Good For Grapes
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Good For Grapes

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Folk Rock




"Good for Grapes are good for Squamish"

They’re certainly good for more than just grapes.

The young, seven-piece wonder, Good for Grapes, knows how to throw down a foot-stomping, hand-clapping folk jig like no other.

And they set the tone for the Live at Squamish weekend as the opener – their energy alone stood out amongst all five performances Friday night.

If there was a roof, they would have brought it down.

Although a modest crowd for the early evening show, it was a dedicated and involved group. Good for Grapes had the crowd moving, clapping, stomping, singing and dancing along.

Opening with the catchy ‘Skipping Stone,’ not only the lyrics, but their crisp sound make them seem much older than they are (fresh out of high school as of 2010, I believe.)

Their stage presence and the way they work off each other makes it seem like they’ve been at this for a long time, but they only started up about two years ago.

They started by happenstance – taking an experimental trip from their Surrey home over to Victoria to busk – and they must have made a pretty penny.

You can’t help but to stop and listen – but also watch. The music is catchy, but they’re an eye-catching group.

A big part of it is their presence: Racing and dancing around the stage, or the accordion player, Sean MacKeigan’s ecstatic foot-stomping – so fierce he only wears one shoe. But it’s also just for the sheer variety of instruments from trumpet, to trombone, to accordion, to keyboard, to, of course, covering all the basics.

Although the group is still fresh on their path to what’s bound to be a successful career, they already have a faithful group of followers, who were out Friday, cheering as they went into ‘Little Carmichael’ and shouting the lyrics right back at them

But the band remains incredibly humble.

“If you don’t know who we are, we are called Good for Grapes,” the lead, Daniel McBurnie modestly told the crowd, who answered back in cheers.

You just can’t help but smile as you watch the group pound out their music, bursting with sheer joy – when they’re on stage it’s obvious there’s no place they’d rather be.

They even joined the crowd after the show to chat and mingle with fans and festival-goers.

Good for Grapes is bound for greatness – if it isn’t just for the refreshing fact they’re so in love with what they do.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year or two, they’re the ones headlining Live at Squamish.

And I’d love to be right back there, foot-stomping along. - The Province

"Good For Grapes is Good for Vancouver"

News Update: Good for Grapes received 3 nods from the Canada's Got Talent Judges. The judges offered rave reviews across the board and appeared excited to see such a young group playing the funky "granola" grassroots music style.

Take a moment to get to know the band, and be sure to go out and vote when the time comes!

News Release: September 2011
Twenty-five representatives from some of Canada's biggest names in music turned out at a Toronto studio on August 19th to hear a new, young Vancouver-area band that's quickly gained nation-wide traction. Following two national victories in both the Roger's Music Battle of the Bands and Supernova's "Band on the Run to the UK, Surrey-based 'Good For Grapes' attracted the likes of EMI and Warner Music, Feldman, Finkelstein and more who came and stayed for a 6-song showcase of their original folk-fusion at Coalition Studios.

Good For Grapes is a folk inspired band of young 17 to 19-year olds whose sound bears strong emphasis on vocal harmonies and steady rhythms fronting complex but 'radio-friendly' tracks.

Since forming only 11 months ago, the Grapes (Daniel McBurnie, Graham Gomez, Alexa Unwin, Sean Mackeigan, Robert Hardie and Jesse Brook) have quickly built a regional following from a series of high-energy, live performances and feature interviews on Cable Four's "CloseLook."

The originality of using acoustic instruments, including accordion and trombone, has been behind all the buzz they've generated from the Lower Mainland to Ontario. After winning two national competitions within only four months, Good For Grapes was flown to Toronto by Supernova in an all-expenses paid trip to record at Coalition Studios (Our Lady Peace, Simple Plan, Finger Eleven).

The Toronto trip saw Good For Grapes play the first ever private showcase at Coalition for EMI, Warner, SL Feldmen & Associates, The Agency Group, Coalition Entertainment, Arts & Crafts, Bumstead Productions Ltd, Alert Music, Epic Productions, Finkelstein, and Supernova Entertainment. Private meetings followed and the band left with 'tons of positive feedback' and industry reps intent on tracking their progress.

Good For Grapes has already recorded a 6 song EP, which has been highlighted in several reviews and has generated strong sales between i-Tunes and their live appearances. The three new tracks they launched at Coalition are now being completed at Vancouver's own Greenhouse Studios. The finished product will go back to the organizations that saw them play in Toronto and will be looking for a debut on Vancouver radio.

In the local community, Good For Grapes has been involved with many charities and Organizations including Cops for Cancer, SPCA Paws for a Cause, The Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society, and the People's Foundation for Sierra Leone.
- Good News Weekly

"Good for Grapes gets its fans' feet stomping"

The question gets asked so many times that Daniel McBurnie doesn’t even want to answer it anymore. Instead, when the origin of his band’s name comes up, the Good for Grapes singer just hands the phone over to guitarist Graham Gomez.

It turns out that the name was an accident. But whatever the reason for it—and we’ll get to that in a bit—the fruity alliteration hasn’t hurt the group.

Barely two years old, with most of its members just out of high school (recently added drummer Blair Hansen, at 22, is the oldest), Good for Grapes is now well past its early days of busking for change on the streets of Victoria. The Surrey folksters have won top honours in two battle-of-the-bands-type competitions, have appeared on Canada’s Got Talent, and are in the midst of a month-long tour of western Canadian venues and music festivals.

The group even has devoted followers who, at shows, perform an enthusiastic, ritualistic foot-stomp in Good for Grapes’ honour.

“It began as a dance move,” says McBurnie, reached on tour in Red Deer, Alberta. “We started with a very loyal fan base, and they all caught on to this thing. We’d like to take credit for it, but it was the people at our concerts that just started doing this raging stomp move.”

With that kind of reaction, the band’s rose-coloured, strummy sound must be connecting with audiences. Musical references to au courant acts don’t hurt, either; Seattle’s Fleet Foxes are present in the recorded-in-an-empty-mansion vocals of “Skipping Stone”, and British act Mumford & Sons’ pubby folk runs through “Oh Dear”. (Both tracks can be heard on the band’s SoundCloud page.)

But though Good for Grapes falls into the same general Pacific Northwest folk-pop category as fellow locals Hey Ocean! and Said the Whale, the group was different enough to stand out at the Rogers Battle of the Bands, which it won in late 2010.

“We went in with absolutely zero expectations,” says McBurnie. “We didn’t think a lot of these kids would take to the folk sound. We just wanted to play a show. I remember there being a lot of rock bands. It was kind of a shock when we won.”

McBurnie says there was more diversity in Good for Grapes’ next triumph, in Supernova’s Band on the Run to the U.K. Though they came in first in that 2011 competition as well, the group chose a week of recording over the intended prize, a slot at a music festival in London.

Says McBurnie, “We were told, ‘Listen, you guys can do that if you want. Or, instead of spending one day and doing one show there, you can come to Toronto for five days and record and do a showcase for all these industry reps.’ ”

The group opted for the latter—“the better career move”, says McBurnie—and recorded some songs that were finished in Vancouver. (Earlier this year, Good for Grapes also appeared on a few episodes of Canada’s Got Talent, but withdrew before the semifinals. “I’m not sure how much I can really say about that,” says McBurnie. “We decided not to go on with it.” Magician Vladimir the Great replaced them.)

The next step, naturally, is a full-length, which McBurnie says the septet—which also includes Alexa Unwin (piano, vocals), Robert Hardie (bass, vocals), Sean MacKeigan (accordion), and Jesse Brook (trombone, trumpet, flute)—will record later this year. Good for Grapes hopes to release the album, a follow-up to its self-released 2011 EP, on an independent label.

“In our experience of self-promoting, there’s a lot to being in a band nowadays, with all the networking,” says McBurnie. “In theory, you can find money and fund your own album. A label, though, really takes on a lot of the load. They’ll get you on the radio, they’ll help you design artwork.”

And that pretty much sums up the Good for Grapes story so far—except, that is, for the name. Which, from what Gomez tells us, sounds like it came about simply enough.

Planning to busk in Victoria, the four pals who would form the core of the band—Unwin, Gomez, McBurnie, and Hardie—started practising on the ferry deck. A crowd gathered; instantly won over, people demanded a name. After some awkward glances, someone recalled what Gomez had said earlier on the boat when he’d declined Unwin’s offer of a snack: “No, thanks, I’m good for grapes.”

And that is how you name a folk-pop band. - The Straight

"Shucks! That was a good time!! (Opening for Paper Lions)"

However the surprise of the night was the second band Good For Grapes. A self-proclaimed [folk] band who are a complete pleasure to see live. Their energy on stage is astounding and their furious rhythms brought out the folk stomp in everyone, causing the wooden floor of The Cobalt to vibrate like a folkquake.

Amazing harmonies along with well-crafted lyrics and melodies Good For Grapes will no doubt get bigger and bigger and be around for a long time. A six piece freight train of folk music, this is a band that you have to check out. - VanMusic

"Sound Bites: Album Reviews"

Local band Good for Grapes has released a six-track long EP, or so the back of the cover says, but once you find yourself humming along to each carefully constructed song, you find a bonus in the untitled and unrecognized seventh track: a little gift for the superfan, if you will. From the first track, it becomes clear that this band has both unique talent and creativity among all five band members, combined with an expanding range of influences from Mumford & Sons to Bon Iver. They make harmonies sincere with a range of instrumentations, which both elevates the lyrical quality and keeps it from being too much like an a capella choir. Though a lot of songs in this genre can feel the same and can feel that they go on for too long, Good for Grapes makes each track individual and intriguing, hooking listeners as each song offers something new. Without knowing it, a handful of looped listens will go by with you humming along as if you’d known them for years. - Amy Van Veen


Latest Single:
Skipping Stone

Good For Grapes EP:
A Worthier Man
Petty Change
My Bass
London Fog
Bad Apple
Ten Years in the Park
Wicker Hat (bonus track)



Good For Grapes formed in September 2010, after a group of friends took a trip to Victoria, BC for some modest busking. Since the moment they stepped onto the ferry, they were an attraction. After drawing unexpected crowds, this young and aspiring band took form. The original and talented six-piece ensemble embodies an array of harmonizing voices and instruments.

In 2013, the group signed with Toronto-based label, Pheromone Recordings (Mo Kenney, The Dears, The Wilderness of Manitoba), and subsequently released their debut album, Man On The Page in October, 2013.


Pheromone founder, Kim Cooke, on signing the band:

“Every once in a great while you hear new music and you just know. So it was with Good For Grapes. Pheromone is super stoked to sign on and contribute to their development.”

Produced by Colin Stewart (Yukon Blonde, Dan Mangan), the band recorded Man on the Page at Hive Studios in Vancouver. The record is a proper reflection of their energetic stage presence, bursting rhythms and tight harmonies.

Good for Grapes has come a long way since entering their very first Battle of the Bands (Rogers urMusic Battle of the Bands), where they surprised the community by winning the Vancouver vote. As if this wasn’t enough, the competition found them winning the National vote by a landslide, making them the unmistaken National winners. Soon after, they entered Supernova’s “Band on the Run to the UK” competitiom where they drew a huge and unexpected crowd, again winning the National Vote. Ever since, the young band has been playing an array of shows and has captured the attention of the Canadian music industry. The band’s humble beginnings of playing in support of charities and foundations has allowed their unique sound to be welcomed by a variety of venues and audiences. Through this, they have gained a loyal fan base, which continues to grow at every turn.

In the year since Good For Grapes released their debut album, they’ve headlined two Canada-wide tours and played many reputable festivals and showcases, including SXSW in Texas, Squamish Valley Music Festival, Tall Tree Music Fest, and Canadian Music Week. They’ve also performed at the storied Vancouver Folk Festival and Edmonton Folk Fest, where they were named Best Emerging Artist in 2013.


Good for Grapes recently wrapped up their third Canadian tour, supporting their new single “Skipping Stone”, which has received airplay on CBC and radio stations across the country. With a music video by Tommy Lee, who also produced the video for their song “Renminbi Tips”, the band has quickly gained national traction on the strength of their debut album: a recording that captures their energetic stage presence, bombastic rhythms, and tight harmonies. In November 2014, Good For Grapes beat out heavy competition and were awarded the grand prize of the Peak Performance Project BC, earning $102,700.00 to use toward furthering their career. In the spring of 2015 they head back into the studio to record the highly anticipated follow-up to their debut album.


Band Members