By Aila Boyd
aboyd@ourvalley.org

For a second year in a row, Old Dominion received the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Group of the Year Award.

The 54th Academy of Country Music awards show was hosted by 16-time ACM winner Reba McEntire and took place in Las Vegas, Nevada last month.

Matthew Ramsey and Whit Sellers, Botetourt County natives, along with the three other members of the band were surprised before the awards show on the red carpet by Songwriter of the Year winner Shane McAnally who informed the band that they had won the 2019 Group of the Year Award.

It’s a big deal. It’s good to be recognized for all the hard work that we’ve put in for more than a decade,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said that the decision not to televise the Group of the Year Award was a “bit of a bummer” because it prevented the band from thanking everyone who helped the band get to that point.

Although he would have preferred to have received the award on stage, Ramsey said that there was one upside to being notified of the band’s win in a more relaxed environment.

It is a bit of a nerve-racking moment when they’re listing off the nominees and there’s the possibility that you might have to go up on stage and speak,” he said. “It does kind of take that pressure off, which is nice.”

Once the band took to the stage to perform its single “Make It Sweet,” Ramsey said that the band was in its element. “That’s the most fun part of it all. That’s what we love doing— performing,” he said. However, he admitted that looking down into the front row and seeing the likes of Keith Urban and Luke Bryan was slightly surreal.

Ramsey said that he feels that band is in a “great spot.” He noted that both the live show and audience has grown over the last year. The band is currently on its “Make It Sweet” tour.

He described a show that the band recently played for an audience of 10,000 people in Chicago as a “huge moment.”

Just a couple of years ago we were playing for $500 for 50 people,” he said.

The band recently finished its third album, “Make It Sweet,” which will be released later this year.

It’s definitely an album that we’re the proudest of. We all feel very confident and just very excited about sharing the songs that are on there,” Ramsey said.

The album, which is a mixture of new and previously written songs, took more than a year to record. The band’s second album, “Happy Endings,” was tracked in just four days.

We definitely took a lot more time on this one,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said that he’s looking forward to this year’s Nashville Night, which is held annually in the fall in Buchanan. The event benefits local charitable causes

It’s a great way for me to come back and showcase what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years here in Nashville,” he said.

He added that although he visits Buchanan several times a year, he’d like to come back more often. The complicating factor is his hectic tour schedule.

The band also received the New Vocal Due or Group of the Year Award in 2016.

We’re grateful for where we are,” Ramsey said. “Our success has come from a lot of work and from a lot of support from a lot of people here in Nashville and definitely from my hometown.”

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