Old Dominion Bring The Good Vibes To Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater

Old Dominion. Photo: Mason Allen

Old Dominion brought nothing but good vibes and great music to a gloomy, overcast evening at Ascend Amphitheater on Friday (May 3). The ACM Group of the Year had the sold-out hometown crowd in the palm of their hand at the Nashville stop of their Make It Sweet Tour, and brought along Jordan Davis and Sony Music Nashville label-mate Mitchell Tenpenny.

The band cracked the night open with “Be With Me,” a track from their 2017 effort Happy Endings, and then followed it with one of their breakout hits, “Snapback.” Old Dominion had set the tone for the night by the third song into the setlist, the sexy “Said Nobody” from their debut album Meat and Candy. Fans were swaying with their eyes closed, smiling ear to ear, and slow dancing in the lawn of the outdoor venue.

“No rain in sight!” lead singer Matthew Ramsey finally said. “This is a big deal. You’re going to hear a lot about songwriting tonight because this is the town for it.”

He wasn’t kidding. Not long into the set, Ramsey, guitarist and keyboardist Trevor Rosen, and guitarist Brad Tursi put the Nashville treatment on the night, stripping the production down to three bar stools, acoustic guitars and a warm spotlight, evoking Bluebird Cafe vibes at Ascend Amphitheater.

“I moved to Nashville 16 or 17 years ago with the idea of learning how to write great country songs that maybe some other artist would record,” Ramsey said. “We really had no plan to be in a band like this. We just thought we could make a living as songwriters.”

Ramsey and Rosen played the first hit they wrote together, “Wake Up Lovin’ You” recorded by Craig Morgan.

“I told Matthew that I had had a song that was recorded by a band called The Band Perry,” Rosen said of a phone call to Ramsey early in their careers. “Somehow, miraculously, this song went all the way to No. 1. It was the first No. 1 I had as a songwriter, and that’s very hard to do.” He went on to play “Better Dig Two.”

Tursi saw Rosen’s No. 1 and matched it with Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar.”

“Trevor got his first No. 1, Brad got his first No. 1, it was my turn. Thanks to a guy named Dierks Bentley,” Ramsey quipped as he went into “Say You Do.”

With tunes like Blake Shelton’s “Sangria,” Sam Hunt’s “Make You Miss Me,” Luke Bryan’s “Light It Up” and Michael Ray’s recent “One That Got Away,” the Old Dominion bandmates reminded everyone that they are songwriters, first and foremost, and that they probably wrote one of your favorite songs.

“That story is really just a fraction of what actually happened,” Ramsey said. “But really, it’s an excuse for us to be able to say thank you. Before you guys ever really realized it, you listening to our music. And before country radio ever realized it, they were playing our music.”

They transitioned the makeshift songwriter round into their hit about great songs, “Song For Another Time,” as drummer Whit Sellers and bassist Geoff Sprung re-joined their bandmates onstage.

Old Dominion made sure to play their hit singles, like “Hotel Key,” “Make It Sweet” and “Break Up With Him,” as well as fan-favorites like “Wrong Turns” and “Nowhere Fast” to make for a truly special night. The Friday was also special as the band released a new song, a reflective piano ballad called “Some People Do.”


MCA Nashville’s Jordan Davis got the crowd warmed up for OD, getting everyone dancing with his recent No. 1 “Take It From Me.”

“I’m from Shreveport [Louisiana] but Nashville is home now,” Davis said. “I love the place in this next song but it’s good to be home. I put out an album called Home State, and one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written is the last song on the album.” He then played “Leaving New Orleans.”

Davis closed his set up with the whole Amphitheater first pumping and singing along to his breakout hit, “Singles You Up.”

Mitchell Tenpenny got the whole thing started with his fan-favorites “Drunk Me” and “Alcohol You Later” from his project Telling All My Secrets.

The Friday night in Nashville was slam-packed with hits, and plenty of good vibes. Old Dominion’s Make It Sweet Tour runs through October with support from Jordan Davis, Mitchell Tenpenny, Brandon Lay, Carlton Anderson, the Washboard Union and Jason Benoit on select dates.

Pictured (L-R): Jim Catino, EVP A&R Sony Music Nashville; Ken Robold, EVP/COO SMN; Dennis Reese, SVP Promotion RCA Records Nashville; Old Dominion’s Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, and Brad Tursi; Randy Goodman, Chairman/CEO SMN; Steve Hodges, EVP Promotion & Artist Development SMN; Paige Altone, Marketing Director SMN; Clint Higham of Morris Higham Management, Nate Ritches of Paradigm, and Will Hitchcock, of Morris Higham Management. Photo: Mason Allen


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LB Rogers is Project Manager at MusicRow magazine. She heads up specific, large-scale projects for the company and assists in day-to-day tasks. LB also manages the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart and contributes editorial for both the print and online platforms. She joined MusicRow full time in January of 2019, after interning and working part time for the company for a year. She is from Blairsville, Georgia and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Music Business degree in 2018.

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