Press - posted on March 13, 2015 by

Grandpa’s Cough Medicine: Guns, Booze, and Nothing to Lose: 180 Proof

By Ricardo Maldonado for EU Jacksonville

Have you ever drank so much moonshine that you went blind? The music of Jacksonville’s bluegrass trio, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, will do just that to your ears in the best way possible. Their new album titled, 180 Proof, waste no time in jumping straight into 15 beautifully polished songs fueled by love, alcohol, a love for alcohol, and of course, firearms.
The title track and first song on the album depicts how a magical moonshine elixir can be your saving grace and your worst nightmare. 180 proof moonshine has the possibility to be a cure to your sore tooth or a bad night but can also just as easily be the root of your problems. This song sets the pace for a quick moving album that touches on all facets of life in the South. The bluegrass idols of Grandpa’s Cough Medicine can be compared to some of the greats in Metal and Punk when it comes to precise rhythm, skill and speed on their respected stringed instruments. They also have the attitudes to match. These guys can shred and are not afraid to do so as they blaze through songs on guitar, bass, and banjo with the help of a few collaborators on the album, as well. This is not your typical bluegrass band, and they make sure you know that after listening to their music.

The second track on 180 Proof, ‘Liquid Courage’, delivers listeners an uplifting song that motivates you into being yourself, provided there is whiskey, ‘shine or jet fuel in your cup.

The band sure does seem to know how to have a good time, which is clearly evident in this toe-tapping, finger-blistering assortment of songs. Yet there is also beauty to be found beyond their lightning quick rhythms in the harmonious melodies sung over their instruments. Other tracks such as ‘Brand New .22’ and ‘Every Critter in the County’ express the joys of a new gun in comparison to a woman or just the happiness and eventual infamy that comes with killing everything that flies, crawls, or swims in Northeast Florida. A hunter’s insatiable appetite is only met with the frustrations of fishing after there’s nothing left to hunt.

As the album progresses, ‘Keel’s Reel’, is found towards the end, seamlessly embodying the band with a no-words-necessary instrumental. Here, the band lets their instruments speak for themselves in a head-spinning track clocking in at just under four minutes. If Hell had a jamboree, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine would be its eternal headliner.

They close the album with the song ‘Westboro Waltz’, to add social and political commentary in a subtle yet thought-provoking way. The music is first and foremost fun and easy to move to (if you can keep up), but it can also give rise to contemplation of all the good and bad of life in the South.

On February 6, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine played to a full house of eager and excited fans for their CD release party, held at UnderbellyUnderbelly [/p2pin downtown Jacksonville. Following the well-received supporting act, Wetland Stringband, GCM then played their new album 180 Prooffrom front to back, with the exception of one song. The album is an array of short, sweet, fast and loud songs that sound even better in a live setting. The band also took the time to thank everyone in attendance; attributing the fans for being the reason Grandpa’s Cough Medicine won enough prize money at One Spark in 2014 to use towards recording the new album. There is no doubt that the money was well spent on a record that cuts, pokes, and prods your ears with blazing fast guitar, banjo and bass. These One Spark wonders have created the perfect album to soundtrack a hazy weekend of heavy drinking, partying and the occasional critter target practice. Liquid courage is not necessary to enjoy the band or their albums, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

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Press - posted on March 13, 2015 by

Potent bluegrass trio releases new album

180 Proof is another way of saying 90 percent alcohol, the most potent of moonshines. It’s also another way of describing the music contained in the new CD by Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, aptly titled “180 Proof.” GCM is Jacksonville, Fla.’s premiere bluegrass trio, and one of the most potent in the country—scratch that, the world.

Led by one of the true rising stars of flatpicking, Brett Bass will astound with his flawless, lightning-fast leads. He is joined by another rising star, Mike Coker, who’s intensity and perfection on the five-string banjo drops jaws wherever they play, and Jon Murphy, who’s unerring solidity on the bass acts as glue in this amazing trio. On “180 Proof,” the band’s third album, GCM steps it up a notch again, bringing in Randy Kohrs as producer for the second time, and guest artists Hank Williams III, harmonica master Isaac Corbitt (Corbitt Brothers), and fiddlers Jason Carter (Del McCoury Band) and Aaron Till (Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jim Lauderdale, The Mavericks), as well as featuring Kohrs on the dobro on one song. 

“180 Proof” exacerbates the label of “outlaw bluegrass” with tunes like “Liquid Courage,” “Brand New .22,” “Flat Pick-Diculous,” “Respect the Shine,” “Blood and Justice,” and the outstanding title cut featuring a great, enthusiastic vocal from Hank 3. The energy expended on this album will leave you exhausted but ready for more, and might just have you reaching for a good bottle of moonshine.

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Press - posted on March 13, 2015 by

180 Proof review in Bluegrass Today

The last we heard from Grandpa’s Cough Medicine was with their 2012 album, The Murder Chord. It’s title track suggested that a heavy metal chord existed that could induce suburban teens to knock off their parents.

They take a similarly irreverent, impertinent and even somewhat audacious turn on their latest CD, 180 Proof. I mean their web domain is This Sunshine State trio telegraphs where they’re coming from pretty clearly.

Listening to 180 Proof is a bit like bringing a raucous party band home with you from an all-night jam and bacchanaliaSongs about drinkin’ and shootin’ make up a high percentage of the 15 tracks, most written with a wry, tongue-in-cheek, smile-when-you-say-that sort of grin.

But on this project you’ll hear higher production values than on previous releases, and guest appearances from Randy Kohrs, Jason Carter, Aaron Till and Hank Williams III, owing to the band having won a major band contest in Jacksonville, FL in April 2014. The band says that they played 19 sets of music, totaling 19 hours, at last year’s One Spark festival, and won the attendee vote by a wide margin. They took their winnings, along with a bag of rowdy songs, to Slack Key studio in Nashville, where they turned out this fun, and often quite funny, album.

An example would be Every Critter In The County, about a fella who ended up on an all-fish diet after he killed all the game…

Well he done killed every critter in the county
Took a bit too much of nature’s bounty
And soon he’ll lose his mind over a tangled fishin’ line
‘Cause he done killed every critter in the county

Or Brand New .22, which starts off seemingly as a song about picking up a new handgun…

Traded my ol’ .44 for a brand new .22
Given the chance that’s what any man should do

…but you quickly realize that the singer is talking about a new girlfriend instead.

A man is only as old as the woman he feels.


They tackle semi-serious topics here as well, as inWestboro Waltz, where the singer shoots the familiar protesters as they protest at his father’s funeral.

One thing that sets these guys apart from many of the rowdy, bluegrass-ish sorts of bands out there is that they really do have some chops, and have clearly played their share of grass. Banjo player Mike Coker is a solid picker, as is guitarist Brett Bass, who shares the vocal duties with bass player Jon Murphy.

If you are easily offended, or fail to enjoy frat-boy, male-centric humor, save yourself the aggravation and give this one a miss. But those who appreciate the genre will find many a chuckle here. It’s not high art, but could be a great party album for your next festive occasion.

By John Lawless

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