Striking Matches & Parker Millsap’s Nashville Skyline – The Buddy & Jim Show Recap

strikingmatches(Justin Davis and Sarah Zimmerman Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Striking Matches can count all of their songs that have appeared on the television show Nashville. There’s already been eight and one more is coming soon.

“I’m recording another one,” executive music producer Buddy Miller revealed on a recent Buddy & Jim Show taped in front of a live audience at the City Winery in Nashville.

“I don’t know if you spoiled it,” guitarist Justin Davis shot back. It was the first Buddy & Jim Show which will be taped monthly in front of a live audience at City Winery. The show featured musical guests Parker Millsap, Lee Ann Womack and Striking Matches. Miller remembered how the television show’s music supervisor Frankie Pine had gone out one day a few years ago and came back talking incessantly about the duo.

Davis recalled he and partner Sarah Zimmerman’s story having just finished a scalding acoustic set that featured “Crossroads,” “Make a Liar Out of Me” and “Hanging On a Lie,” the song they made with one of their own “heroes” T-Bone Burnett.

Justin was just a freshman and aspiring guitar major at Belmont University in Nashville when he met Sarah Zimmerman, who grew up outside Philadelphia. The two were paired by their professor and asked to do some improvisational playing on the school’s first day in front of the class and faculty. “Honestly being from a small town in Georgia, I had never seen a girl guitar player in my life,” told the City Winery audience.

When Justin asked her if she played any blues, Sarah whipped out her slide and dazzled everyone. After playing, Justin summed up the words he said to her that day. “Wow… We should do that again.”

Now, years later, the two look back and believe they may have been the only band that came out of that day. Sarah is not sure if their old professor knows.

When Miller first heard the duo, he just assumed Justin was playing the scorching solos and said great solo Justin. Justin had to correct him that it was Sarah. At the City Winery, Miller inquired as to how many guitars the couple breaks. “We break them, then we fix them and then we re-break them,” Davis quipped.

“I don’t have any breaks in mine,” Sarah laughed. “Justin put his hand through one the other night.”

“You’re putting the meanie back in Takamine,”  host Lauderdale joked about the duo’s sponsor, Takamine guitars.

parker millsap(Mike Rose and Parker Millsap. Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

The show also brought a resident new to the Nashville skyline, the soon-to-be 23 year-old Parker Millsap. Millsa, who left his native Oklahoma six months ago, admitted that it was a little different living in Music City. “There’s fewer cows here,” he observed wryly.

“We don’t have cows downtown,” Miller responded. Lauderdale added, “We’ve got cranes.”

When Millsap talked about playing with David Foulks on fiddle and Mike Rose on bass since junior high school, Miller had to remind the audience at home that that time was not too long ago. Millsap and Rose made their first EP Fever and Blue shortly after they started playing together.”It’s on my parents computer and nowhere else.”

When Millsap and Rose were in high school, they used to travel in a Ford Ranger two hours to Cushman, Oklahoma for an informal Tuesday night music club hosted by Rick Reilly and his wife DJ. The 16 year old would get home at 4 a.m. but with the learning and thrill of meeting such writers as John Cooper, John Fullbright, Brad Piccolo and others from the Red Dirt scene.

Millsap spent two weeks in Louisiana recording his new album which will be out March 23. He performed the title track “The Very Last Day.”

“You sure are swinging the world by the tail,” an elated Lauderdale said.

Another guest closed the show who Miller called the best singer in country music. It was his friend Lee Ann Womack who duetted with Miller on “After The Fire Is Gone.” The song by Conway Twitty was one of her father’s favorites. Womack performed the title track from her album “The Way I’m Livin’” and Hayes Carll’s gorgeous “Chances Are.” Womack also loves Chris Knight’s “Send It On Down,” an emotionally riveting song she sang and shared her surprise that it hadn’t been covered previously.

Earlier in the show Miller and Lauderdale paired to sing three songs, including two that have been both covered by Womack, “Does Your Ring Burn My Finger” and “The King of Broken Hearts.” The latter was written by Lauderdale as a tribute to George Jones, and is undoubtedly his most-covered song. Hearing Lauderdale share the inspiration of how the legendary Gram Parsons saw Jones on television at a party and emotionally exclaimed “That’s the king of broken hearts,” is a story that never gets old and is one to be told time and again.

leeannwomack(Lee Ann Womack & Jim Lauderdale Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

About Steve Wosahla

Steve Wosahla's interviews and reviews have appeared in Song Hits, Rock, Good Times, Circus, the Messenger-Press, New Haven Register, Soap Opera Digest and the New York Times. He is a member of the Americana Music Association and lives in Bristow, VA. You can follow him on Twitter: @swosahla.
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