Story Behind the Song: Old Dominion, ‘Some People Do’
Old Dominion show a new side of themselves with their 2020 single "Some People Do." The third single from the band's self-titled 2019 album is more reflective, apologetic and somber than the band's biggest hits.
Backed by a simple piano line, lead singer Matthew Ramsey delivers the lyrics with such feeling. The production, co-writer and Old Dominion producer Shane McAnally tells The Boot, took some time to get right, but is close to how it sounded when co-writer Jesse Frasure demoed the song after penning it with Ramsey, McAnally and country star Thomas Rhett.
Rhett, in fact, was the one who brought the song idea to the table, and who almost cut it for a record of his own. Below, McAnally shares the story behind "Some People Do," in his own words.
We had actually written another song that day. Thomas Rhett, Matthew Ramsey, Jesse Frasure and I were all writing together.
Sometimes it's tough to write with two artists in the room because you don't know who you're writing for: Are you writing for Thomas Rhett, or are you writing for Old Dominion? And we wrote one song that sort of fit both but ended up not really working for either.
And one thing about Thomas Rhett that's different from the other three people in that room that day is, if he has you in the room and he has an idea, he likes to try it. I mean, we had backpacks on, we were walking out the door, and he sat at the piano just started playing.
And I don't know exactly the way the phrase came out, but it had nothing to do with a relationship. Somebody said, "Well, some people do." and then, Thomas Rhett always hears songs in phrases like that. He's like, "That sounds like a song."
What happened then was a two-hour therapy session. And that's one of the most cathartic songs I've ever been a part of. It was something we all needed to say in different ways. Some of it was to our spouses, some of it was to our friends, some of it was to our parents. It just was very personal to all of us for different reasons.
So the combo of it, it's not to say -- You know, when people are like, "Who's that about?" It really is about all of us, and all of us have been through different things, and especially for Matthew and Thomas Rhett, whose lives got turned upside down when their artist careers took off, and they have these families that didn't sign up for having their dad gone all the time or their husband gone all the time. And so it started to take on a new life.
Now, what happened after that was that nobody could hear it for either of them. It was like, Thomas Rhett doesn't do songs like that. They both are thinking so much about their live shows that it's like, "If we had a moment like this in the show, what would we do?"
And so, Thomas Rhett sang a version, then his label wasn't really into it for him. He wasn't sure if it was the right tone for him. And then it sort of sat on the shelf, and we waited until we were working on the Old Dominion record, and honestly, the rest of the band in Old Dominion didn't feel attached to it; they weren't there for the writing session, they didn't have the same experience that we did in the room, but Matthew and I were just like, "Let's just try it. Let's just try it."
We worked on that song for two days in the studio. It was very difficult. There are, like, six different versions: There's, like, an Imagine Dragons version, with big heavy drums, and then there's, like, this version that just has all these weird sounds, and we were just trying to figure it out, and ultimately what we came back to was, we just imitated the demo that Jesse Fraser did, which was just piano.
It's funny how those things work out, and I honestly can't believe that song is their single. I mean, I just never imagined that the label would put that song out, and that's the power of the people that listen to the music because what happened was, that song started streaming. In today's climate, you really get direct feedback.
It was a weird time when that song came out: Then COVID hit and people weren't really wanting to feel so introspective -- they want to be lifted up -- but the song was already in motion, so the label got behind it, and, you know, it's gonna be interesting to see how it ultimately is received because we're still in the early stages of it, but regardless of its commercial success, it's one of the things I'm the most proud of.
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