Old Dominion Stepped Out of Their Comfort Zone To Create ‘Time, Tequila & Therapy’ — And It Paid Off
“It really allowed us to make an album in a different way than we ever have before,” they share.
Old Dominion; Photo by Mason Allen
When the world came to a sudden halt in early 2020, the Grammy-nominated ensemble Old Dominion spent quite a bit of time apart. Although they took a break from writing, their creative wheels remained turning. Therefore, when the music industry gave – Matthew Ramsey [lead vocals], Trevor Rose [ Guitar], Whit Sellers [drums], Geoff Sprung [bass guitar], and Brad Tursi [guitar] the green light to join forces once again, they jumped on the opportunity to come back stronger than ever.
The men packed their bags and went straight to Asheville, North Carolina, to hunker down to pen their fourth full-length album – Time, Tequila & Therapy. “We went out to Asheville, North Carolina with no songs, and every day, we would wake up and write a song and go upstairs to bring it to life in the studio,” says Old Dominion’s frontman Matthew Ramsey.
“I think it was probably six months or so before we had really gotten together. So, once we did that, it was like all the pent-up creativity all sort of came out in one big ball. I think that was part of what made this session and Asheville such a success is that we were so ready to be creative,” he adds.
Within just a few weeks, the hitmakers produced a 13-track collection that embodies who they are as individual artists, but most importantly, their identity as a group. Rosen believes the self-assurance instilled in each band member turned the record into a potential career-altering project. “I think there’s a confidence in this album that we had to have in order to make a record like this. We had to go into it with a certain confidence in ourselves – so, we can start with a blank page and come out with something we are proud of,” says the musician to Country Now reporter Tiffany Goldstein. “I think as time has gone by, everyone in this band has sort of found their role, knows what that role is, and is confident in it.”
After bouncing ideas off of one another in the small town, Asheville, and taking a step back to recognize the magic, they made – the chart-topping group admits that they found the silver lining in 2020 and that Time, Tequila & Therapy would not exist if the world did not force them to slow down.
“This album would not have happened. It really allowed us to make an album in a different way than we ever have before. It’s usually such a hectic time where we just cram in studio sessions between touring breaks; This was one giant touring break…so, we were able to really dive in and explore things that we had never had the opportunity to do before,” Ramsey and Rosen shared.
For example, the track “Hawaii” was inspired by a simple tourist-like coffee mug that was placed on a table in their Asheville home. That night, a crew member whipped up Hawaii-themed cuisine – which made Ramsey go ‘Let’s go back to Hawaii.’ The idea of paradise sparked the conversation, and one thing led to another, and their Jimmy Buffett-inspired smash hit was born.
“These songs wouldn’t have happened had we not been in Asheville,” revealed Rosen. “There’s sort of a Nashville mindset that is so ingrained in us that it takes work to break sometimes. So, to be able to explore a song like that sonically, structurally, and even lyrically,” says Old Dominion. The escape from the honky-tonk town nudged the group to explore a new style of songwriting. In fact, the men got silly with their wordplay on purpose and without any hesitation on whether or not it would be radio-worthy.
Their risk to write from their heart and not for anyone else has already paid off, as “I Was On a Boat That Day” off of their Time, Tequila & Therapy record has become the band’s biggest radio hit to date. Right out of the gate, 132 stations included the anthem to rotation. The song of the summer racked in over 77 million streams, and the seaside music video garnered 3.6 million YouTube views.
The band walks to the beat of their own drum, as their music speaks volumes about their innovative decision-making. Music-goers will receive a taste of soul with their track “Lonely Side of Town,” as they called in icon, Gladys Knight. “We were sitting there in the control room, listening to “Lonely Side of Town” and thought, ‘Man, this is a cool Motown vibe.’ It would be cool to have somebody like Gladys Knight,” explained Ramsey. Following a quick phone call, Old Dominion was working alongside the “Empress of Soul” and testing the boundaries of country.
Their growth as a band has not gone unnoticed, as the men have recently received a CMA nomination for Vocal Group of The Year. As they ride the high of their latest record and great honor, the men will be out on the road sharing their new music and connecting with fans. Tickets are now available for their We Are Old Dominion Tour.