It can take a plethora of albums for an artist to finally come into their own and obtain a certain identity. On the third go around for country music group Old Dominion, appropriately titled “Old Dominion”, the band has crafted a collection of songs that feel undeniably like themselves. Armed with catchy melodies, ear worm lyrics, and a mostly easygoing outlook on what life has to offer, this eponymous record allows life to be sweeter.
Kicking off the album is lead-off single ‘Make It Sweet”. This is a feel good song vying for the listener to live their life to the fullest as the hook suggests; “life is short, make it sweet”. Accompanying these lyrics is a melody that grabs a hold of the listener; a very simplistic yet sugary acoustic guitar riff that will be stuck in your brain for awhile.
The third track is the current single, “One Man Band”. It’s a very romantic song with a subtle guitar lick and back beat. In fact, lead vocalist Matthew Ramesy’s vocals seem to be more pronounced in the mix. This song uses a metaphor of not being a one-man-band and riding with someone else because “I’ll lay down the beat, you’ll carry the tune, I don’t wanna be a one man band”. Another romantic song comes in the form of “Midnight Mess Around”, which carries a Ronnie Milsap vibe. It’s simple, but the lyrics, imagery and production are what make the song special.
Another song that is slow to grow on is “Hear You Now”. A soft rock tinge which is weird at first listen but, with repeated listens, the lyrics are beautifully paired to it. “Someday you’ll be sorry, someday when I leave, find out that you don’t want to be free, but I can hear you now, now that you ain’t talking to me”. I consider it to be quite romantic even though the subject matter appears to be quite the opposite. Almost like a love letter to an ex.
I would be remiss not to remark on album closer “Some People Do”. Co-written by members of the band with Thomas Rhett, this song will stop a listener in their tracks. Simple vocals and piano create poetry at its finest. The record shows Old Dominion being quite vulnerable in terms of writing, and this song is the epitome of that. Reflective, personal, heartbreaking and honest, the human experience has been perfectly captured within this record. “I know your hurt, I know it’s my fault, but I’ve kept I’m sorry locked in a vault, I know that time just keeps going on, and words by themselves can’t right all the wrongs,” Ramsey sings in the first verse. This is a song that when one hears, they will most likely play a few times in a row because of how beautifully the message is expressed.
In terms of songwriting, this record is without a doubt, some of the best the group has written. From wordplay to honesty, and everything in between, they’ve completely captured who they are as people and artists in general. Perhaps that’s why they self-titled this release. In the realm of country music, one can generally tell when a song is a co-write from a member of Old Dominion as there is a certain vibe to it. What Old Dominion has done in terms of writing captures what makes their style unique. This work crafted an album where the songs would not be the same in other artists’ hands. Unfortunately Rhett’s take on “Some People Do” probably wouldn’t have been as memorable and honest as it does from Ramsey and company.
Overall, if you’re looking for some music to relax and be completely in love with, then go pick up a copy, stream, or download this album. There is not a bad song at all on this record and everyone can find something to love about the record. Trust me, Old Dominion will take your life for forty-two minutes and “Make It Sweet”.
Potential Singles: “Midnight Mess Around”, “Some People Do”, “Paint the Grass Green”
- “Make It Sweet”
- “Smooth Sailing”
- “One Man Band”
- “Never Be Sorry”
- “My Heart is a Bar”
- “Midnight Mess Around”
- “Do it With Me”
- “Hear You Now”
- “I’ll Roll”
- “American Style”
- “Paint The Grass Green”
- “Some People Do”
Colin gives this album 10 out of 10 Saints.