The acceptance speech that Old Dominion gave as they claimed their Group of the Year trophy at the 2020 ACM Awards was unexpectedly emotional, even to the band. Matt Ramsey didn't necessarily intend to tribute lost loved ones before he stepped up to the microphone, but once he did, he felt compelled to honor people such as bandmate Brad Tursi's late brother, Drew.

After they accepted their trophy, the band reflected to media in a virtual press room that it was the unusual nature of the venue that caused them to focus on different, more emotional subject matter in their speech.

"I think that was just the product of that empty room that we were speaking to," Ramsey posits. "Usually, you're talking to a giant crowd of people you know and love -- but suddenly I was looking at this void."

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Of course, the bandmates knew that the Grand Ole Opry House was going to be empty, and they knew that it might feel a little strange. "I knew I was gonna have to do it so I was like, 'Okay, I'll just look at the camera' -- but then I couldn't find the camera," Ramsey remembers. "So it was like speaking to an empty room."

In that moment, he goes on to say, he couldn't help but think of late loved ones. "That was the first thing I felt, was these people who are so important to us that aren't here. I felt their presence," he adds. "All I could do was acknowledge that."

Some fans may have also wondered why all of the Old Dominion bandmates appeared onstage wearing face masks. The reasoning behind that decision, the band reveals, was more about logistics than making a statement.

"[The Academy of Country Music] asked us to do that. I think with a [bigger] group like this, they're extra cautious," the band clarifies. "They're doing their job to keep everybody safe, and we're happy to comply."

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