Jacksonville area trio Grandpa’s Cough Medicine just made their Orlando debut (Nov. 29, Will’s Pub). As you may have divined from their moniker, they’re a traditional bluegrass band. Comprised of banjo, acoustic guitar and stand-up bass, this combo is both true blue and amazingly talented. Like any authentic bluegrass act, those instruments aren’t just up there for looks or texture. In technically skilled hands like these, they’re weapons of expression. And there’s nothing like seeing masters at work, especially when they blaze the more storming end of the genre’s spectrum as these guys do. Between the banjoist and guitarist, in particular, were some real acoustic fireworks. They’re without the flash of rock amplification, but there’s at least as much technical dazzle here as most rock or metal shredders. And every time they go on one of their breathless tears, all I wanna do is dust the sheriff in my General Lee. The blend of rigor and ease with which these boys play is simply jaw dropping.
Original link: http://orlandoweekly.com/music/this-little-underground-1.1411912
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