'Nothing but the Silence' arrives March 24.
Consider yourself forewarned: Early on the morning of March 24, you might be woken up in Nashville by the sound of screaming down Music Row. Striking Matches will be releasing Nothing but the Silence, their debut album, that day, and the duo's Justin Davis tells Billboard that they want to share the news with everybody.
"Honestly, right now, we just want to go out and scream it at the top of our lungs -- 'We're so proud of this record, and please check it out!' We feel that we've earned the right to be proud of it, and it's an unbelievable feeling," he says.
Needless to say it's something he and Sarah Zimmerman have worked toward for a long time. "We can't even begin to believe it because it is such a lifelong dream come true," he admitted. "When you're a kid, and you're playing along with these records, you think, 'Wouldn't it be cool one day to have one of your own?' You have no idea how you're going to get there, and even five years ago, we still didn't know, but we're less than a month away from having this in people's hands. There is just this mix of adrenaline, nervousness and pride."
The duo is managed by industry veteran John Grady, and their debut album was produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett. Zimmerman says being associated with those names is an incredible experience. "If anyone had asked us who we would have wanted as a dream producer in the studio, it would have been T-Bone. We would have thought it never would have happened, but it did."
The two received their initial massive exposure in front of audiences via the TV series Nashville. Their ballad "When the Right One Comes Along" was featured in the 2012 premiere and has led to quite a relationship with the show. (The song also appears on Nothing but the Silence.)
"It's been huge. We've had about eight songs that have made it to the show, which has been amazing. What was really cool was when that song hit the show, we had just done our version on our EP, so if people went to search for the record, they would find our record as well. That definitely brought the fanbase up -- even from an international level," she noted. "We went to the U.K. over the summer and had two sold-out shows there, and everybody sang along with the song. They are super Nashville fans over there."
Zimmerman is quick to say that they have no inside knowledge of what's coming up on the show; they simply write the songs. "We've always just really written the songs for us to perform," she says of their approach. "Some might have been ones that we loved but that we knew wouldn't have fit into the project. There were a couple of the songs that the producers told us they loved so much that they wrote a scene around."
But she admits that she does have a certain couple she keeps rooting for in all the plot twists and turns. "I've wanted Scarlett and Gunnar to get back together since they broke up. That was such a big part of the show to me with that song, but I think they will get back together eventually."
With a producer as diverse as Burnett, one could imagine the album runs the musical gamut, but how would the duo describe themselves? "I would say it's a mixture of all of our influences," Zimmerman says. "We grew up listening to different things, a lot of the same stuff, but I grew up listening to James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, but also Led Zeppelin and the Dixie Chicks. Justin grew up on some of that, but also Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins. I think we pulled from a lot of those inspirations in our writing and playing, and hopefully created something that was a little different."
With their debut single, "Hanging on a Lie," making an impact, the duo is set to strike where the iron is hot. "We're back in the UK this week, and then we go back out on the radio tour to promote the single, and then in April we go back to the UK, then we'll come back and start to tour for the record."
There are a lot of high hopes for the duo and their album, and their manager feels it's their time to shine. "I'm so proud of their growth and where they have started as shy kids on the couch not wanting to make a work tape because they knew it wasn't going to be perfect, and they didn't want people to hear something that wasn't perfect," recalled Grady, who has worked with them since they moved to Nashville. "It was so great the other night to sit down and eat with them and say, 'You're right in the middle of your dream. You're not going to wake up for the next few weeks. Try to remember it and enjoy it.' It's going to be an exciting time!"