Grandpa’s Cough Medicine blew the crowd away at Will’s Pub last Thursday night, the 29th with their picking so fast it was amazing the strings didn’t fly off. The three piece group preformed in perfect original bluegrass harmonizing heaven.
Standing across the stage in a straight line all in a uniform of plaid and blue jeans, they began with an instrumental song that picked the crowd up and prepared them for some fast grass. The crowd responded with good old fashion country stepping, swinging, and screaming growing more and more enticed by every note. One man even got down on his knee to propose a dance to the lovely lady of his choice. Grandpa’s Cough Medicine sang raw, tough lyrics surrounding the themes of drinking, ‘perpetual sinning machines,’ and vigilantism. Their lyrics embodied fresh recitatif narratives that enthralled the listeners. They amplified a perfect form of synchronic rhythm and rhyme that boomed through each person’s body and into their dancing or swaying steps.
Brett Bass was able to work the guitar at the speed of light partially because of his background in heavy metal music. Mikey Coker plunked his banjo with such ferocity in a finger flying frenzy that some people were saying it was the fastest they’d seen him play. While Jon Murphy slapped his stand-up bass at some points as if it were a drum adding an interesting addition to the musical trio. They preformed an array of songs from their newest album Murder Chord that brought more heart-hitting songs where they sing about real guttural truths.
One song that struck the audience as they struck their strings was ‘Julianne,’ which talks about a girl that leaves her boyfriend high and dry during a bank heist. They compose many of their songs to be compelling instrumental storytelling. Other songs, they choose to play in instrumental with extremely rapid plucking; one of which was ‘Border Patrol’ where they incorporate a classic Latin rhythm into their style. Their style at the same time, being in the genre bluegrass still can touch anyone with its versatile allure.
When told that they could ‘play all night’ by the sound guy Brett Bass said, “My lady’s not here- that’s the only time I go all night.” For their first time playing in Orlando, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine consistently picked the crowd up and never let them down.
All words by Rachel Gonzalez
Original link: http://lightthenightup.com/ltnup-presents-grandpas-cough-medicine-live/
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 4:37 pm | Updated: 4:52 pm, Tue Nov 20, 2012.
One part whiskey, one part honey, one part lemon makes a pretty effective cough medicine, so says Brett Bass, the lead guitarist of outlaw bluegrass band Grandpa’s Cough Medicine.
A stalwart of the Jacksonville music scene for the last four years and hailing from Atlantic Beach, Florida, this trio made up of Bass, Mike Coker on banjo, and Jon Murphy on stand-up bass, GCM has appeared multiple times at Suwannee Springfest and Magnolia Fest, and is constantly playing around its home base, creating a loyal following of fans that love the band’s irreverent approach to traditional bluegrass.
Each member is remarkably accomplished at his instrument, but despite that the band is shunned by “traditional” bluegrass players. Maybe it’s the way guitarist Brett Bass uses the heavy metal stylings of his youth to take his flatpicking style to a level one could only call speed-metal bluegrass. Maybe it’s the way Mike Coker emulates Earl Scruggs’ style on the banjo, yet with a frenetic aspect that would thrill any metal-head. Maybe it’s Jon Murphy’s relentless thump and slap of the bass that leaves no foot motionless. Or maybe it’s the fact that these guys avoid the gospel aspects of bluegrass, and the love ballads, exchanging all that smarmy stuff for all the dark aspects: murder songs, songs about corrupt politicians, lots of drinking songs, jealous lovers with chainsaws … you’ll hear them all on their sophomore release, “The Murder Chord.”
The album has it all, from crooked cops to murdering thieves, and plenty of hot bluegrass pickin’. Randy Kohr’s production is clean and devoid of the trappings of Nashville, giving Bass’s powerful baritone voice the clarity it deserves while avoiding that annoying tone employed by so many other country singers. Beyond the fact that Bass’s flatpicking skills can and should be mentioned in the same sentence as Tony Rice and Larry Keel, the way these guys work together is nothing short of thrilling. Tight harmonies and rhythms complete the perfection of the band’s music, and that combined with their fine songwriting skills make Grandpa’s Cough Medicine one of the great bluegrass bands of today, despite what the “traditionalists” say.
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Original link: http://www.oanow.com/the_corner_news/music/wildman_picks/article_e747e814-3362-11e2-93b4-001a4bcf6878.html
This is a project of all-original material from this Florida-based band, and given the rather gruesome theme (and graphics), the music is good, interesting, and enjoyable. The project is a Randy Kohrs production recorded in Nashville with Brett Bass (guitar, resonator guitar), Jon Murphy (bass), and Mike Coker (banjo), with guest Aaron Till (fiddle). These guys are good both instrumentally (with plenty of hot picking) and vocally (with good leads and harmony blends). The song arrangements are enjoyable with their tongue-in-cheek approach to their material. Songs include “Hurtin’,” a hangover repentance, “A Boy And His Dog,” an ode to his faithful friend, and “Julianne,” love gone wrong. “Border Patrol” is a Latin-flavored instrumental where everyone cuts loose including Aaron Till with a fiddle break. Other tunes include “Crooked Cop,” “The Girl I Learned To Love,” and “The Saddest Song No One Has Even Heard.” The two most gruesome tunes are “Bullet For A Thief” and “The Murder Chord,” best left to the listener to define. The most pleasant song of the set is “Arizona Sky” which shows the band in a lighter mood. We’re sure to be hearing more from Grandpa’s Cough Medicine.