Old Dominion – Meat & Candy (2016)

old dominion

Old Dominion
Meat & Candy
Sony Music

Converse Wearing Country That Will Rock Your World

Only a month ago I was complaining about the lack of Country music that I was receiving and lo and behold two weeks later I seemed to be inundated with Country albums of all persuasions.
When I opened the package that this disc came in I was immediately underwhelmed; as the colourful sleeve made me think the contents were going to be in the Taylor Swift mode, and it lay on my desk for a few days while more ‘grown up’ discs went into the player.
But; as my Mother always told me “Never judge an album by the cover” (or something like that); because Old Dominion are the latest in a long list of radio-friendly Nu-Country acts with a hat full of toe-tapping tunes; melodies straight out of Music Row and enough sing-along songs to keep even the hardiest reviewer happy.
Snapback which opens the album has all the hallmarks of a Hit Record; great fuzzy guitars; crisp drums, a catchy melody; an oh-oh-OH chorus plus, in singer Matthew Ramsey a voice just made to make ladies go weak at the knees. What’s not to like?
As a British Country Music fan I loved Wrong Turns as soon as I heard it – my kinda Country! A stereotypical Boy/Girl ‘driving in my car’ song full of the boy receiving ‘mixed messages;’ but that’s what I want from this type of Country Rocking tune – nothing too taxing and lots of imagery. Does he get the girl? I will leave that for you to find out.
Later; on Nowhere Fast things slow down for a romantic acoustic ballad. In lesser hands this could have been a Jon Bon Jovi pastiche but Ramsey keeps it within the white lines from start to finish and had Mrs. Magpie pressing ‘repeat’ three times one night.
Obviously Old Dominion won’t appeal to many of my friends who prefer their ‘Country Music’ in a more singer-songwriter format; but for me songs like Beer Can in a Truck Bed are what ‘real’ Country music is all about; and with lines like ‘She was lifting up her sundress/showing off her tatty’ ‘Girl you got your shades on looking like your famous/we could turn this little One Horse into Vegas’ he guys show they can write a song every bit as good as Toby Keith or Kenny Chesney!
Their way with a tune is what will separate them from the pack very quickly; but the Springsteenesque detail in songs like Song For Another Time and Half Empty shouldn’t go unnoticed either.
As a man of ‘a certain age’ I can remember those heady days when I begged the then Miss Magpie to Break Up With Him; and go out with me; and I’m 99.9% sure that the target demographic will lap this song up like wide eyed puppy dogs today.
The other song that stands out is Crazy Beautiful Sexy that sounds like Country Music on holiday in Acapulco; and if the radio stations can keep their hands off it until then; will surely be the Sound of the Summer.
With nothing lasting over three and a half minutes; and as I said earlier, melodies and choruses to die for coupled with a red hot band a singer with a voice all of his own; Old Dominion have the potential to leap frog all of the pretenders to the CMA Horizon throne in 2016.

Released UK January 22 2016
Released US September 2015

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