Grandpa’s Cough Medicine

by erin thursby
Just about six months old, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine is but a tottering babe on the Jacksonville band scene. Still, they’re noteworthy because they’ve got a fresh old sound that’s just a little Merle Haggard and Hank Williams III. They’re not afraid to whip out the bluegrass, old school country and the occasional “f*ck.” We asked band member Brett Bass about the band’s origins, plans and sound.

EU: How’d the band get together?
BB: Well, me and James, James the banjo player, we always used to play bluegrass at each other’s house because we’re friends. That’s what we’d do when we hung out. We had all these songs written and really, they didn’t have a home…a friend of ours introduced us to Jeremy, the drummer-he used to play drums in a honky-tonk band in Gainesville. So the three of us would get together and jam. Eventually we just put an ad up on Craigslist saying that we were starting a honky-tonk band. We got all three other players…off of Craigslist.

EU: Can you tell us a little about each band member?
BB: I’m a massage therapist, that’s what I do for a living…I work doing that and I play my instruments during the day when I don’t have appointments…James, he’s a full time student at UNF and works delivering pizzas. Jeremy, the drummer, he’s a beer truck drivin’ man. He delivers beer all over town for Champion Brand. Heather, she was born and raised in Kentucky, but was a classically trained violinist and I think she’s a nanny when she’s not going to school and stuff. John, the bass player works behind the scenes at different TV stations like WJCT.

EU: How would you define your music?
BB: I’d say we play hard-driving country music with a lot of bluegrass influence in it. With a respect for the classic country like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr., people like that.

EU: The good stuff.
BB: Yeah, none of that pop country bullsh*t you hear on the radio.

Band members include Brett Bass on acoustic guitar and dobro, James Lentz strumming the 5-string banjo, Jeremy Mayr providing the beat, Tim Dean on the electric guitar and mandolin, Jon Murphy plucking the upright bass and Heather Norwood rocking fiddle. Bass, Dean, Murphy and Norwood all provide vocals, though Bass is the front man most of the time.
Check out Grandpa’s Cough Medicine on December 12 at Jack Rabbits. You can catch some sweet music and feel good about giving back by attending. Cover is an unwrapped toy (which will benefit a toy drive) or $10.