Grandpa’s Cough Medicine’s new album 180 Proof is rip-roaring, rowdy, and fun. But, let me be clear right off the bat. There is such a thing as “outlaw bluegrass,” the Earl Brothers being another good example, and the music of Grandpa’s Cough Medicine is truly on the edge and Rated-R at the least for language and content. There is no pretense here, no “making appearances” and then doing the outlaw thing on the side. This excellent album is straight, no chaser, with some fine hot picking to boot.
One good example of their musical grit is the song “Van Trip.” There have always been murder ballads in bluegrass music, but this one leaves no doubt as to its approach with lyrics such as: My girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends are in the back of my van/They’re in for some trouble because I’m a jealous man/Ain’t none of them prepared for what I’m about to do/There’s a swamp down in the holler, with a little run-down shack/There’s five of us going, and only one is coming back.
The group is made up of guitarist and vocalist Brett Bass, Mike Coker on the five-string, and bassist Jon Murphy. (Bass was tapped by the Travelin’ McCourys for a multi-day run in Florida, so his flatpicking bonafides are for real.) Produced by Randy Kohrs, 180 Proof lives up to its name with all-original songs such as “Liquid Courage,” “Brand New .22,” “Respect The Shine,” “Blood And Justice,” and “Every Critter In The County.” Hold on to your horses boys and girls, brace yourself before sipping, and be prepared to take a walk on the wild and fun side of bluegrass music. (www.outlawbluegrass.com)DH