Songs from our favorite artists have the power to bring us back to a specific time and place, seeming to perfectly encapsulate experiences that have become integral parts of our lives. For Old Dominion super fans Brian and Nicole Barry – who have been married since 2010 and call Cherry Hill, New Jersey, home – it was easy to pinpoint the exact moment they got into the band.
“We were doing a renovation of the house and we were listening to country music. I was upstairs doing something. I heard this song ‘Break Up With Him’ and I almost skipped down the steps,” Brian Barry says. “I’m like, ‘My God, have you heard this song?”
The tune was first released in January 2015 as the second single on Old Dominion’s self-titled EP and then re-released in May 2015 as the lead single on their debut album, Meat and Candy. Best described as a “dump-the-current-guy-for-me song” (see page 65 for a field guide to Old Dominion’s No. 1 hits), “Break Up With Him” became hit No. 1 on Billboard’s US Country Airplay chart.
Brian adds, “We drew personal experience (laughs) from that song. It definitely touched a chord as to how our relationship started and I think that it really just hit home for us.”
Nicole chimes in, “We were both engaged to other people when we met. So, of course when you hear that song we’re like … (laughs).”
From that moment on, the couple was hooked on Old Dominion. The Barrys first saw Old Dominion take the stage later that year with two shows in two days – a July 10, 2015, performance hosted by Philadelphia’s 92.5 XTU at the Xfinity Live! Philadelphia, sports bar, marking the official “Big Revival Tour Pre-Concert Party,” and then July 11 at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field as one of the opening acts on Kenny Chesney’s “Big Revival Tour.”
Brian recalls that the Old Dominion’s stage set-up included “what looked like a bedsheet with the OD shield stamped on it. It was a great show and that was the first time we met them too!”
The Barrys have since seen Old Dominion a dozen times and counting, including headline gigs and multiple appearances on Chesney’s tours.
Brian initially wasn’t a big country fan before meeting Nicole, but explains that during college he started going to Jimmy Buffett concerts and it was an easy transition to get into country music, including some of Nicole’s favorites like Garth Brooks, thanks to the influence of Buffett’s wide-ranging sound.
The couple both point to the diversity of Old Dominion’s music as part of the band’s appeal, from upbeat songs on 2015’s Meat and Candy or the more thoughtful songs included on releases like 2017’s Happy Endings. Nicole adds that she loves how the band’s songs fit different moods, whether it’s dancing around the house or using songs as intro before talks with her students as part of her role as dean of student affairs at an all-girls high school.
“We’ve actually turned other friends on to Old Dominion. We have a friend group that we travel to Nashville with every year and they’ve all become Old Dominion fans over that time. And most of them were not even country music fans,” Brian says. “It’s a gateway into country music.”
Over the years the couple has driven all over the region to see Old Dominion perform, including New York, Baltimore and Atlantic City, with Brian noting that OD is “probably one of the few shows that we’ll go out of our way to go see.” They look forward to soon bringing along their daughter, Madison, age 6, a fellow Old Dominion fan.
Reflecting on their favorite OD performances they’ve seen, Brian says that he’s loved the electric energy of the smaller venue gigs, as well as catching the band on one of Chesney’s tours and the idea of being surrounded by folks who may be getting the chance to experience an Old Dominion show for the first time.
Nicole adds, “I just think the band’s personality is just too big for a small venue.
I think they require a bigger space.”
The members of Old Dominion will have plenty of chances to keep showing off the band’s big personality on the “No Bad Vibes Tour,” with arena dates booked from early September to January. The Barrys will catch the band next on Nov. 30 at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania.