Ottawa

Ambush and Liberty are Ottawa's CBC Searchlight regional finalists

When it comes to experience, the two Ottawa regional representatives of this years CBC Searchlight competition couldn't be more different.
Ambush has been playing in eastern Ontario and west Quebec for more than 20 years. From left to right: drummer Dan Killen, guitarist Mark McDonell and bassist Kris Lafontaine.

When it comes to experience, the two Ottawa regional representatives of this year's CBC Searchlight competition couldn't be more different.

The band Liberty, selected as the regional representative, is a five-piece band of Christian rockers, three of whom met at Algonquin College.

But they only came together to record their Searchlight entry — the power-pop tune Explode — according to lead singer Zachary Martin.

"Quite honestly, we sort of made [the band] up for the contest," Martin told All in a Day host Alan Neal. "But, man, I'm super stoked that people are liking it."

On the other end of the spectrum is Ambush, a country band that's been playing in one form or another since 1993.

Ambush's song, Rollin like a Wagon Wheel, was selected as a second regional entry based on popular vote.

Singer and guitarist Mark McDonell said the band has gained a dedicated following and has stayed in the game by playing stages big and small, including weddings and private parties.

This also isn't Ambush's first rodeo in a music contest. In 2006 the band was crowned champions of the CMT reality series Plucked.

"We just do so many shows and our fans are so loyal to us when we announced that we were doing that and that it was a competition, we did very well in the voting," said McDonnell.

 Voting for the national round closes on May 9, 2016 at 2:59 p.m. ET.