When Brad Tursi was a Staples High School soccer star in the mid-1990s, he dreamed of playing before huge crowds in big stadiums.
He’ll do exactly that tomorrow, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
But he won’t be kicking a soccer ball. Instead, the 1997 Staples grad will kick it big-time with his band, Old Dominion. They open for Kenny Chesney, on the country megastar’s summer tour.
The road from Westport to Nashville is not well traveled. But Tursi is not the first Staples alum to make his name there.
Charlie Taylor graduated from Staples in 1961. After roaming from Greenwich Village to LA — with stops in between — Taylor spent the last 3 decades in Tennessee. He’s recorded with, written with and for, jammed with and learned from the likes of Gram Parsons, Minnie Pearl, Chet Atkins, Barbara Mandrell, Rick Nelson and Barry Tashian.
Tashian is also a Staples grad. His route to Nashville began in Boston, where he fronted the legendary rock group The Remains. They opened for The Beatles on their final tour, appeared on Ed Sullivan and Hullabaloo, and were called by Jon Landau “how you told a stranger about rock ‘n’ roll.”
After the group broke up, Tashian landed in Nashville. He’s been there ever since, playing with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Emmy Lou Harris, and carving out (with his wife, Staples classmate Holly Kimball) a rewarding performing, recording and songwriting career.
Tursi continues that small but strong Westport connection. He co-wrote “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” — a certified gold song that Tyler Farr took to #1 earlier this year — and “Save It For a Rainy Day” for Chesney.
Tursi’s band Old Dominion got a shout-out last month from Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.
In an interview in The Tennessean newspaper, Morris predicted that the band would join Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Garth Brooks as providing “a new foundation for the company’s country music division.” The day after he heard Old Dominion’s EP, the 76-year-old CEO was singing their lyrics.
You probably are not headed to MetLife Stadium tomorrow, for the Kenny Chesney concert. But if you want to hear the opening band — Old Dominion — check out the video below.
Brad Tursi’s 2nd from the right, manning the oars.
(Hat tip: John Guadagno)