Before they were winning awards and selling out arenas, the members of Old Dominion were writing No. 1s for some of the biggest acts in country music. With a strong sense of rhythm, a big dose of ear-wormy hooks, Matthew Ramsey, Brad Tursi and Trevor Rosen penned No. 1 hits for – and with – Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, The Band Perry, Kenny Chesney and more. Breaking it down, here’s a field guide to Other People’s Dominion.
Save It For A Rainy Day
It might’ve been the fourth single from Chesney’s Big Revival, but the feel-good midtempo Ramsey/Tursi/Andrew Dorff co-write spent three weeks at No. 1 and has become a staple of those massive stadium shows. Shrugging off what would bring you down, it embraces the day’s beauty instead of wallowing in what’s wrong.
Better Dig Two
The Band Perry
With its stomping backbeat, minor key foreboding and accentuated banjo part, The Band Perry took this Rosen/Shane McAnally/Brandy Clark song up the charts. Between Kimberly’s straight-forward pledge that makes “’til death do us part” a threat and the forward-leaning track “Dig” kicks hard – and stays with you.
A pumping, thumping anthem for the dreamers, drifters and gypsies, Urban wrote the Top 5 hit with Tursi, Eric Paslay and Jennifer Wayne. More than a cautionary tale, it’s an empowerment anthem buoyed by a soaring guitar part – and a vocal that sweeps toward making it happen.
Come Back To Me
Brandy Clark / Keith Urban
The brooding if-you-love-someone-set-them-free classic is staggeringly different in these two versions of the Rosen/Clark/McAnally song, one recorded by Clark and the other Urban. Drum loops forward, moody atmospherics for Urban, more acoustic and wide open for Clark, both offer a soft place to land and a sense of solidity for the beloved. “Hey, I wanna hold you, but I don’t wanna hold you back.”
Light It Up
A sultry track descends on the Luke Bryan/Tursi co-write that examines male insecurity from a place of near obsession. Not quite a plea for “her” to check in, the self-examination and confession offers a more vulnerable side to the Bro Country realm.
Guy Walks Into A Bar
Tursi teamed with Jonathan Singleton and Melissa Pierce for this twist on the oldest joke in the book. Wide open country with a fierce acoustic downstroke, Farr’s raspy power-tenor tracks the rise and fall of love across what opens into an arena rock recording.
Shelton was named PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2017, and this 2015 No. 1 – Shelton’s 15th consecutive – certainly fanned the flames. The song, penned by Rosen, J.T. Harding and Josh Osborne, features a staccato rhythm and vivid lyrics with a slowed down chorus that teases what’s to come and turns up the humidity to pretty steamy levels.
Make You Miss Me
The fourth #1 from Hunt’s Montevallo, the mournful “whooo-oooooh-OH-ohhhh” that punctuated the chorus and the rush of details gave gravitas to this string swirling lament from Hunt, Ramsey and Osborne that lingers. Smooth, silky, languishing, it’s not quite Barry White, but …
Say You Do
Evoking a classic John Denver or Glen Campbell track, Bentley offers whatever it might take
to get a gone girl back – if even for the night. Ramsey, Rosen and McAnally are good at getting men to show their tender side, and Bentley more than delivers on injecting desire into this.
I Hate Love Songs
The over-it-all veneer is the misdirection that gives “I Hate Love Songs” its twisted appeal. With the strolling amble beat, the doo-wop ’50s vibe and the conversational vocals, the Rosen/McAnally/Ballerini song offers a retro-pop pledge of love as innocent as it is clever.
One That Got Away
Ray has straddled the pop/country line since arriving in Nashville from Florida. Ramsey and Rosen teamed with Osborne and Jesse Frasure for a perky midtempo that merges the two sensibilities to perfection. With the piano rising, thick slabs of “yeah-ahhh” harmonies and Ray’s willingness to chase the night – and girl – whether he strikes out or not, this is pure fun.