In 2015, Old Dominion seemingly popped out of nowhere with their confident, rule-breaking debut "Break Up With Him," which quickly made its way into country's Top Ten. The names Matt Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi didn't mean much to the average fans, but on Nashville's Music Row, the guys were already songwriting VIP's.
1. They're a band of writers
Together, the guys have credits on dozens of country cuts, including Chris Young’s “Neon" (Rosen), The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” (Rosen) and "Chainsaw" (Ramsey), Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar," (Tursi), Dierks Bentley's "Say You Do" (Rosen, Ramsey) and Kenny Chesney's "Save It For A Rainy Day" (Ramsey, Tursi). They also penned original tunes for the TV show "Nashville."
2. They didn't really mean to be famous
The songwriters originally banded together as a way to showcase their tunes to publishers and record labels, in hopes of getting cuts by major artists. "It was kind of an organic process," Sprung told Parade. "We were playing in Nashville because we were friends and a lot of times those [performances] were to showcase songs that were being written among the members, and then slowly, people started coming out to the shows. It was people outside the band that told us we were a band before we had decided it."
3. It all goes back to Virginia
The band is named after their home state of Virginia's nickname. “It was a struggle to come up with a name that reflected our Virginia ties,” Sprung said in a press release. "We tried state birds, state flowers, and every reference. We assumed there was already a band called Old Dominion, but when we Googled it, all we got was a vet service.” It's probably best they went with Old Dominion over, say the Cardinals or Dogwood.
4. They stood out by not fitting in
After struggling to get noticed writing traditional country songs, they decided to let loose. “We said, ‘We’re not getting hits anyway. Let’s not even care remotely about whether our songs sound country or whatever," Rosen told Billboard. "Let’s just do what we do...And that’s really what started opening doors for us. If you try to chase what’s on the radio and try to chase what’s current you’re probably two years behind. We just try to make something new and fresh. And that way you carve your own path."
5. "Meat & Candy" actually describes the album's content
In the process of selecting songs for their debut album, they accidentally named the project: "We had a list of songs and we realized that the first initial list was a lot of ear-candy songs," Ramsey told Noisey. "They were catchy and fun little songs. We said, “Man, there’s a lot of candy on this list. We’re capable of some meat too. We need to throw a little meat and candy in there.” Meat & Candy was released in November 2015, and contained the singles "Break Up With Him," "Snapback" and "Song For Another Time."
Check out upcoming Old Dominion shows here.