Old Dominion tastes country music success on its own terms

Old Dominion is out on its first major tour, opening for Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean.
David McClister/eb media
Old Dominion is out on its first major tour, opening for Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean.

Each member of Old Dominion has had the pleasure of watching a song he co-wrote or performed on climb the country charts — with another artist’s name on it.

The quintet — vocalist Matthew Ramsey, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, drummer Whit Sellers, bassist Geoff Sprung, and guitarist Brad Tursi — have, in various groupings together and with other writers, been responsible for such hits as Blake Shelton’s “Sangria,” Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do,” and the Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” among other songs.

But this summer, the Nashville-based group’s members are enjoying the new sensation of watching their own recording do the same, as “Break Up With Him” broke into the Top 20. Their current view of that milestone is from the road, where Old Dominion is warming up for the blockbuster duo of Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean at Gillette Stadium Friday and Saturday.


The group initially thought the call about opening for Chesney on his “Big Revival” tour was a joke: They never imagined he would take an unsigned band — which they were at the time — into stadiums.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

On the phone from a Pittsburgh tour stop, Ramsey calls the combination of having a hit and being on the biggest tour of the summer mind-blowing. “It’s almost like, How are they letting us do this?” he says with a laugh.

It probably helped that Ramsey and Tursi, two members of that unsigned band — which has since signed to RCA Nashville and is planning a fall release for its full-length debut to follow up an independently produced EP — are responsible for Chesney’s current hit “Save It for a Rainy Day.”

“To have them in their career where they were when we started this tour and to see where they are now and how much forward they’ve moved as a band in one summer is really fun to see,” says Chesney.

Though they’re veterans as songwriters and session musicians, the members of Old Dominion have already exceeded their own expectations as performing artists in their own right.


“When we all started as kids, this is what we wanted to do,” says Ramsey. “So right now we’re just living this dream. If somebody tells us tomorrow that we can’t do it, then we’ve already done what no one gets to do. So we just have this attitude of, of course this is going to end tomorrow, so let’s just ride it as hard as we can as far as we can.”

Sarah Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.