Sherman’s radio-friendly brand of upbeat folk/pop has always appealed to a large demographic. After releasing his 2009 debut “Honey For Bees”, Sherman took his engaging performances to stages ranging from the Vancouver Olympics to Australia’s Woodford Folk Festival, earning international radio play. His highly anticipated second release “The Sun In Your Eyes”, recorded with his band The Ambiguous Case, was awarded MusicNL’s ‘Pop/Rock Recording of the Year’ and earned him Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘SOCAN Songwriter of the Year’ distinction as well as an ECMA nomination for Group Recording of the Year. The album’s first single ‘Thick as Thieves’ won him CBC’s inaugural Searchlight Prize as Canada’s Best New Artist, while increasing his profile as a touring act and garnering an even broader fan base.
Sherman’s latest venture zeroes in on the ordinary; the day to day. Whether it’s letting loose in a local dance hall, people-watching from the front porch, or playing with love in an out-of-the-way gas station – the songs on this album offer a thoughtful commentary on what it might be like to push beyond what is merely comfortable. The characters help the listener find solace in song.
Horn-heavy with strings throughout, Sherman’s latest release, ’The New Beautiful’, moves through moments of pure 70s nostalgia, while at other times embraces the folk and country roots Sherman cut his teeth on. Fans of his first two albums will be happy to hear familiar character-driven songs, but will no doubt notice a new musical exploration. Downey delves into straight-up keys-pop before switching into gritty up-close-and-personal meandering on parlour guitar or piano; strings and electric guitar sweep in to carry you giddily through the album. This collection of songs may very well be a response to the departure of Downey’s bandmates and to the new territory in which he finds himself; an answer to ‘Now what?’ and ‘What if?’.
While in the studio, producer Daniel Ledwell sat with Sherman to listen to an eclectic variety of musical samplings taken from each of their collections. From Rodriguez to Roxy Music, Beirut to Billy Joel, with Neil Young, Wilco, Jim Sullivan and Roger Miller thrown in the mix, Downey moves enthusiastically into new sonic territory.