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

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.

Grandpas_Cough_Medicine_CoverThe 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 Proof from 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.

Grandpa’s Cough Medicine will perform March 20th at Suwannee Springfest.

About Ricardo Maldonado