Old Dominion is opening up about one of the most challenging seasons they have had as a band, which they are just now beginning to emerge from. The five-man group, led by lead singer Matt Ramsey, went through all of the usual challenges bands faced during the pandemic, but for them, the hardship came perilously close to signaling the end of an era for one of country music’s leading acts.
“It took away the communication style that we’re used to,” Geoff Sprung tells Rolling Stone. “You can’t sit and have coffee and say, ‘What do you think?’”
“There were two-day-long text threads,” Ramsey adds. “It was like, ‘Is this fun anymore?’ And it wasn’t.”
The solution became part of the title of their latest Time, Tequila & Therapy album, which Ramsey insists was not a metaphor.
“Therapy is very literal,” Ramsey maintains. “Over the past three years, it’s been very important for me to keep my head straight.”
For Ramsey, it was writing “Some People Do” that at least helped unlock the emotions that he had been keeping inside since the beginning of Old Dominion.
“I woke up the next morning and I called a friend and I was like, ‘I need some guidance here,” Ramsey recalls. “‘There’s just too much going on, and I don’t feel like I’m necessarily the person that I know I can be. I need help with that.'”
“So he guided me towards a therapist and I just dumped 40 years on her in the first session. It’s really helping me communicate better with myself, my family, and with these guys,” he continues, referring to his fellow band members.
Even preparing to release Time, Tequila & Therapy was a challenge. Old Dominion decided to leave Nashville in favor of Asheville, North Carolina, hoping a change of scenery would breathe new life into them. Fortunately, it worked.
“The discussions leading up to Asheville were tense,” Ramsey recounts. “Because, you know, what … are we going to do? I remember Brad [Tursi] got all riled up one time over a Zoom, because we weren’t going to have any songs. We’re like, ‘Look, we just have to go there. Something will happen.’ And it was true. Whenever we get on this bus, we are laughing and having a great time with each other because we’re good friends. The same thing happened. We got there and immediately started playing music together and remembering this is fun.”
The therapy gave Ramsey, and the other Old Dominion band members, a welcome new lease on life and music.
“Talking to my therapist, she made me see that this is a life of service — rather than feeling like people were taking from me or wanting things for me,” Ramsey acknowledges. “I signed up for a life of service and now I’m getting to contribute.”