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Old Dominion

Old Dominion – 2019 (RCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Old Dominion

Old Dominion has gained a following on the heels of two albums of lively material. Their self-titled third release stays the course and delivers a dozen radio-friendly songs. The hyper positive lead single "Make it Sweet" sets the stage with an ode to the brighter side of everything. Most tracks are upbeat but, ironically, there is not an official party anthem or even a drinking song. The closest they get is "American Style," which is laden with standard innocent imagery from ferris wheels and firecrackers to leather jackets and baseball gloves.

With songs like "Shoe Shopping," and "Hotel Key" in their catalog, the band is also known for blending humor into its lyrics. We get that at the midpoint with the hokey "Midnight Mess Around." The riff may initially lead you to think it's a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Beast Of Burden and a potential rocker, but it's just a fun three minutes.

Amid all the levity, the few poignant ballads are the standouts. On "My Heart is a Bar," the narrator comes to realize that he is often taken advantage of in relationships, comparing his heart to a lonely bar where dwellers go to find a sounding board to drink their woes away. The achy closer "Some People Do" will ring true to the brokenhearted. A man's greatest hope is that his lady is possibly the one in a million that is able to forgive his multiple transgressions. Frontman Matthew Ramsey acknowledged it isn't the type of song the band usually puts out, but he felt it was his duty to release it as a songwriter. Sonically, it is fittingly sparse and only features piano and cello.