Hey friends! We’re heading back out on the road for a little tour and we can’t wait to see you! We miss you so much. Here’s some dates and info. And don’t worry, there will be more tour dates announced later in the summer!
June 30 / July 1- St. John NB – Canada Day Countdown Concert – Market Square Boardwalk – Free!
July 4-6 – Canso NS – Stan Rogers Folk Festival
July 8 – Moncton NB – Plan B
July 11 – Toronto ON –Yonge and Dundas Square – Free!
July 12 – Carleton Place ON – Lake Park Lodge
It’s starting to warm up here in our neck of the woods. With the warm weather comes some news for ya, and some new shows posted on the page as well. Lots of fun stuff happening this summer. We have been nominated to play the open spot at the Osheaga festival in Montreal! Pretty great festival by the looks of things. You can show support for us by “cheering” for us online and posting about us on your favourite social media outlets with the hashtag #openlive. More details found here: http://www.molsoncanadian.ca/en/live/index.aspx
Hey, did we happen to mention that The Right Idea from our new album has been climbing the CBC Radio 2 charts over the past couple of weeks? It’s currently sitting at #5! Check it out!
We also found ourselves a van and are hitting the road again in just a few short days! Check out this puppy and keep your eyes peeled for it’s appearance in a town near you. Or you could just head over to the “shows” section of this website if you get tired of sitting in the window waiting for it to roll by. See you soon!
We lost our van on the last tour. I feel a lot of our blogs are about van troubles. Anyway, another ambulance has gone to the Great Gig in the Sky. It was a sad day for all of us. At least no one was hurt- we were driving along the Dartmouth highway when the van shut down for good. We managed to weave it through the two lanes of speeding traffic onto the shoulder by the time it rolled to a stop. Andrew did all of the roadside diagnostics that could be done, and then we sadly called a tow truck. The towing company brought it to the garage and gave us the grim news- the parts and labour for the van would cost about $5000. We nodded somberly and said “You wanna buy a van?” They bought the van for $200 plus the free tow. Now we were stranded in Dartmouth with two gigs left on the tour. We called all over Halifax, then surrounding areas, but couldn’t find a reasonable rental that we could drive to Newfoundland. In fact, the only vehicle we could find was a 22 foot U-Haul. The trouble is, this thing only had two seats. Two seats in the front and a big cargo area for all our gear. I won’t tell you what happened, but we all made it back to Newfoundland, safe and sound. Safe and sound and chilly.
We had to cancel our Moncton gig that night, but we ended up wandering into the local saloon across the street from the garage. We stuck out like sore thumbs at this country/western themed bar which resembled one of the Legion clubs back home. We figured we’d stay for a drink, then figure out what the heck we were gonna do for the night. There was a band playing, and someone in the crowd approached us and asked if A)We were a band, B) Did we want to play. We figured this was an interesting turn of fate that could turn into an adventure, so we agreed. We used some of the band’s gear and did a few tunes by Hank, a few originals, and any other bluesy/western tunes we could muster up. Once the crowd heard our broken van story, they passed a hat to give us a few bucks and then a few of them even offered us a place to stay!
Lately we have been so busy doing awesome stuff that I haven’t been writing. Touring, autographs, backflips, parties on the moon; all of these things can get in the way of a healthy blog life. So here’s what’s up.
The new album is out, and it’s doing great! If you have heard it, we’d love to know what you think. If you haven’t, you can get the album right off the website here. It’s been selling great online and around the province. We are bringing plenty of copies with us when we leave the province again in a few weeks.
Speaking of which…
Big ol’ Eastern Canadian tour in the works! I think it’s our biggest one yet. Lots of dates, if you live between Newfoundland and Ontario you should be able to find a show that will suit you. Check the “Shows” section for dates. Speaking of which…
We are once again van-less. Why, you got a nice van lying around?
It’s been too long, and I apologize. We’ve been busy. Hope everyone had a wonderful summer. I figured it was about time to let you all know what’s been happening with us over the lately, and what’s coming up in the future.
CBC Festival was a blast! We were put up in a swanky hotel where we had posh rooms and free meals. It was more than we’ve ever experienced before, and we felt like we had finally made it. Usually our hotel experiences involve finding the cheapest place in the city on Hotwire. I won’t get into any gory details, but let’s just say we’ve seen our share of bedbugs. And crackheads. So to have our own rooms in these luxurious suites was a welcome change. The festival itself was pretty awesome as well, probably the most professional production we’ve ever been a part of. You can see some videos here.
We spent most of June touring through Ontario, and had some fantastic shows. The CBC Searchlight contest gave us so much publicity that some people actually knew who we were! We even had sold out shows in places we’ve never played before. I couldn’t help thinking “Who are you people and what the heck are you doing here?” But again, a welcome change.
We had more van troubles. Andrew Ross deserves a medal just for keeping us on the road. We left the island in June, and soon we were noticing a funny smell, and what seemed to be a little more smoke than usual coming out of the exhaust. Andrew checked it out when we arrived in Quebec, and realized that there was probably a turbo blown on the engine. I don’t know what that is. Fortunately for us, Andrew knew how to keep the ol girl on the road long enough to get back to Newfoundland. Unfortunately for us, when driving at slow speeds or going up hills, we were now spewing smoke. It goes without saying that we didn’t want to be spewing blue smoke everywhere. So we realized as long as we kept the van at highway speeds, the smoke seemed to subside. Which made for some pretty wild stops at highway gas stations, with us trying to keep the thing up to speed until we got close to the gas pumps. Sorry mom. We did it for the environment. We got pulled over twice when driving through Ontario, and soon realized that we were better driving under the cover of darkness. So we did mostly night driving until the thing was fixed.
We spent Canada Day driving from Ontario into Nova Scotia to get the Sydney ferry crossing that night. Pretty much steady driving across Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. When I say we spent all day driving I mean this- we left in the night after a Hamilton gig, and drove about 20 hours straight to get back to Sydney. We were a little disappointed we didn’t have a gig for Canada, but we did get to spend the day seeing a lot of this great big beautiful country of ours. We were hoping to see some Canada Day celebrations, but the schedule just didn’t allow it. Though as the ferry floated out into the ocean, we went out onto the deck and saw fireworks in the distant Sydney skyline. That was alright too.
We have been spending our time lately finalizing all the things necessary for a fall album release. That’s right, you heard it here first. No more delays. We’ve got mixes, we’ve got artwork, this thing is going full steam ahead now and it’ll be in your hands long before Christmas. I don’t know if anyone remembers when we played at the Arts and Culture in Corner Brook a year or two ago. That night, we pointed microphones at the audience and got the crowd to sing along on certain songs. We finally have those mixes back now, and I’ll be the first to say it: You all sound fantastic. It’s a really special part of the album, and it filled me with a lot of Corner Brook pride to have so many voices in there singing along. We can’t wait for you all to hear it.
We were recently invited to Toronto to take part in the first annual CBC Music Festival at the lovely Echo Beach. You can head over to our VIDEOS page to view clips of our performance.
After another intense week of public voting, Corner Brook’s home grown rock stars, Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case, have finally made it to the top, winning CBC Radio’s Searchlight Contest with their new song “Thick as Thieves”.
Thick as Thieves:
“It’s so amazing to have entered the Searchlight contest with only the hope of finding a new audience,” said Downey, “only to discover that suddenly a lot of people are listening.”
‘Thick as Thieves’ is a new song recorded for the group’s upcoming sophomore album, due out later this year. This will be their first release since the award-winning 2010 CD, ‘Honey For Bees’.
Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case formed from the creative community that has sprung up around the Grenfell Campus’ Fine Arts programs on Newfoundland’s scenic west coast. Since then, the band has toured relentlessly, developing a solid following for their rootsy folk-rock.
“We are blown away by the attention that the CBC Searchlight Contest has brought to the band,” says front man, Sherman Downey. “The boys and I want to say thanks to everyone for all the support. This contest has really brought to our attention the amazing support that’s out there for this band and our music.”
Looks like an already busy year for Sherman and the band is getting even busier. The group can be seen at major festivals throughout the province and the Maritimes this summer.
Tune in to Q with Jian Ghomeshi on Friday, Apr. 12 for an interview with Sherman.
More information on the announcement at http://music.cbc.ca/#/Searchlight.
For more info contact:
Teresa Ennis at Limehouse Media: 1 709 739-0917
So we have moved on into the top 8 for CBC’s nationwide Searchlight contest! You can vote for us once a day until Sunday, and the top 4 acts will be revealed on Tuesday. How exciting! Click here to vote at cbc.ca/searchlight
To thank you for your support, we shot a little live video for Thick As Thieves with the help of our friends Daniel Payne, Mandy Keeping and Justin Mahoney. This song is our contest entry and will be featured on our upcoming album, which will be in your hands before long! Click here to check out the video on youtube.
thanks for reading,
Hey folks, long time no update, but we wanted to let you know that we are now one of 16 national finalists in a contest the CBC is holding to find Canada’s greatest new musical act! If you would like to help us out and hear an exclusive track from our upcoming album, click here and vote once per day for Sherman Downey & the Ambiguous Case. The song is called Thick As Thieves, and we are thrilled to share this glimpse into the new album with you!
As an added bonus, here is a photo of Sherman window shopping for a very special pillow.
Sharbot Lake is a little slice of paradise approximately 100 km from Ottawa. It’s not a big town, the type of place you could easily miss if you weren’t looking for it. Many Ontarians we met along our journey hadn’t even heard of the place. But for what it lacks in name recognition and size, it eclipses many far bigger cities with charm and hospitality.
Thursday we left Peterborough, and weren’t really sure what to do. We had a show on Friday but no show on Thursday and nowhere to go. We figured it was worth a shot to call Frank and Sandra White, the owners of The Crossing Pub where we would be playing on Friday, because they also own the Sharbot Lake Country Inn where we would be staying. So we figured we could perhaps get a discounted rate to stay on Thursday.
Before I go any further I should state that Frank and Sandra are from Newfoundland. We had heard about their legendary Newfoundland hospitality from our friends in The Once, who had played there not long before us. A prime example- Phil Churchill from The Once had casually mentioned while eating there that he loved their horseradish. When he got home from the tour what showed up in the mail? A 4L vat of the horseradish. That kind of thoughtfulness goes a long way in an industry where artists can often get shafted. We joking told Phil we were going to casually tell them how much we loved their burgers.
So Frank and Sandra graciously welcomed us to stay at their Inn a day early. We showed up and they showed us around and gave us a lay of the land. Many of the guests at the Inn were Newfoundlanders up working construction on the highway in the area. It also happened to be Frank and Sandra’s anniversary, and they asked us to come on over to the restaurant to help them celebrate with their family and some of the Newfoundland workers.
We had a little time to kill so we set our stuff in our rooms and wandered out to the back end of the Inn. It is situated right on Sharbot Lake, with all the back rooms getting an idyllic view of the lake and surrounding forest. We were warned about the poison ivy by Frank and Sandra, who even went so far as to point out which plant was actually poison ivy. Which leads us to, as I mentioned in the first blog of the trip, the dumbest game that was played on our tour.
Us not being the woodsy type, we did not have much experience with poison ivy. We were fascinated with the stuff, and the effects it could have on our skin. So fascinated, in fact, that two members of the band decided to take turns slapping each other with poison ivy leaves just to see what would happen. Seriously. They got a little worried after they Googled some of the extreme effects it has had on others. And more worried when they realized they wouldn’t feel any of these effects until the following day. They were under the impression that since they didn’t feel anything right away, they had gotten off scot-free.
We had a great evening at the Inn with Frank and Sandra and their three daughters. We played music late into the night, and their daughter Gabby surprised us all by knowing Keep Your Head Up on fiddle. The night got late, and some of the other Newfoundlanders there had a very early rise to get to their construction jobs, so we hit the hay.
The boys who had slapped each other were poison ivy were relieved to wake up with no blisters or rashes. Frank and Sandra again impressed us by offering to take us out for a boat ride on the lake for the afternoon. We spent the rest of the day diving off the boat and lounging in the sun on a nice secluded part of the lake, truly a highlight of the trip.
The show in their pub that night was sold out. Gabby played fiddle on Keep Your Head Up. After the show we again stayed up late playing acoustic songs with the family and a few members of the audience. Another late night. We woke again to the hospitality of the Whites, who offered us a place to stay after our upcoming gig at the Blue Skies festival (a festival deserving of its own blog), then headed to Kemptville for the next show. Musicians take note – The Crossing Pub and Restaurant in Sharbot Lake should be a stop on anyone’s tour itinerary. We were treated like kings for two nights and played to a sold out crowd in a new town. You can’t ask for much better than that.
I always try to get in a little reading on the road. It’s easy to get reading done in the van when we are inching across the map of Canada, but it seems once we hop out of the van there is always something to do. I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt. Both were fantastic books for a road trip. The main characters in each novel were wandering through their own landscapes, attempting to adhere to their best laid plans while not really knowing what lay ahead. Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.