Every so often, an artist comes along, playing music that makes you stop in your tracks and say, 'Yeah, that's exactly what I needed.' Scott H. Biram is that artist.— All Music Guide
Carrying his guitar and harmonica into hell's mouth, he's going it alone in more ways than one, calling out to God but not terribly sure he's going to get an answer.— Chicago Reader
His barbarous exorcism of Depression-era blues--with a bedrock of frantic flatpicking, foot stomps into a floor mike, and gutteral growls through a distortion mike--has made Biram a rising star in Austin.— No Depression
With the heart of a genuine Texas bluesman, the head (banging) of a Zappa and Lemmy disciple, and boots resting in the dust outside of town at sunrise, Scott H. Biram journeys through the harrowing human condition like no one else. A walk on the Biram side straddles the chasm between sin and redemption and The Bad Testament lands somewhere west of the Old Testament and south of an AA handbook. It’s a record of hard-grinding lost love, blues and deep, dark Americana.
Scott H. Biram conjured the words and music for The Bad Testament during mad alchemical sessions at his homemade studio in Austin, TX. Through stacks of amps, spools of cable, and a prodigious collection of microphones, he spread his technical wings wide, while never losing the immediacy honed from a life on the road. He added a drum kit and rustic vocal duet to his skill set (which already includes all guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, and percussion on the album). And strip away the one-man band eccentricity, SHB is out-writing any meeting taker on Music Row. The man writes on a razor’s edge of aggression and deftness, thoroughly contemporary but steeped in the backwaters, back porches and back alleys of our collective musical heritage.
Many in the one-man band field find their groove and stay in it, but stay in a groove too long and it becomes a rut. SHB has the groove, but never falls into a rut. On “Set Me Free” and “Red Wine” the wandering country soul of Jimmie Rodgers and the laid-back cool of Merle Haggard ride well with SHB’s distorted punk; it’s the 2-sided jukebox hit at the honky-tonk behind the looking glass of CBGB’s. “Righteous Ways” and “Still Around,” mellower, but no less determined, sound right out of the Folkways canon. Speaking to eternities and charlatans, Biram’s freewheelin’ with an edgy take on the Newport Folk vibe. With its surprisingly melancholy organ and in the back of the pocket tattered soul, “Crippled & Crazy,” recalls The Band. The haunting harmonica-soaked ballad “Long Old Time” is a chilling taste of existential desolation, “It’s gonna be a long old time/ before I pay for the crime that I done.” This is one lost highwayman.
Fear not, though, Biram is still The Dirty Old One Man Band. His brand of unvarnished and unhinged aggro-roots remains as exciting as ever. “Trainwrecker” blasts down the two-laner with the breathless fervor of a redneck metal “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone.” Try NOT singing along in the best Nordic Doom Metal voice we all carry around buried within our darker selves. He’s downright blunt on the R-rated Boomhauer TX rant “Swift Driftin’”: “It takes a real piece of shit to be a real piece of shit/ You should really just be headed on your way.” Yet the stark acoustic guitar country blues is updated and self-aware - a profane reboot of personal heroes Leadbelly and Mississippi Fred McDowell. The instrumental “Hit the River” is a throw the devil horns slide guitar boogie right in that sweet Biram groove. And. It. Will. Not. Let. Go. It’s short, not-so-sweet, and leaves you panting for more.
Scott H Biram is THE one-man band. The master of the realm. Why? Because even though he’s one man, he ain’t one thing.
Scott H. Biram isn't a one-man band. He is THE one-man band
Quoth he: "My music is the bastard child of Punk, Blues, Country, Hillbilly, Bluegrass, Chain Gang, Metal, and Classic Rock." But don't let that fool you. Two-man bands like the Black Keys have made a lot of noise in the past few years, but Biram's got twice the cri de couer with half the personnel. He fearlessly preachs his gospel of blues, punk, country, metal and psychobilly to his congregation of metalheads,barflies, college professors and regular dudes via a pulpit that is just a stack of amps, a '59 hollow body Gibson and a stomp board.
The Clash did Combat Rock, Biram traffics in Combat Blues. Don't be fooled by the whiskey and chicken antics, SHB has become a pre-eminent bluesman for the 21st century; when he gets locked in, when that groove is hooked, there are few better pure country blues artists out there. It's alternately hypnotic and harrowing.
Biram will still the room with haunting and sparse West Texas blues and then it upside down, into a truck driver's mosh pit, part Sam Kinison, part GWAR and part Holy Ghost. Like he sez, it might be baptism, or it might be a murder.
His singing, yodeling, growling, leering and brash preachin' and hollerin' is accompanied by sloppy riffs and licks and pounding backbeat brought forth by his amplified left foot. The remainder of this one-man band consists of an unwieldy combination of beat-up amplifiers and old microphones strung together by a tangled mess of guitar cables.
Years of compulsive touring, along with a steady diet of down and dirty blues, rock, punk, country, and hillbilly have developed Scott H. Biram's signature concoction, attracting a hefty array of fans who dig the bizarre and twisted sides of the rock and roll spectrum. His live shows unleash a Lemmy-sized metal attitude, a stomping, pulsing John Lee Hooker-channeling, and cockeyed tales of black water baptisms and murder, all while romanticizing the on-the-road lifestyle.
Scott H. Biram won't die, either. On May 11th, 2003, one month after being hit head-on by an 18-wheeler at 75 MPH, he took the stage at The Continental Club in Austin, TX in a wheel chair--I.V. still dangling from his arm. With 2 broken legs, a broken foot, a broken arm and 1 foot less of his lower intestine, Biram unleashed his trademark musical wrath. When, less than a year later, Scott H. Biram took the stage at his 2004 SXSW festival showcase right after Kris Kristofferson he was quoted as growling "They said that was a hard act to follow... I'm a hard act to follow, motherfuckers!!" The stunned crowd looked on.
And the legend grows.
Official Website: Scott H. Biram Online