DAVE'S DIARY - 2 DECEMBER 2019 - OLD DOMINION CD REVIEW

NOVEMBER 2019

OLD DOMINION SELF TITLED (SONY-RCA)

OLD DOMINION ROLL WITH JACK KEROUAC

“West coast hippie in a pickup truck/ with stickers all over the back/ vanity plate that says Livin' Life/ I bet you love to take it off the map/ you seem like a girl who sleeps under the stars/ every single chance you get/ you're the kind of girl that only exists/ in a Kerouac paperback dream/ there's just enough room in your front seat/ for me to drop everything/ I just wanna read a couple highway signs/ ain't got no tie-you-down plans.” - I'll Roll - James Slater-Trevor Rosen-Brad Tursi.

Award winning Virginian quintet Old Dominion is the latest act to name check late Beat author Jack Kerouac in idyllic imagery in its highly accessible music.

I'll Roll - penned by guitarist Trevor Rosen, pianist Trevor Rosen and James Slater - is not among the band's first three singles on its third album released on October 25.

But it's likely to follow Some People Do , Make It Sweet and latest hit One Man Band out of the singles chute soon.

That's if My Heart Is A Bar (and I'm closing it down) - already accompanied by a video - doesn't score the nod.

I'll Roll is a riveting road song - a staple of the ever-growing genre - and lends itself to video to follow One Man Band that airs on Nu Country TV on January 4 and Hotel Key that also scored lavish exposure here.

Old Dominion takes its name from home state Virginia and ensures that the rich publishing royalties boomerang to its members.

The quintet co-wrote all 12 songs on this dynamic disc that follows second album Happy Endings that won the 2O18 CMA vocal group of the year award and 2019 Academy of Country Music award.

Awards may be the icing on the cake but songs resonate most - especially for the band, formed in 2007.

One Man Band has already scored 127 million streams and performance on Good Morning America and Make It Sweet hit No. 1 on Billboard - making it the band's seventh #1 song.

Old Dominion primed sales pumps with a five-episode podcast and international touring that included 2018 CMC Rocks Queensland at Ipswich.

"We walked into the studio one day without discussing what we wanted the next step for our band to be,” lead guitarist-vocalist Matthew Ramsey confessed.

“The plan was to write a song and record it on that same day. What happened was something we could never have planned. The words fell out, and the next thing we knew, we had recorded Make It Sweet . It's raw, natural and 100 percent us. We are so proud and grateful to have the opportunity to share such a meaningful moment for our band with the world."

MY HEART IS A BAR

“My door is always open/ they come in lonely, they come in broken/ to figure out where they're going/ then they go/ and when they don't need me no more/ I'm left sweeping up the floor/ my heart is a bar and I'm closing it down/ so find somewhere else to get drunk in this town/ I'm tired of being a shoulder and never having one around/ my heart is a bar and I'm closing, I'm closing it down.” - My Heart Is A Bar - Shane Mcanally-Josh Osborne-Trevor Rosen-Matthew Ramsey-Brad Tursi.

Old Dominion has toured with artists diverse as Tennessean Kenny Chesney, Georgian Thomas Rhett, Texan Granger Smith, expat Novocastrian Morgan Evans and Michell Tenpenny.

They have soaked up ambience of a world way beyond Virginia where they met.

Ramsey went to Virginia Commonwealth University and moved to Nashville after graduation to be a songwriter and met Trevor Rosen in 2003 as a writer and solo artist.

Drummer Whit Sellers was at James Madison University in Virginia where he met bassist Geoff Sprung and guitarist Brad Tursi

They then hit Nashville and joined Ramsey to form Old Dominion.

Tursi, a member of rock band Army of Me, joined them in 2012.

They wrote hits for major artists including Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Randy Houser, Dierks Bentley, Randy Rogers, Chris Young and Kelsey Ballerini.

It was a lucrative launch pad.

"My Heart Is A Bar might be the loneliest sing-along of all time," Ramsey also revealed.

"It's a song about feeling alone, and used, and pissed off at love to the point of throwing up your hands and saying, 'Screw this!' That's a feeling a lot of people can identify with. It's lonely and liberating at the same time. That's why we decided to treat this like a big, barroom sing-along so we can all sing and say 'screw this!' together!"

Ramsey extolled the emphasis on writing that included members writing hits for peers as well as their own projects.

And, of course, producing the album with co-writer Shane McAnally, who had a major role in previous disc Happy Endings.

"We pushed ourselves to be more raw and vulnerable with our song-writing on this album,” he explained.

“It's a side of us we haven't shown as blatantly on our other projects. Some People Do is very emotional and personal. Quite honestly, it's a little scary to put out into the world. But in the end, part of our job as songwriters is to tell the truth, even if it's hard to go there."

The genesis of the latest single is equally organic.

One Man Band is the first true love song we've ever released,” Ramsey added. “One of the things we talk about the most in this band is how we can't imagine being on this crazy ride alone. We have each other to celebrate the highs and get through the challenges with. It's one of the best parts of being a band. Sure, you can make music alone. But if you find people you have a chemistry with a whole new world opens up. I think it's the same with life and love. You can go it alone. But sometimes there is another person out there that adds something to your 'music' that you would have never had on your own. That's the show you want to take on the road. That's what this song is about."

The album also includes the sensual Midnight Mess Around, Smooth Sailing and Do It With Me .

Equally accessible are Never Be Sorry, rain drenched regret in Hear You Now and a Stratocaster reference to propel American Style.

The idyllic imagery of Paint The Grass Green segues into fatalistic finale Some People Do that features recent tourist Thomas Rhett as co-writer.

Old Dominion may return down under after its We Are Old Dominion 2020 tour in Canada.

CLICK HERE for another Old Dominion feature in The Diary on September 18, 2017.

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