Old Dominion Reflects on Career-Changing 2018

Old Dominion had a 2018 they will likely never forget. The five-man band earned both an ACM Award and a CMA Award, for Vocal Group of the Year, had two No. 1 hits, with "Written in the Sand" and "Hotel Key," headlined their own Happy Endings Tour, and opened for Kenny Chesney, on his Trip Around the Sun Tour.

Lead singer Matthew Ramsey admits he is still coming to terms with everything that happened this year.

"It felt like the year that we sort of come into our own a little," Ramsey told Billboard. "We're no longer the new guys and don't have to prove ourselves that much anymore. People are waiting to hear what we do next ... It's really undeniable at this point."

Old Dominion certainly had success before, but it wasn't until 2018 that the group was able to see their years and years of hard work start to pay off.

"We spent so long working on this," Ramsey acknowledged. "Getting told no and turned down, we had built up this self-defense-type of attitude. Things started happening, and we started being like, 'Yeah, that's cool. It's cool for now, but it's never going to last.' Now we can't really deny this anymore. We're winning big awards. We have a bunch of hit songs. Our crowds are amazing."

The Virginia native might be fronting one of the biggest bands in country music right now, but he still has a hard time believing that fact.

"I'll walk around backstage at arenas sometimes and forget that it's for our show," Ramsey conceded. "I just realize that that many fans are coming to see us play. Three years ago, we were playing little 1000-seat clubs.

"There are little kids that know all of the words," he continued. "There are older people that are in their 60s or 70s that are coming to the shows and everything in between. To me, that's a very proud thing. It's music that people want to share with their families. That's important to me."

The CMA Award win for Vocal Group of the Year was especially meaningful for the quintet, especially since it marked their first win, in any category, at the CMA Awards.

"It's a tough category," Ramsey acknowledged. "We felt pretty good. I personally felt pretty good, right up until the moment that they opened the envelope, and I thought, 'Eh, we don't have it,' and then they said our names, so it felt really, really good. It's been really, a hell of a year for us, and so it's very gratifying and validating that we get to finally get one of these."


Old Dominion will kick off their Make It Sweet Tour on Jan. 18 in Illinois. Find dates by visiting the band's website.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Terry Wyatt