Old Dominion's Matthew Ramsey Talks Small Town Virginia, Family Recipes, and More on Biscuits & Jam
About Biscuits & Jam: In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.
Episode 11: June 22, 2021
About a decade ago, buzz in Nashville began to grow around Old Dominion, led by this week's guest, lead singer Matthew Ramsey. Made up of talented songwriters who all met in their native Virginia, the quintet grew an audience early on by playing hits from Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, and Dierks Bentley. But what audiences didn't know until later is that those covers were originally written by the members of Old Dominion themselves. Now in 2021—thanks to their own hits like "Some People Do" and "One Man Band"—Old Dominion has racked up multiple ACM Awards and two Grammy nominations. On today's show, Matthew shares the advice he got from a fellow songwriter that he continues to carry with him, even after playing stadiums for tens of thousands.
On Growing Up in Small Town Virginia
"Buchanan is very storybook. Looks like it's out of a movie, just a quaint little town, lots of churches down the main street. And it is right on the James River and right in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So it's beautiful, and everybody knows everybody. It was a great place to grow up. I think, as a teenager, I thought it was a little boring. I always wanted bigger and more but I'm so happy that's where I grew up and I'm very proud of it."
On the Cook in His Family
"My mom is a very good cook and my dad is too. But (Dad) has actually always been the breakfast cook. So he loves to cook big breakfasts every morning. Sausage gravy was a big one. I'm actually a vegetarian now, so I don't eat the sausage anymore but, I loved that so much.
On the Support of His Family
"My parents were just always very supportive of me. We were not an extremely musical family. My dad is a huge fan of all music. So he played a lot of music all the time. The radio is always on. There's always music in the house. And I had a couple of uncles that were musical, and that always fascinated me. They would encourage me for sure. I would sit down and mess on the piano and, my dad would say, you should pick up that guitar that your uncle gave you. And, I'd be like, oh, that's a good idea. So, then I'd pick it up and play it. So between that and painting and drawing, that's how I spent most of my time."
On His Christmas Song: "It's Christmas and We're Still Here"
"Honestly, no one was ever really meant to hear that. That was just something that I was feeling. It was just so hard, such a hard year, and some people can kind of take that as sort of a bummer of a sentiment, but it was really meant to be hopeful. It's hard, but we're getting through this. And that was really just what I was feeling at the moment and just sort of came out…I've found in songwriting, the more you kind of go inward and explore your own feelings, it can be scary. But the more you kind of put that out there, usually those are the ones that really resonate with people because you're speaking to a true emotion that people know other people have but maybe don't know how to express."
This interview has been condensed.
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