Snapping back to having fun


Old Dominion will perform this evening in the IMU Main Lounge.

By Grace Pateras  |  [email protected]

“Break Up with Him” and “Snapback” have been blasting through car stereos the past few months, and now listeners can hear them in the IMU.

Old Dominion, the band behind the singles, will play tonight in the Main Lounge at 7:30 p.m., presented by SCOPE.

The country band — Geoff Sprung (bass), Trevor Rosen (guitar, keyboards), Matthew Ramsey (lead vocals), Brad Tursi (guitar), and Whit Sellers (drums) — has been nominated for two 2016 Academy of Country Music awards: vocal group of the year and new vocal duo or group of the year.

Ramsey said venues such as the IMU are the perfect setting for the group’s performances.

“College kids have a lot of energy, and we love that,” he said. “We love performing with each other, and when the crowd is having fun, we have so much more fun. The younger college crowd is our crowd. We feel at home whenever we get to play in a college town.”

Though the band has played at a variety of venues, including bars, cafés, arenas, and stadiums, Rosen said, playing for a college crowd is special.

“It’s a little more intimate,” he said. “Obviously, stadiums have a lot more people, but they’re so spread out. Especially at a college or a smaller club, you’re right up there, you get to see the audience, and you have that one-on-one connection.”

A year ago, the band signed with RCA Records Nashville, which also includes Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen, Chris Young, and others.

Since then, the band has come out with the album Meat and Candy.

What fans might not know is each member started as a songwriter. For example, Ramsey and Tursi cowrote Kenny Chesney’s “Save it for a Rainy Day,” and Rosen has writer’s rights to Blake Shelton’s “Sangria.”

“We’ve each individually had a number of No. 1 [singles] with other people,” Rosen said. “But when it’s your own song, when it’s us, it is different.”

Ramsey and Sellers moved from their home state of Virginia to Nashville, where they met Rosen and, after having success as writers, formed Old Dominion.

“When we moved to Nashville, the goal was to write songs for other people,” Ramsey said. “We were just a band to have fun. The goal wasn’t to become a rock star. So when we achieved that, it was great. But now that we’re with our friends and we’re on stage singing music that we’ve created, and we can make that connection with the fans and see that we’re kind of becoming part of their life, it’s so much sweeter than it is to stay behind the curtain and watch it from afar.”

Feeling the crowd’s engagement can be overwhelming.

“I probably cry on stage once every two months or so,” Ramsey said. “Because the crowds keep getting bigger and louder, and when they sing songs that aren’t on the radio, songs that are just on the album, it really is a good sign to us that they love us and our hard work wasn’t for nothing.”

But the members aren’t so serious all of the time. While currently on tour as their own headliners, they opened up for Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour in 2015. On the tour bus and across America, they have found how to occupy themselves.

“We’re a group of guys that get along really well,” Rosen said. “We goof off and have a lot of fun, so at any given day any one or all of us [can be the jokester]. Every city’s different, so we try to find something interesting in every town.”


Old Dominion

Where: IMU Main Lounge

Time: 7:30 p.m. today

Admission: $18

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