Old Dominion – Tickets – The Anthem – Washington, DC – February 9th, 2019
Make It Sweet Tour
Jordan Davis, Morgan Evans
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pmThe Anthem
$45.00 - $399.00
This event is all ages
Super Excellent Seats are non-transferable. The ID of the person attending must match the purchaser’s name, which will be printed on the ticket face.
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Old Dominion released their first full-length album Meat and Candy, which was certified GOLD by the RIAA and hailed a “stellar debut “by Entertainment Weekly and declared “one of the hottest breaking bands in county music” by Vice. The group already has several top selling singles under their belts, including the two-week No.1 “Break Up With Him” (PLATINUM), “Snapback” (GOLD) and “Song For Another Time,” which hit No. 1 the on Billboard Country Airplay and MediaBase charts. In 2016, the band was notably named ACM New Group of the Year, ACCA Breakthrough Group of the Year, AIMP Songwriter Artist of the Year and Music Row Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Old Dominion consists of lead singer Matthew Ramsey, lead guitarist Brad Tursi, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, bassist Geoff Sprung and drummer Whit Sellers.
Kris Kristofferson would likely brand Jordan a walking contradiction – repurposing a phrase he once applied to Johnny Cash – and Davis would heartily agree.
“The thing that is weird to me is the pure songwriting fan that I am compared to what I love production-wise,” Davis notes. “I love these huge, big sounds – big drums, loud guitars – but my favorite show to go to is John Prine or Jason Isbell, you know just standing up there with a guitar. They’re seriously opposite ends of the spectrum, but I think that marrying the two, there’s a cool way to do it.”
Working steadily on his debut album for Universal Music Group Nashville, Davis is welding those two ideals nicely. The jangly, skittering “Singles You Up,” the picturesque come-on “So Do I” and the propulsive “Take It From Me” each mix those elements in varying degrees, some leaning heavier on the production, others focused more on the lyrics, but all of them held together by Davis’ unique, laidback phrasing. His easy-going nature and focused interpretation of the world around him is easy to identify in those songs, the same way that Jim Croce’s personality came through in some of the music that influenced him.
“Those songs take on so much more life if you find out how introverted he was,” says Davis. “He really just wrote songs because they let him say what he wanted to say. You hear a song like ‘I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song’ – that probably was him not knowing how to say it, but he knew he wouldn’t screw it up if he sang it. Those songs are awesome.”
Davis’ appreciation for competing musical ideas harkens back to his upbringing in Shreveport. The Louisiana city is overshadowed nationally by New Orleans, whose jazz and funk culture are the stuff of legend. Just a couple hundred miles to the east of Shreveport is Mississippi, the hotbed of gut-bucket blues, while just over the border to Shreveport’s west is East Texas and its deep association with hard country and honky-tonk.
Writing and playing music was a passion that was passed down in the Davis household. His uncle, Stan Paul Davis, wrote two Top 5 titles for Tracy Lawrence in the 1990s – “Today’s Lonely Fool” and “Better Man, Better Off” – and his dad often wrote songs as a hobby between taking Jordan and his brother, Jacob, to Shreveport Captains minor league baseball games.
“Music was around so much, it was just part of our everyday life,” Jordan says.
In fact, because music was always around, Davis hadn’t really thought about it as a career
possibility. He majored in resource conservation at LSU in Baton Rouge and thought he would pursue a job that would protect the world’s physical attributes.
“Conserving the beauty of what makes the country so awesome is important,” he says. “It’s easy to think that it’s gonna be here forever, when really we need to take care of it. Louisiana’s losing land as it is – you know, the state’s disappearing year by year – so it’s definitely a passion of mine.”
But so was music. After his graduation from LSU, Jordan got an entry-level environmental job, but he spent plenty of time dreaming of Nashville, where his older brother had already moved to become a songwriter. Jordan periodically sent unfinished songs to his brother, and when Jacob played one for a music executive, he urged Jordan to come to Music City.
It was not an easy process for Jordan. He struggled to find people to write with and instead, he tended bar regularly at Ellendale’s – a Southern restaurant in Nashville’s Donelson neighborhood. He continued to hone his songwriting craft on his own; the songs were unusual, mixing his long-running affinity for classic singer/songwriters and modern country radio. Davis heard repeatedly that he was the only person who could perform them and make them work.
His decision eventually paid off and after receiving a publishing deal in June 2015, UMG Nashville announced on Leap Day 2016 that the company had signed him to a recording contract. Paul DiGiovanni – a Boys Like Girls guitarist who’s worked with Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes and Dan + Shay – quickly became one of Davis’ regular co-writers and his producer. “Paul would build a demo and have it done in a day, and you couldn’t listen to it enough,” Davis says.
DiGiovanni helped capture the anthemic quality in “Take It From Me” and the party attitude in “Singles You Up,” but also built an appropriately slinky frame for Davis’ conversational “So Do I.” Their working relationship is an ideal pairing, as Davis adjusts to his new creative world. As solid a place as music has held in his life, it’s been only a couple years since he started thinking of himself as an artist as well as a songwriter.
“Still to this day, I could tell you who wrote the song before I could tell you who cut it,” he says.
Being an artist means rethinking his creative soul just a bit. It’s one thing to write a story song to play in a coffee shop, but it’s another to generate the kind of big-sounding piece that resonates with an arena full of people. Davis is up for the challenge.
“Marrying the two is tough because I’ve never until recently had to think about writing a song and how it’s gonna go over live,” he says. “That’s a completely new thing that’s come into my writing.”
But he’s seen plenty of signs that he’s making the transition. Few were as obvious as when he played an afternoon set at the start of a New Year’s Eve bash in Jacksonville, Florida. Four guys traipsed across the lawn with beers in hand during the show, and as he sang, Davis watched them stop and huddle, then wander up to the front of the stage, where they remained fully engaged for the rest of the set. Clearly, he had won them over.
“They could have easily kept going,” he says. “That was a brand new song, it was the first time we had ever played it live, and it caught ‘em and brought ‘em back. That’s the kind of connection I try to make.”
With a creative foot in two places, Davis is well positioned to make a long-term connection. His songs are so musically engaging that they easily attract attention. But they’re also deep enough to hold a listener through repeated exposure. Some of that is accomplished through the sense of physical place woven into his stories. From the street performers and moss hanging from the trees establishing the humid heartbreak of “Leaving New Orleans,” to the painted white lines and late night security cop transporting the listener to a concrete ballroom in “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot.” Jordan Davis has a unique ability to create a sense of place in his songs with his knack for relentless hooks and subtly smart lyrics
By melding classic lyric-writing with modern musical texture, Davis is similarly staking out his own spot on the creative map. The cool melodies and understated delivery bring you in. The soul in his characters keep you in place. In Jordan Davis’ place.
It’s a journey that has seen the country-rocker tour with superstars like Taylor Swift and Alan Jackson, play to over 50,000 people in Nashville at the world’s biggest country music festival and build a large, devoted following as he’s played the length and breadth of his native land and across the USA.
Morgan has made his mark on the Australian musical landscape with a sound that fused contemporary country with melodic rock, fueled by a unique passion and energy all Morgan’s own. His music is driven by an optimism shaped by life’s bumpy journey, a faith in the power of love and hard work to overcome the obstacles we all face every day.
Growing up in the working class beach city of Newcastle in NSW, Morgan turned the blue-collar ethic of his neighborhood into a relentless drive for energy and connection in his live shows. After seeing him whip a festival crowd into a frenzy, Warner Music Australia offered Morgan a recording contract.
In 2013, after releasing two hit EPs that yielded three #1 singles, Morgan was named New Oz Artist of the Year at the CMC Music Awards. The fan voted award solidified his status as the hottest young performer in Australian country and was followed by four more trophies over the next two years, including back-to-back Male Oz Artist of the Year awards.
Soon Morgan returned to Nashville to record his debut album with an all-star group of A-list musicians and Nashville based Aussie ex-pat producer Jedd Hughes.
“To hear guys who played on the songs that inspired me to become a musician, playing on my songs, blew my mind,” said Morgan. “It reminded me of why I was doing this in the first place and pushed me to take my vocals and guitar playing on the album to the next level”.
The songs that make up Morgan Evans are the result of a relentless songwriting schedule for almost a year that took Morgan to Nashville and back, and saw him tap into the deepest parts of himself. Morgan wrote eleven of the twelve tracks - some by himself, some with local artists and many with A-list Nashville writers.
The album, released in March 2014, immediately shot to #1 on the iTunes and ARIA Country Album Charts and debuted at #20 on the ARIA Mainstream Album Chart.
The impact of the acclaimed album has been immense – 3 #1 singles (One Eye for an Eye, Best I Never Had and record-equaling Like A Tornado) and his first APRA nominations just for starters. The release also garnered international attention, leading to an invitation to return to Nashville’s massive CMA Music Festival and perform at the legendary Grand Ole Opry, which prompted William Morris Endeavor – the world’s largest talent agency – to sign Morgan up for international representation.
Morgan’s charisma and talent for engaging audiences led to his signing as the face of Foxtel’s Country Music Channel, which has already seen him nominated for an ASTRA Award and a TV Week Logie Award – a first for an Australian country music star. He hosts television coverage of the CMC Rocks music festival, artist interviews and the CMC Music Awards. He was joined in 2016 by international co-host Kelsea Ballerini for the live national broadcast.
A major career milestone was capped off when Morgan received a message from Grammy-winners Lady Antebellum informing him that he’d been awarded the prestigious 2015 CMA Global Artist Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement by an international country star in furthering the popularity of country music in their home country. Morgan joins an exceptional list of previous winners including Tommy Emmanuel, Kasey Chambers and Lee Kernaghan.
Since then, Morgan has his sights set once again on Nashville, relocating to Music City where he has been writing with the A-list of songwriters for his upcoming US debut release and recently made return performances to CMA Music Fest and the Grand Ole Opry.
His growing fanbase in both Australia and the USA is eagerly awaiting new music from Morgan, expected to be released later this year.
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