Many Botetourt County folks had a special interest in last Wednesday, Nov. 14’s Country Music Association (CMA) awards program that aired on ABC— and they weren’t disappointed.

Old Dominion, the country music band with two Botetourt natives, won its first CMA award as Vocal Group of the Year— a pretty heady happening since the band ended Little Big Town’s streak of six consecutive years winning the award.

Old Dominion’s lead vocalist and Buchanan native Matt Ramsey did most of the talking when the band took the stage at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. during the live broadcast. One thing he was quick to tell the audience was that all of the band members’ parents were there. That included his own parents, Peggy and Tom Ramsey, and drummer and Botetourt band mate Witt Sellers’ parents, Beth and Harry Sellers.

Not only did Old Dominion pick up its first CMA award, the group also performed its single “Hotel Key” during the broadcast. The song reached No. 1 on the Country Air Play chart.

“The big win will propel the country group going into 2019, as they already had claimed the title of the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Group of the Year award,” one country music website reported. “Old Dominion is set to head out on the road for the first leg of their 2019 Make It Sweet arena tour on January 18 in Chicago alongside openers such as Jordan Davis, Morgan Evans and Mitchell Tenpenny at select dates. The initial leg will eventually wrap on April 27 at San Jose Events Center in San Jose, Calif.”

Old Dominion was nominated for the Vocal Group of the Year along with Lady Antebellum, Midland, Little Big Town and Lanco.

“This is beautiful,” Ramsey said. “There is so much that it takes to get here. We will try to live up to this honor.”

Old Dominion chatted with Billboard’s Taylor Weatherby backstage at the 2018 CMA Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 14) as they celebrated winning vocal group of the year.

“We’re very proud, very proud,” Matt Ramsey told Billboard in an interview after their win. “We’ve put a lot of hard work into what we do. We love what we do but it’s really very validating to get recognized for it.

“It’s encouraging that we can continue to do stuff,” Ramsey replied. “It’s not like a little ‘here’s your award, go home now.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, we can keep winning things and just keep on doing what we’re doing.’”

When asked about breaking Little Big Town’s winning streak, Ramsey had nothing but kind words to say about their collaborates and competitors, Billboard reported. “They’re the first people to congratulate us and they’re so supportive of what we do. They even sang on our album.”

— Ed McCoy