A “fun kind of crazy mood” lands Old Dominion “On a Boat That Day”

Mason Allen

Old Dominion grabs your attention from the very beginning of their top-twenty hit, “I Was on a Boat That Day.” But what exactly is the seemingly nonsensical, exotic-sounding phrase that starts off the song?

There’s an amazingly simple explanation, but Brad Tursi says first, you need to understand the mood the five guys in the band were in at the time: They’d fled Nashville to isolate themselves in a house and recording studio in Asheville, North Carolina — and they were getting a little wild.

“Honestly, that song, we wrote it, obviously, the same day we recorded it,” Brad recalls. “We went upstairs, we had some tequila, we were in a fun kind of crazy mood.”

“Usually you start every song, you find the tempo, and you have a click track and it’s easier to edit…” Brad continues. “But we kind were discussing it and someone was like, ‘Forget [it]… No clicks!’ And then [lead singer] Matt [Ramsey] just went, ‘One, two!’ So we just played it right off his count off, and that’s how this crazy thing in the beginning started.”

With lyrics like “drunk as a skunk eating lunch with a cross-eyed bear,” the antics don’t end there, but Trevor Rosen reveals there is a message in the song.

“It’s just a guy who needs to put some things behind him, right?” he says. “I think this character in our story is much like the world that we live in… He’s trying to get past a tough time. So what better way to do that than to get on a boat and get away from it all?”

“I Was on a Boat That Day” is the lead single from OD’s as-yet-unannounced fourth album, the follow-up to 2019’s self-titled Old Dominion.

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