Hamilton blues/punk hybrid Beard is gearing up to ask for your votes.

The two-piece, which drummer/vocalist Kevin Delaney likens to "dirty, sleazy slide blues gumbo," is just one of over 30 bands from Hamilton that have signed up for the CBC Music Searchlight competition.

"I think it's a wicked way to get involved with the CBC and get the CBC involved with the Hamilton music scene," Delaney said.

Here's how the contest works: until Feb. 14, musicians (including solo artists, duos and groups of any genre) can head to cbcmusic.ca/searchlight and enter by creating an artist profile on CBC Music, selecting one original song to represent them in the contest and agreeing to the contest rules and regulations/consent form.

Then starting on Feb. 18, people who enter the competition will compete for online votes for their song against other artists from Hamilton. From March 11 to April 12, finalists from all over Canada will go on to compete in a national vote for the grand prize winner of the contest.

The national grand prize winner will receive $20,000 in music equipment from Yamaha, an opening act slot on a high-profile music showcase in Toronto (including transportation and accommodations) and an audio/video session that will be featured on CBC Music.

Delaney says he has no idea what his band's chances are in the competition, seeing as Hamilton alone is filled with talent — nevermind the rest of the country.

"There are tons of bands that deserve it more that us — but regardless, this is a great way to connect with other musicians."

For more information on the contest, head over to cbcmusic.ca/searchlight.