Old Dominion has been nominated a total of five times for a CMA Award, counting this year, including three for Vocal Group of the Year. Although they have yet to win any of the CMA trophies, with Little Big Town sweeping the last three years, lead singer Matthew Ramsey says this year's nod is just as important as the other ones, and maybe more.
"It’s a real big deal, and it’s been a big year for us so we’re excited," Ramsey told Rolling Stone Country. "We’ve never won a CMA, so the further we get down the road, the more it seems to become more important."
Old Dominion, which also includes band members Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi, has a real chance of winning this year, thanks in part to their 2017 No. 1 album, Happy Endings, with all three singles landing at the top of the charts. Their recent success makes it a possibility that Little Big Town will lose the title to Old Dominion.
"Maybe 'important' is the wrong word," Ramsey said. "It’s like it becomes more real. Once we won the [first] ACM award [in 2016, for New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year] — it was this moment that forced us to own our place a little bit more, if that makes sense. Now there’s more weight to these nominations, like 'This is a real, possible thing,' whereas before it was like 'Oh, that’s awesome we got nominated … there’s no chance in hell we’ll ever win.'"
Old Dominion has previously had the chance to perform parts of their songs from the awards stage, but this year marks the first time the quintet will be able to perform an entire song.
"We’re actually gonna be touring in Europe and won’t be back until right before the CMAs," Ramsey revealed. "I think we land and then the next day we go into rehearsal, and then we do the show the following night. It’s pretty fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants – you just get thrown on the stage and have to do your thing. You don’t even really get a soundcheck, so it’s difficult to do."
Old Dominion will kick off their Make It Sweet Tour on Jan. 18, hitting large arenas as the headliner for the first time. It's a daunting and invigorating challenge for the group, who hope to eventually hit stadiums as well.
"Arenas, that’s big boy stuff," Ramsey said. "It’s hard to wrap your head around. But we’ve been touring with Kenny [Chesney] so much that it’s kept us out of the major markets on our own tours. This will be the first real chance in a couple of years to step back into places like Chicago, which is where we’re kicking the thing off.
"We have a huge fan base in Chicago, but we haven’t been able to play our own show there in like three years because of touring with Kenny," he continued. "So it’s gonna be really special to come back after all this growth and success."
The 2018 CMA Awards will air live on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Johnny Louis