The best part about listening to Old Dominion is hearing how the band’s music turns everyday life on its head and makes it more meaningful. Everything that happens around members Matt Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi serves as a perpetual source of inspiration for their music.
This practice is exhibited throughout their sophomore album, Happy Endings, which offers playful escapism with moments that can happen at any time.
“As a songwriter, to keep any kind of edge, you have to be open to ideas from anywhere,” frontman Matt Ramsey said during the band’s CMT.com interview. “And we’re always trying to do that.”
On the collection’s Little Big Town collaboration, “Stars in the City,” a couple almost hits another car while making a U-turn on a city street. The swerve causes the driver to spill coffee on his jeans. He thinks they’re ruined, but the girl in the passenger seat says, “No, they’re better now. It’s just a matter of perspective. … It’s the little imperfections that make them unique.”
In “Hotel Key,” a key to a hotel room conjures up memories of a romantic weekend out of town. Then the love song “Be With Me” carries undertones of girl power messages with the lyrics, “You could be the president/You would get my vote/You could be the captain of whatever floats your boat.”
Indirectly, Old Dominion’s music provides fans a source of unlimited positivity at a time when they need it most. The world is constantly being hit with bad news as terrorist attacks, hate crimes and natural disasters flood today’s 24-hour news cycle.
Coincidentally, Old Dominion’s latest hit “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart,” by Ramsey, Rosen, Tursi and hitmaker Jesse Frasure, was written at around the time of the June 2016 Orlando shootings which claimed the lives of 50 people, including the 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen.
But during our conversation, Ramsey was quick to point out that the Orlando tragedy did not provide the initial inspiration for the song. It came together out of a conversation involving uplifting messages they hope to pass on to the next generation.
“We didn’t really have any inspiration for the song honestly,” Ramsey recalled. “There was no title or anything. That day when we wrote it, the first thing I said was, ’I wonder if Jack and Diane ever made it.’ And then it became this discussion. The best songs come out of a discussion when you’re talking, you’re all kind of writing at the same time, and you’re in this therapy session. This song became that sort of write where we just kept spitting out lines of things we would want to say to our kids or we would want to say to ourselves.”
The overall goal the band had in making Happy Endings was to show followers that they’re in music for the long haul.
“The goal was to write the best songs we could, narrow them down to some form that we all could agree on and feel good about showing the world where we are,” Ramsey said. “We just wanted to make something we thought sounded cool and be proud of it.”
Old Dominion will perform at Kenny Chesney’s two-night stand at Gillette Stadium in Boston, starting Friday (Aug. 25). The band’s tour continues through December.