The Nashville Guitar Swinging Duo, STRIKING MATCHES, Opens Up About Their Debut Album “Nothing But The Silence” and Favorite Tour Memories So Far!
Posted On 09 Jun 2015
Tag: ABC, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Ann Powers, Artist Interview, Ashley Monroe, Bonnie Raitt, Chet Atkins, ColdPlay, Django Reinhart, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, Grammy, Grand Ole Opry, Hunter Hays, I.R.S Nashville, Jerry Reed, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, John Grady, John Mayer, Justin Davis, Lenny Breau, Make A Liar Out Of Me, Missing You Tonight, Nashville, Nothing But The Silence, NPR Music, Red Rocks, Ryman, Sarah Zimmermann, Striking Matches, T Bone, T-Bone Burnett, Train, Vince Gill, When The Right One Comes Along
Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis make up the Nashville based duo, Striking Matches. Their music is a little bit country, rock, and blues. For their debut album “Nothing But The Silence” released in March Zimmermann and Davis teamed up with legendary Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett to become the debut artist on the newly revived label I.R.S. Nashville.
“The fact that we are releasing our debut album in itself is a dream come true,” said Zimmermann. “I have to pinch myself every time I tell someone that one of our all-time biggest heroes, T Bone Burnett, produced our record. Just to be in the same room with him is an honor, let alone working in the studio with him.”
Learn more about Striking Matches in the following All Access interview:
Can you remember coming together to form this duo? Was this always something that you want to do?
Yes we can remember! It wasn’t until after we had started playing writer’s rounds around town “not” as a band, just as co-writers, when people would start to come up to us after the round and say “who are you? what’s your band name?” that we actually considered being in a duo full time. We both individually set out to be guitar players, so being in a duo definitely wasn’t the plan at first!
How did you come up with Striking Matches as your name?
It started first as trying to be way too clever using something like “double” or “pair” or “match”. Though we hated all of that, somewhere along the way we wound up with “Striking Matches” and thought it really evoked our live show. It sounded exciting and volatile.
Who do you think are the all-time greatest guitarists?
We can’t speak for who is actually the greatest, but our all-time favorites are definitely: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, George Benson, Lenny Breau, Django Reinhart, Bonnie Raitt. The list could go on!
A couple months ago, you released your debut album, “Nothing But The Silence”. What does that feel like?
We could not be more excited. It feels like watching our own dreams come true right before our eyes!
Tell me about working with legendary Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett for your debut album? How did that relationship come to be and what was it like working with him?
We met T Bone through our manager John Grady, who had been sending him music for a couple of years. T Bone also worked on the ABC show ‘Nashville’, so he got familiar with our music through that. When the opportunity for us to make a record came about, T Bone was the first one to come to us to say that he wanted to produce it. He was always that one guy that when people would ask us “if you could have anyone produce your record, who would it be?” So to have that become a reality is mind-blowing! Working with T-Bone has been an absolute delight. He’s a musician’s producer. He’s so talented and so smart, and just knew how to get us to make the record we had always dreamed of making.
What songs on this collection are you most proud of? Why that one in particular? Where did the inspiration for them come from?
We’re really proud of the recording of “Make a Liar Out Of Me”. We’ve always loved songs with big guitar solo moments in them, so this was our chance to have a version of our own.
Another one we’re really proud of is “When the Right One Comes Along”. It’s taken quite a journey from the first place anyone had ever heard it, which was on ABC’s Nashville. It was the first song people knew the words to that we would play at shows. So we’re really excited and proud to have a new version of it on this record.
In her list of artists to watch out for in 2015, NPR Music’s Ann Powers singled out your band, calling you a “perfectly balanced duo.” What do you think that exactly means?
That was SO cool of Ann to say! We feel like that means that we complement each other. Everything we do is balanced to a T. There isn’t one lead singer, or one lead guitar player. We both carry the load equally.
Let’s talk about this new label, I.R.S Nashville. You are the first band on it. What’s that feel like and why do you think this label is the best for you?
I.R.S, though it’s recently been revived, it isn’t new, but has had some great bands and always had a relationship as being a really cool label. So it, along with it’s head John Grady, have been a perfect fit for us in realizing the music that we want to make. We feel both honored and proud.
Eight of your songs have been featured on the hit ABC show, Nashville! It’s made you one of the most synced artists on that program! How did this open doors for your music? What’s that been like? Do you think those songs were a perfect fit for the show? Do you hope to one day perform on the show?
It’s been amazing! This has really directly affected us so far as it enabled fans of the show to find our music, it led to us performing on the Grand Ole Opry, and it’s expanded our fan base internationally. It’s been a really cool experience to watch these songs take on a new life on screen! It’d be great to be on the show! We’ve made great friends with some of the cast members, to that would definitely be a blast.
What were those first performances in London like? Had either of you been there before?
Mind-blowing. Nothing short of magical. Neither of us had been there before, and only a few people had really heard of us, because of “Nashville”. But after our first performance there, with every performance that weekend, the crowd grew exponentially. They were having to turn people away!! We couldn’t believe it. We have a big place in our heart for our UK friends!!
You have performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage over 35 times! What have those shows been like? Is that one of your favorite venues now?
Every time we play the Opry, it is an absolute honor. It feels like the first time every time. There’s not really been an Opry performance where we’ve walked out on stage and haven’t been nervous! Both the Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman are stages that we love. There’s no feeling like playing there!!
You have toured with some very impressive talent, like Train, Vince Gill, Ashley Monroe, Hunter Hays and more.What’s been a really memorable tour for you?
The Train tour was unforgettable. We got to play some amazing venues, like Red Rocks amphitheater, and learned so much from them.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We love listening to music for inspiration. It’s always something different. Right now, anything from Edith Piaf and Frank Sinatra to John Mayer or Coldplay. We always try and draw from anything we like, no matter the genre.
What would you say the band has already accomplished and what do you have your eyes set on next?
Our biggest goal up to this point was to make our first record, which we did, and we’re incredibly proud of. We would love next to tour the world. We have so many countries, cities, and places that we have always wanted to play, and we can’t wait to check them off of our bucket list.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
When we opened for Train at Red Rocks, during our last song of our set, “Make a Liar Out of Me”, Sarah plays a big slide solo at the end. Right before the end, she dropped it. The stage is concrete, the slide is porcelain, so you can guess what happened next. Her slide broke in two pieces (thankfully), and she picked it up and played the solo with half a slide. It was rock ‘n roll!!
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
As songwriters, we hope they feel a connection to the message. We didn’t set out to make a record in any particular genre, we just set out to make music. And we can’t wait for you to hear it!