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The Dirty Old One Man Band

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Album Review

Taking the White Stripes' stripped-down duo approach one step backwards, Austin's Scott H. Biram is, as the title of this album indicates, a one-man show. Sure, there are plenty of solo blues and country players, but none who sound quite as plugged-in and driven as he does. His fourth album, and first for insurgent country label Bloodshot, comes after a near fatal car accident all but had him meeting his deceased blues heroes. He survived, and the near-death experience sure hasn't lessened the grinding, stomping, naked blues and country that Biram has been perfecting on his previous releases. If anything, it is now more relentless. The titles of those older albums — Low-Fi Mojo and Preachin' and Hollerin' — perfectly describe his unhinged, slightly demonic approach. Take the Legendary Shack Shakers and then add Dexter Romweber singing through his harp mike, and you're on the way to jumping on Biram's turbulent train. This disc mixes a few traditional tunes with originals, but there is nothing conventional about the punked-up style. Mostly electric, Biram unplugs briefly for "Wreck My Car" (not a reference to his own unfortunate events), a folksy but appropriately dark love tale that fits fine with the rest of the album. Even the spiritual tunes such as "I See the Light/What's His Name?" have a tenacious, almost antagonistic quality that makes the religious references secondary to their in-your-face intensity. Imagine ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons starting out in a garage and you have an indication of Biram's gruff, often cartoonish references to whiskey, truck driving, and "Blood, Sweat and Murder." He reprises the riff from "Tequila" in "Whiskey" but never bothers to give a writing credit, and follows it with a typically deranged version of "Muleskinner Blues" complete with fancy guitar picking and yodels that sound like they are emerging from the depths of hell. Two tracks feature the Weary Boys on unadorned accompaniment, adding mandolin and fiddle, but no percussion, to the mayhem. The closing three tracks are recorded on-stage, but that just adds audience participation to what seems like a live in the studio disc. Not for the meek, Biram's hardcore blues and country go down like cheap moonshine from a backwoods still.

Customer Reviews

SHB - Can You Say RAW?

Of the hundreds of artists and thousands of songs on my iPod, Scott H. Biram tops them ALL! Foot stompin', passionate screamin' and hollerin', and some ultra fierce guitar pluckin' are in store for anyone purchasing his music. I only wish that the iTunes website would feature some of his other great discs as well ("This is Kingsbury?", "Preachin' and Hollerin'", and "Lo-Fi Mojo") and help put the word out for everyone else to "See the Light"! His sound borrows bits and pieces from some of the old blues masters and folk singers from way-back-when, but the sum of all of his parts is all his own. Biram's injection of humor into his music is welcome, too; just check out "Downtown Chicken" or "Blood Sweat and Murder" (with the classic line "you know I love you baby / Wanna be with you Bi*ch!"). This man makes a ton of great music with nothing but his guitar, mic, stompin' left foot, and wailing voice; to pass it up would be a cotton-pickin' shame. Seeing him live in concert? Surreal. Check out a song or two, and you'll find yourself becoming a convert to "The First Church of the Ultimate Fanaticism" too! Keep it going, Hiram!

Punk Blues With A Gospel Twist

Scott (Hiram) Biram is one of the few artist out there who is keeping our kind of music alive and reinventing it. He's not for sale and you know what's good for you, you'll see him live, even if you have to drive a few hours to get to him. If you anything about GOOD music, you'll find out that all S.H.B.'s albums are bad to the bone. Now Shut Up And Listen

One Man Wrecking Ball

I saw him play a small club the same evening I picked up the album. This guy combines the best aspects of original dirty blues with a touch of honky-tonk and the chainsaw grind of metal. The stripped-down sound is as straightforward and honest as a kick in the teeth. No flash, no bullsh**, just what it should be.

Biography

Born: April 4, 1974 in Lockhart, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Scott H. Biram offers up a unique blend of "real" country, old-school acoustic blues, and punk, with influences ranging from Minor Threat and Slayer to Bill Monroe and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Biram is a one-man band, playing all his songs on a 1959 Gibson hollow body guitar and an amplified "stomp board," yet each song is unique, and Biram dishes out a rare sense of self-confidence and independence rivaled by the originators of outlaw country music themselves. Describing his music as "the bastard...
Full Bio