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Good Brothers

Origin: Richmond Hill, Ontario, 🇨🇦

Wide Awake Dreamin’, the title of The Good Brothers current album, aptly conveys how the brothers feel as they reflect on decades of writing, recording and performing music together.

In 1970 twin brothers Bruce and Brian Good of Richmond Hill, Ontario, met James Ackroyd from Winnipeg, Manitoba and formed a band simply called James and The Good Brothers. Their first show was with Grand Fund Railroad at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Then came the cross Canada tour on the outrageous Festival Express with such artists as The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Ian & Sylvia, Ten Years After, Traffic and The Band just to name a few. With a little help from friends The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, they recorded their first album on Columbia records. What excitement - the nights at the renowned Troubadour in West Hollywood, the gigs at San Francisco's famed Fillmore West and Winterland Ballroom with The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the New Riders of The Purple Sage.

Later, James would choose to remain in the U.S. while the brothers returned home to Canada and recruited younger brother Larry. This was 1973 and would be the beginning of a wonderful musical trip... The Good Brothers. Their first gig was the legendary Toronto club The Riverboat, on May 14, 1974. They played simple, straight from the soul music that encompassed country, bluegrass, folk, Celtic and the occasional taste from their rock & roll songbook. Highlighted by Larry's fiery banjo breaks, Bruce's award winning autoharp styles, Brian’s guitar finger picking and their unique sibling harmonies, they produced enough energy to burn down the barn.

It wasn't long before The Good Brothers were packing Toronto's fabled El Mocambo five nights a week; breaking bar records, attendance records and exhausting determined dancers. Then there were eight straight Juno awards for Best Country Group, and headline gigs at Toronto’s Massey Hall and Roy Thompson Hall, The National Art Centre in Ottawa and the weeks at L.A.'s Universal Amphitheatre with their mentor Gordon Lightfoot. There was even a certified gold self-titled double album.

They kept the flame glowing, and the music flowing through out the 80's and 90's and beyond. Canada's musical soundtrack, through all those years, included The Good Brothers.

In 2004 they were honoured by being inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame as well as two nominations for Country Group and Roots Artist of the year at the Canadian Country Music Awards. In 2015 they received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Toronto Musicians Association and in 2016 were inducted into the North American Country Music Association International Hall of Fame in Tennessee.

In 2019 The Brothers received the Impact Award from The Country Music Association of Ontario which recognizes artists and individuals who have made a lasting impact on the landscape of country music in the province.

This year The Good Brothers are off to Europe again, marking their 41st tour on the other side of the Atlantic. To see the brothers live is an experience not to be missed. The music, intertwined with side splitting stories and song introductions are said to be as entertaining as their songs.

Today the warm family harmonies are still there on their sixteenth recording titled “Wide Awake Dreamin”. Their music lives on and the songs still come straight from their hearts to your tapping toes and the smile on your face.

The Good Brothers. Country group based in Richmond Hill, near Toronto. It was formed in 1969 as a country-folk group, James and the Good Brothers, by the guitarist James Ackroyd and the twins Bruce and Brian Good (autoharpist and guitarist respectively, b Toronto 27 Jan 1946). In 1970 the trio travelled across Canada with the Festival Express and recorded its first LP in San Francisco. By 1972, Larry Good (banjo player, b Newmarket, Ont, 25 Jan 1952) had taken Ackroyd's place. The three brothers made their debut together that year at the Riverboat and continued together, with a backing musicians, until Larry's departure in 1991. His place was taken by Bruce's son Travis (b Richmond Hill 10 Apr 1968) who had previously served as the band's lead guitarist. The brothers' sidemen over the years also have included the fiddlers John (J.P.) Allen and Carl Keys and the guitarists Laurice Milton 'Red' Shea, Danny McBride, and Pat Rush.

Working at first as a bluegrass-based group, the 'Goods' broadened their music to include, and soon be taken over by, a country-rock style that was in truth ahead of its time and left them caught between two audiences. In 1976 they nevertheless won a Big Country award for outstanding group performance and in 1977 they received the first of eight consecutive Juno awards as country group of the year, reflecting in part the success of such songs as 'That's the Kind of Man I Am' and 'Midnight Flight' (1976), 'Homemade Wine' (1977), 'Truck Driver's Girl' (1978), and 'Some Kind of Woman' (1979) for RCA, and 'Brown Eyed Girl' (1980-1) and 'Summertime' (1982) for Solid Gold. Several hits followed for Savannah: 'Better Off Alone' (1987), 'Gone So Long' and 'You Won't Fool This Fool' (1988), 'Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young' and 'She Told Me So' (1990), and 'We Don't Always See Eye to Eye' (1991). The double LP The Good Brothers Live sold more than 50,000 copies in Canada.

The Goods, known for their boisterous live performances, moved from Toronto-area bars and high schools to a national concert circuit that included, in the late 1970s, Massey Hall, the NAC, and Hamilton Place. For the most part, however, they have performed in clubs and community centres, and at festivals and fairs, across Canada, averaging 150 dates a year. The brothers appeared at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1976, toured in the USA ca 1980 with Gordon Lightfoot, and returned thereafter for occasional appearances in New York (eg, at the Lone Star Café, in the early 1980s) and Nashville. They performed in 1985 in Czechoslovakia and had made four other tours in Europe by 1991, enjoying particular success in Holland.

Further Reading
Kirkland, Bruce. 'The Good Brothers make good, good, good music,' Toronto Star, 4 May 1974

Batten, Jack. 'Rustic soul,' The Canadian, 7 Jan 1978

McGuirk, Henry. 'The Good Brothers: the best is yet to come!!' CMN, vol 8, Jul 1987

Delaney, Larry. 'The Good Brothers,' CMN, vol 11, May 1990


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