Not that he would actually ever bring harm to his bunny, but Sherman Downey has no qualms about using even the most hare-brained scheme to coerce his legion of fans to vote for his band’s song in the CBC Searchlight competition.
He’s even threatening the well-being of harmless, furry little Stu if fans don’t vote for him.
The song “Thick as Thieves” is a sneak peek into the new album Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case hope to release this spring and Downey has entered it into the Searchlight contest, an online battle of artists vying to be named Canada’s best new artist.
The contest involves people voting for their favourite entry. Downey and his band recently managed to gather enough votes to be named Newfoundland and Labrador’s representative on the long list of 24 other acts from across the country.
Voting to determine who will be among the finalists is now open and continues at the website http://music.cbc.ca/#/Searchlight until Sunday at midnight.
The current long list of 24 will be whittled down to 16, then another round of voting to reduce the list down to eight will take place. A third round will determine the final four artists from which the grand prize winner will be selected.
Downey has been making the most of his social media presence and gaining momentum with every retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook he gets.
In one Tweet of his own, Downey posted a photo of Stu, urging people to vote, “or the rabbit gets it.”
He assured all animal lovers that it’s just a ploy to draw attention and Stu will survive, no matter how “Thick as Thieves” fares in the contest. It’s all in good fun, but there is a great prize awaiting whoever comes out on top of the voting, no matter how they get there. The winning Searchlight artist will be featured in a CBC Music video session, get a paying gig at a high-profile music showcase in Toronto and will receive $20,000 in music equipment courtesy of Yamaha Canada Music.
“We have a fair number of followers on Facebook, so it was easy to get the word out. People have been posting the contest link on there and have been retweeting it (on Twitter).” - Sherman Downey
There is also $1,000 in musical gear to be won among those who cast votes.
That would be great, but Downey is also using the Searchlight contest to generate some hype for the new, tentatively self-titled album he’s hoping will be released in April.
“It worked out all right because people wanted to hear something off the new album and it was just one more step to get a vote in there for us,” said Downey. “We have a fair number of followers on Facebook, so it was easy to get the word out. People have been posting the contest link on there and have been retweeting it (on Twitter).”
The album is in its final stages. It features some special guest cameos, including a track with pedal steel guitar by Bob Egan of Blue Rodeo and another track featuring violinist Bernard Kane of the United Kingdom, who was in western Newfoundland for the Gros Summer Music Festival last summer.
Downey said it will be a self-titled album because he would like to emphasize that he and his bandmates have returned to the name Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case after a short time being known as Sherman Downey and the Silver Lining.
“We had changed it (to Silver Lining) because of the misspellings and the clouded-over faces when we told people the name of the band,” Downey said of the Ambiguous Case name. “Then enough people spoke up and we decided to change it back. We haven’t made a big deal of changing it back, but I think the album will be self-titled for that reason.”