Network Continues Support of Unsigned Artists With Duo Striking Matches On Deck as September “LISTEN UP” Artist

NASHVILLE – August 12, 2013 – Unsigned Birmingham, Ala., band John and Jacob are taking the stage as CMT’s August LISTEN UP artist with a series of exclusive performances premiering on throughout the month. Fans can visit today to catch live Nashville performances from the band, including their songs “Be My Girl,” “Ride With Me,” “Think About You,” “I’d Go Back” and “Give It Away.” Striking Matches, another unsigned country act, will be showcased as CMT's LISTEN UP artist throughout the month of September.

This will be the first time CMT has exposed unsigned artists through the LISTEN UP program, which launched in 2011, and both John and Jacob and Striking Matches will have videos played on CMT. John and Jacob’s performance of “Be My Girl” will air as a music video on CMT and CMT Pure, and one of Striking Matches’ performances will also be played on the channel.

“Music discovery has always been a big initiative for the music group at Viacom,” said Leslie Fram, SVP of Music Strategy, CMT. “At CMT, we brought back and created several franchises to include emerging and unsigned talent—like CMT EDGE, CONCRETE COUNTRY and LISTEN UP. There are artist opportunities that roll out all year on for bands to get their videos played on CMT Pure Country, and CMT. We first saw John and Jacob perform on a visit to Major Bob Music. There was something unique about their sound, writing and performance that drove the passion to want to break them. The same with Striking Matches and their incredible live show and talent.”

CMT’s LISTEN UP franchise highlights artists on the verge of breaking out. Additional content from John and Jacob and Striking Matches will be featured on the site during the months of August and September, respectively, including more performances, photo galleries, interviews and more.

CMT has worked with John and Jacob and Striking Matches over the course of a year, sending both to perform at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., in May. The artists were included in several cross-platform initiatives, including the Pizza Hut Discover Great program.

John and Jacob, born and raised in Birmingham, found their roots in the sounds of back-porch pickers and harmonies of gospel singers. After 10 years of playing together, a stripped-down style emerged, leading the boys back to the basics with feel good melodies and lyrics. They started making trips to Nashville where they soon landed a publishing deal with Major Bob Music. Within two years, they wrote their first Billboard No. 1 song, were nominated for an MTV O-Music Award, tapped for Red Bull’s Sound Select and chosen by CMT as their first unsigned LISTEN UP artist. Splitting time between writing and touring, the boys are currently in the studio with their band cutting a record, while their song “Be My Girl” gains popularity on Nashville’s AAA station Lightning 100 and Birmingham Mountain Radio in their hometown.

Striking Matches is a country duo made up of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis. “Striking Matches EP” was released independently in October of 2012, produced by Luke Wooten (Dierks Bentley, Kellie Pickler). The EP includes the songs “When The Right One Comes Along” and “Hangin’ On A Lie,” which were both featured on ABC’s drama “Nashville.” “The Striking Matches EP” has since gone on to earn a spot on the iTunes Best of 2012 Country Albums list, selling more than 6,000 copies to date. The talented duo has opened for artists including John Hiatt, The Fray, Martina McBride, Ashley Monroe, Kip Moore, Scotty McCreery, Love and Theft and Billy Currington. Since their debut in 2012, Striking Matches has been invited to play the Grand Ole Opry 14 times and was hand-picked from thousands of entries by Hunter Hayes to open up his MTV Artist To Watch album release show at Webster Hall in New York.

CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website,, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network’s digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.

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Caitlin Greenwell      615-335-8412



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