The combined musical talents of Old Dominion is remarkable. The five-piece band is made up of songwriters who have penned hits for Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, Tyler Farr and Sam Hunt, among others. Their 11-track major label debut Meat and Candy (out Nov. 6) was completely co-written by members of the band and effortlessly shows the quintet’s depth with introspective, meatier tracks and their fun side with radio friendly, ear candy.
“When we were kids sitting in our rooms with our guitars and Rolling Stone magazines, this is THE moment we were imagining for ourselves,” the band says in a press release. “As musicians and songwriters, we are very proud of every song on the album. We are looking to turn some heads and make some big noise here. We’re stepping out there on stage with the big boys and girls and our hope is that this album will prove we deserve to be there.”
Old Dominion more than prove they deserve their spot in the country genre with Meat and Candy. “Snapback” introduces the album with ear-grabbing guitar riffs and frontman Matthew Ramsey’s smooth, seductive vocals. Plenty of woah-oh-oh’s that beg to be sung along in an arena setting, the song sets up the laidback and fun side of the band well.
Where “Snapback” is one of the many ear candy tracks on the LP, next song “Half Empty” slows things down with a unique twist. A ballad that has Ramsey trying to figure out if a girl wants to stay with him at the bar as he debates if her glass is half full or half empty, it’s a distinct take on the phrase. As “Wrong Turns” continues the arena ready anthems, “Said Nobody” switches gears with a slowed reggae beat and clever tongue-in-cheek lyrics once again showcasing the band’s versatility.
Throughout much of the album, Old Dominion display their blend of country and hip-hop with their storytelling ability and rapid fire lyrics. Album highlights include the nostalgic “Nowhere Fast,” their breakthrough single “Break Up with Him” and the song title heavy “Song for Another Time.” (Seriously, try to count all the song’s this track name drops). However, it is on last track, “We Got It Right” that best showcases the band’s staying power. The ethereal, nostalgic ballad is a heartfelt song about letting someone go but never forgetting her, especially when he hears their song. “Even though it ended, we got it right,” Ramsey sings. The perfect sendoff to someone who made a mark on their life, co-writers Ramsey, Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman can teach us all a thing or two about moving on.
Overall, Meat and Candy demonstrates Old Dominion’s crafty lyricism and standout musicianship. With two tour invites from stadium master Kenny Chesney, the band is poised to leave their mark on country audiences.