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Old Dominion, New Sounds

Photo Provided by Donovan Public Relations

Old Dominion takes on their Happy Endings World Tour with a country meets rock ‘n’ roll spirit.

Matthew Ramsey, Brad Tursi, Trevor Rosen, Geoff Sprung and Whit Sellers make up the hit modern country group Old Dominion. Currently living in Nashville, these men have Southern charm and the smooth vocals to match. Providing listeners with clever lyrics and witty music videos, Old Dominion undoubtedly knows how to entertain and have a good time. While on break between studio sessions, we spoke to lead singer Matt Ramsey in preparation for their Happy Endings World Tour stop here in Fargo on December 14 at Scheels Arena.

We are excited to have you in Fargo! Have you ever been to Fargo before?

Yes, we’ve played shows there in the past. I remember that it’s cold- haha

I heard that some of you started in music by playing in high-school drumlines in Virginia. What’s it been like going from that atmosphere to playing arenas?

We are still just kids goofing off, but on a much bigger stage. We’ve always had this goal and this dream, we are so grateful to have it. We really try and soak up every moment.

You all seem to have a heavy hand with the writing and production of your albums. What inspires you in your songwriting?

Just trying to be open to ideas for songs. We look for anything different that sparks our mind a little bit. Any turn of a phrase or anything that we find interesting, we bring up. We try and keep our listeners engaged and try to tell the same old stories in a different way. That’s really what songwriting is about, talking about the same thing over and over again but just in new ways that help people relate. The songwriting process inspires us the most.

With everyone in the band being their own talents, what’s the collaborative process like?

It’s great, that’s why we have the success that we do – it’s because we work so well together. Most of the time, we are on the same page and we are after the best song we can get and the best performance we can give. We have some spirited debates sometimes, but it’s always for the better of the band. We have a really great situation.

Do you have any musical mentors who have helped you along the way?

I think with the writing, just being in Nashville and immersing ourselves in the songwriting community there. You meet a lot of people. You meet people at the top and you meet people at the bottom and you sort of gravitate towards the people you work well with and hopefully, you can work together and rise to the top. All of the songwriters in Nashville are so supportive, even the ones at the very top are supportive of the ones at the very bottom because they were there too once. It’s a big town full of support and mentors.

I know Nashville has quite the tight-knit community of talented musicians. What’s it like being able to get out and perform and travel throughout the country?

It’s definitely different–going out into the world and playing your music, but you really get a good sense in what you believe. Like you said, Nashville is so tight-knit and it’s like you’re in a bubble. But you go out to different parts of the country and you get a sense of where music is and where your music is within that. It’s really helpful and it’s a great experience as a songwriter to get out and see how people are connecting to the songs you’re putting out.

What song is the most fun to perform? What song has a particularly special meaning to you?

I really love performing “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” it just has a really great message and also is a dance song. It’s fun to dance to and it feels good to hear a crowd of people singing those words. It’s also fun to play our very first song we ever had a hit on, “Break Up With Him.” It’s a fun song for us all because it’s so light and funny and it’s how people were introduced to us.

Is there a moment that you guys thought you’d made it, or has it all been a bit of a roller coaster and that moment has not come yet?

Yea it’s been a roller coaster, sure. But I think when we won the ACM [Academy of Country Music] award for Group of the Year this year it really forced us to be like, “oh okay, we are up here now. We are in the big leagues now.” That was the moment for me that was really defining.

I guess a big award like that would make you realize that people really do know who you are. But here in Fargo we have lots of inspiring musicians. Obviously, everyone has to start somewhere, so what would you say to those artists trying to gain steam in this area?

I would say to keep going. It’s such a simple statement, but it’s a hard thing to do. You just can’t stop. You have to keep writing and writing and playing wherever you possibly can. You have to keep pushing for the next thing, that’s all you can do. When you feel like you’re at the end, you have to figure out what the next things is. It’s definitely the long road, but you have to just not stop.

I know you won’t be stopping soon then! So what’s next for you?

We’ve been in the studio all week and we will be later this week too. I’m really excited about the new music we are recording. We are always coming up with stuff, so I’m excited to get it out there.

Purchase tickets for their show at Scheels Arena on December 14 at 7:30 p.m.

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Written by Alexandra Martin

Alexandra Martin is the editor of Fargo Monthly. She hails from Huntsville, Alabama, but graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with a degree in Fashion Communications. When she's not in the office, she is busy taking care of her small zoo of pets, cooking up vegetables, or listening to true-crime podcasts.

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