Ramblin ‘Rhodes: Loyal fans eager to fuss over Old Dominion

Old Dominion performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Bell Auditorium. DAVID MCCLISTER/SPECIAL

The five-member country group Old Dominion has fierce fans quickly defending their music and packing their concerts, as is sure to happen when the group performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Bell Auditorium.


The fan loyalty is evident online, like when someone posted on the site of the official video of (I’ll Be On You Like) Dirt On A Road: “How … do you call yourselves country? Please stop all future recording and burn the tracks you’ve already put down.”

One fan posted right back, “If you don’t like the song, don’t listen to it. Simple as that. There’s no need in hating on it. These people put their whole life, blood, sweat and tears into making music for people, and you’re gonna talk down about them? That’s messed up.”

It’s a pretty good bet the band members fairly ignore their critics since their fans far outnumber them.

The band’s video of Song For Another Time has nearly 10 million views, and the video of their latest single No Such Thing Like A Broken Heart is already up to nearly 5 million hits.

Matthew Ramsey (lead vocals), Trevor Rosen (guitar, keyboards), Whit Sellers (drums), Geoff Sprung (bass guitar) and Brad Tursi (guitar) seem to be basking in their success since being signed in February 2015 to RCA Nashville.

They have opened for superstar Kenny Chesney on his Big Revival tour, produced two albums Meat and Candy and also Happy Endings and won the 2016 Academy of Country Music’s New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year award.

Fans have come to expect the band’s videos to be imaginative in both unique concepts and colorful images which come in part from Ramsey, who turns 40 on Oct. 21, having a degree in illustration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ramsey hails from Buchanan, Va., near Roanoke, and learned to play the drums before turning to guitar at age 14.

Other members of Old Dominion have ties to Virginia, which explains the group’s name.

Collectively the band members have been responsible for writing or co-writing many hit singles and popular album cuts including Dierks Bentley’s Say You Do, The Band Perry’s Better Dig Two and Chainsaw, Chris Young’s Neon, Kenny Chesney’s Save It For A Rainy Day and Blake Shelton’s Sangria.

Their Song For Another Time has several references to other hit songs including Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, John Mellencamp’s Pink Houses and Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.

Ramsey told Casey Gillis of The News &Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, Va., “You always hear people say that’s a story for another time. And I just thought, ‘What if it was a song for another time?’ ”


HAPPY 50TH TO JEANNIE SEELY: One of the Grand Ole Opry’s sweetest, smartest and most talented members, Jeannie Seely celebrated being part of the cast for 50 years on Sept. 16.

She is said to be only the sixth woman in the Opry’s 92-year history to reach that milestone with the others being Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Wilma Lee Cooper, Loretta Lynn and Connie Smith.

Seely, whose single Don’t Touch Me (If You Don’t Love Me) won a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female in 1966, became the first Pennsylvania native to join the Opry, the first female to regularly host segments of the WSM radio broadcast show and the first on the cast to wear a mini-skirt on the hallowed Opry House stage.

Earlier this year she released her new album, Written in Song, which contains 14 songs she co-wrote and guest artists Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Jessi Colter, Jan Howard and also Kenny and Tess Sears.


WHEN MINNIE PEARL BEAT BOBBY RIGGS:Speaking of Minnie, few fans seem to remember that the Opry humorist actually beat tennis champion Bobby Riggs in 1975 in a charity tournament in Memphis, Tenn.

Riggs apparently had no idea that Minnie (actually Sarah Colley Cannon) at the time played tennis on her own courts at her Nashville mansion almost weekly including against the governor of Tennessee who was her next door neighbor.

She told this columnist that she had got Riggs to agree to put a chair in one section of the court as a handicap, and all she had to do then was hit her ball in the chair’s vicinity where he couldn’t get it.

The story of the world famous match between Riggs and female champion Billy Jean King is now being re-told in the movie Battle of the Sexes co-starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone as the tennis champs.

upcoming music

A Tribute To The King: Elvis Presley music featuring Travis LeDoyt, 7:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 5, Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.; $36, (706) 726-0366, augusta amusements.com

An Evening With Riders in the Sky: 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, Newberry, S.C., Opera House, $45, $40, $35

Guy Penrod: Southern Gospel star of Gaither Homecoming TV series, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, Newberry, S.C., Opera House, $45, $40, $35

Under The Boardwalk: Beach music, Motown and Golden Oldie hits featuring Jeff Barnes and Mike Johnson, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, Discovery Center, 405 Main St., Edgefield, $15, (803) 637-2233

Becky Buller Band: with special guests Kenny and Amanda Smith, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, Imperial Theatre; Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul &Song series; (706) 722-8341 or imperialtheatre.com

in concert

WHO: Old Dominion

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5

WHERE: Bell Auditorium

COST: $27.50, $32.50, $39.50; from georgialinatix.com, (877) 428-4849 and at the James Brown Arena Box Office