. but sometimes you make the wrong choice,” leading into the band’s current single, “Break Up With Him,” a phone conversation where the guy is trying to convince her she doesn’t really love the other guy, so break up with him. It’s the first song all five band members co-wrote.
OD closed the set with the song they usually close with, “Wake Up Loving You,” once their signature song but they gave it to country singer Craig Morgan to record. OD’s version was rock heavy but awesome! again.
It was a one-song encore of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Matt’s vocals knocked the dust off this oldie into the next century with his powerful vocals.
If you missed this show, you missed not only a really good night of music but a performance by what I’m convinced will be one of country’s top bands. They’ve already, individually, made a huge impact as songwriters and will hit the road in May opening for Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour.