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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Press - posted on February 25, 2015 by

Gov-Fest Live Reviews

Sometimes, you look at a band schedule for a festival, and you think, “HUH? How is that going to work?” How do you go from a jazzy funk band to… outlaw bluegrass? Double-bass, guitar and banjo? What?

Survey says: it was perfect. Grandpa’s Cough Medicine are sick, sick puppies, right up my alley. I was happy to get their new CD release, 180 Proof, which is actually a pretty good description of their music. If all GCM ever did was pick, you would say they are superb. I’m not a huge bluegrass nut, but it is hard to imagine the music gets much better than that.

The music, however, is only half the deal. Their incredible song lyrics are the other half. They look like regular guys, but once they get to singin’, you’d best back up. You might get lulled with drinking songs (the title track and “Liquid Courage”). Then they drop a tune called “Crooked Cop,” followed by “Brand New .22,” a recommendation to trade in your .44 for a .22, with the refrain “A man is only as old as the woman he feels.”

They also delighted the crowd with “Jailbird Blues,” “Denim Prison” and “Blood and Justice,” a song about hunting for pedophiles: “They sentenced you to death the day they set you free.” Alrighty, then! After hearing Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, you truly understand the meaning of the phrase: PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’.


Back on the Love Fest stage, those wild outlaw bluegrass boys from the other Florida end of I-10 were back for more mayhem.Grandpa’s Cough Medicine have a great – and well-deserved – following. I am proud to join them. I noted that the two words to describe them are “pickin’ and grinnin’,” because that’s what they do and that’s what you’ll do. In fact, they kicked off with “Time to Do Some Pickin’” (that might not be the right title, but it’s for sure the correct sentiment). We got another round of vigilante “Blood and Justice,” and they did a fitting song called “(I Haven’t Worked Since I Was) Paid to Play.” How this trio isn’t a national sensation is beyond me. I take that back, looking at the state of the music industry. These boys are too damn good!

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