Justin Davis and Sarah Zimmermann could have easily each been successful singer/songwriters in their own right. However, the duo was randomly paired together in a college music class and from there Striking Matches was born.
Striking Matches entered onto the country music scene when some of their songs were selected to be covered on the ABC hit series Nashville. The fan base of Nashville gave Striking Matches the perfect opportunity to launch their music career.
The combination of Davis and Zimmermann’s tremendous guitar skills, along with their pitch perfect harmonies create a unique and unexpected sound that is nothing like anything playing on country radio. Their combination of country, blues, and rock gives them a The Civil War’s type sound, expect the duo adds a more edgy, country twist. Nothing But The Silence has that classic blues country sound that has been missing on the country music scene for a while.
Both Davis and Zimmermann have distinctive voices. Davis’ voice has a slight grit to it that makes it even more irresistible. Throughout the album, they trade off lines, with Zimmermann having lead the majority of the time. However, the best vocal parts come during the harmonies. Every harmony is sung perfectly, and with a precision that makes each harmony seem easy and natural. They do not sing to each other, they sing with each other.
Lyrically, Davis and Zimmermann had a hand in writing all 11 songs on the album. All the songs on the album are related to love in some way. From the relationship gone wild in “Trouble Is As Trouble Does,” to the conversation between ex-lovers on “Nothing But the Silence,” to the emotional vulnerability showcased on “Like Lovers,” the album showcases both the highs and lows of love.
The production on the album is simple, which lends the album to feel like the one of a kind live-performances that Striking Matches is known for. The subtle production maintains the integrity and vulnerability of the lyrics and the instrumentation. Davis and Zimmermann do not need fancy production to create a great album; their musical talent creates a great album on its own.
“Make a Liar Out of Me” is one of the musical highlights off the album. Zimmermann showcases her guitar skills with a minute long slide guitar solo at the end of the song. The solo was recorded as a live moment, which makes it all the more impressive. Davis takes the lead vocally on this song. The slight grit and vulnerability in his voice is perfectly showcased on the lyric “And this kind of temptation, I swore I wouldn’t give in/ Cause once you fell to a heartbreak/You find yourself saying, you’re never gonna fall again.”
“Hanging On A Lie” is the song that has gained the most popularity so far for Striking Matches. The upbeat and aggressive attitude, paired with a mandolin, is an unexpected combination that works flawlessly. Davis’ vocal parts are hesitant against Sarah’s demanding tone and lyrics such as “Better open up your mouth if you got something to say/ Don’t keep me waiting/ Don’t keep me hanging on a lie.”
“Like Lovers” is a ballad, so emotional that the listener feels as if they are listening to a private conversation between lovers. Davis takes the lead vocally, again, showcasing his ability to deliver a simple lyric with a multitude of emotions. There is barely any instrumentation on this song, giving the song an intimate and cozy feel.
The most energetic and fun song off the album is “Miss Me More.” Throughout the song Davis and Zimmerman taut each other with playful lyrics such as, “I’m gonna curse your name, for this mess I’m in/ I’m gonna dial your number, just to hang up again.”
Striking Matches is one of the most exciting country acts to come around in a while. They are a relief from the “bro-country” clichés that are filling the country music airways by the likes of Luke Bryan, and Florida Georgia Line. Striking Matches also has a crossover appeal that the majority of country artists lack, making the band more marketable to pop and blues radio. Nothing But The Silence is crafted perfectly to gain attention and make a name for Striking Matches.