Dunkin Donuts Music Lounge
April 9, 2015
There are not many things I enjoy more than discovering new musical artists. And nothing tops when the live performance from that artist exceeds my expectations. I feel like that combination is the ultimate satisfaction a true music fan can have. And that is exactly what I got last week when I was treated to an intimate set at Hartford’s Dunkin Donuts Music Lounge by the new duo, Striking Matches.
Striking Matches is made up of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis, two extremely talented and authentic musicians who both have hauntingly beautiful voices that may only be outshined by their instrumental abilities on the guitar. They just released their first album, entitled by “Nothing But the Silence” which was produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett. Furthermore, fans of ABC’s Nashville would likely recognize a few of their tracks as eight songs they have penned have made appearances on the show.
At the Dunkin Donuts Music Lounge last Thursday, twenty fans had their mouths drop wide open as Sarah and Justin performed an acoustic five song set that included stunning harmonies and even better guitar exchanges. They started their set with the rootsy “Trouble Is As Trouble Does” and traded both vocals and guitar riffs in an action packed song that immediately had me hooked. Between songs they told stories of how they met at orientation at Belmont University, how they landed gigs initially in Nashville, and about their first performances at the Bluebird Café and the Opry. They also performed “When The Right One Comes Along” and “Hanging on a Lie” which were both featured on the ABC drama, but not in the impressive manner that Striking Matches performs it. In fact, Sarah Zimmermann may have been one of the most exciting live guitar players I have ever seen (and I’ve seen over 500 live shows). At one point she began to switch hands, slap her guitar, and use extra accessories to create a bluesy sound on an inspiring solo. The duo also stomp their feet and use a number of unique effects to further amplify their sound.
All in all, Striking Matches has one of the most honest, unexpected, and distinctive new sounds that I have heard in any music genre in a long time. They finished the set with a stunning cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” in which they stated they sang in connection to a BBC Special they were part of. I expect this duo to be around for a long time and as the change in country radio solely begins to shift away from trucks and beer, I hope America wakes up and attaches themselves to these truly talented musicians
Photo Credits to Anthony Manciero (WWYZ-FM), Country 92.5 FM, iHeart Radio, MillertimeMusicSpot, and Amy Miller