On the final day of The Windy City Smokeout, with the Chicago River as our backdrop, I sat down with Old Dominion to get to know them, talk about their latest single, and how they really feel about Chicago.
Just hours before our interview, I had the privilege of watching Old Dominion in action, as they performed during the Windy City Smokeout. One thing that really stood out to me was the vibrancy of their performance. Trevor Rosen said, “We focus on the craft of songwriting, and we take that seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. We’re a bunch of goofballs and we have fun!” This is part of what sets them apart as entertainers. “It’s not anything that we do intentionally, but what makes us unique comes from our chemistry and the fact that we have fun together. I think that’s a good thing” concludes Matthew Ramsey.
Fun Fact: Old Dominion is comprised of individual songwriters who have #1 hits under their belts, recorded by artists including Blake Shelton and Tyler Farr. Matthew said, “There was never a moment where we said ‘let’s be a band’ – we just were. We had been playing our music together around town as songwriters, and it became clear that people liked it.” He continued to inform me that they didn’t even have a band name, nor was it a thought to come up with a name, until someone called them out saying that they ARE a band and they need a name! It was then that they began to apprehend their status as a band. All proudly hailing from Virgina, with the exception of Trevor, it made sense for them to take on the state’s nickname as their band name – Old Dominion.
Recently, “Break Up With Him” has become a highly requested song on country radio. Mike Dubs from US99.5 wanted to know if “Break Up With Him” had any success, to their knowledge, of getting a girl to break up with her boyfriend. Immediately, in unison, everyone smiled, laughed, and said “OH YES!” Matthew added, “We’ve had couples come up to us and say that this song is how they got together.” Written by all five members, it is a song that shows off the capabilities of this dynamic group, and they are thoroughly enjoying watching the single’s success blossom. “The way that ‘Break Up With Him’ is becoming so well known, makes it fun to watch the crowd while we perform. When people are singing along, it’s always surprising to me,” says Matthew, with a wide grin. “It’s my favorite moment while performing right now, to just watch that happen.”
Being that we were in Chicago, backstage at the Windy City Smokeout, it felt obvious to ask Old Dominion what they like the most about Chicago. Lounged under the shade of trees by the river, they each made hand gestures showcasing the view as Brad Tursi said simply, “this,” alluding to the atmosphere. Geoff Sprung said that Old Dominion loves Chicago so much that when they know they will be in town, they specifically ask their management to book a day before and after the performance, if possible, just so that they can soak up their time here. Detroit native, Trevor, spoke about Chicago being the best of all worlds in regards to different scenary and activities, then added, “Can we just move to Chicago and be Chicago recording artists?” Matthew calmly added, “Chicago has always been good to us. There are people here who seem to know our music more than most cities and that means a lot to us”. Wow, thanks for all the Chicago love, Old Dominion! I speak for all of us here when I say we would certainly welcome you with open arms if you wanted to stay!
With a brand new music video and the single “Break Up With Him” climbing the charts, Old Dominion’s future unquestionably looks bright and I’m anxiously awaiting each accomplishment along the way! A big thank you to Old Dominion and their team for the privilege of this interview!
Check out their new video for song “Break Up With Him.”