MUSIC REVIEW: Scott H. Biram ‘Nothin’ But Blood’
By M. Alberto Rivera // November 6, 2014
equal lyrical weight to God, alcohol, murder
ABOVE VIDEO: From Scott H. Biram’s 2014 Bloodshot Records album ‘Nothin’ But Blood’.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA –Artists with a tendency to give equal lyrical weight to God, alcohol and murder as they try to make sense of life have always fascinated me.
Largely because they seem to place the same amount of emotional stock in the solutions brought on by whiskey, Jesus, and/or handguns, alone, or in combination.
Scott H. Biram is such an artist. You could get away with calling him an outlaw country musician and you wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s too tidy and concise a label. He’s more complicated than that. The music is pretty evenly split between aggressive, driven songs, held together with as much tension as spite, and tender reflections of hopeful anticipation.
Biram eyes his own visceral shortcomings in his songwriting with, “I’ll be the one says when I’ve had enough,” on “Only Whiskey.”
“Gotta Get to Heaven” contemplates how he’s going to make the move skyward now that he’s parked six feet below. “Nam Weed” is one haggard vets recollection about the long gone days which haunt him still. “Church Point Girls” feels like it’s about to come apart as soon as it starts.
The disc on a whole moves effortlessly from uptempo number to soft strummer, and back up again. It’s meant to be listened to as a whole piece of work. And to be sure the songs stand fine on their own, but collectively they are as hauntingly gothic as anything Tennessee Williams managed to commit to paper.
Biram tackles the Doc Watson number, “I’m Troubled,” and handles the refrain as if he was born to it, “If trouble don’t kill me/ I’ll live a long time.” This is followed promptly by “Around the Bend,” a dark and eerie instrumental, which feels tormented and ill at ease with the idea of standing still.
The last three numbers are spiritual songs. “Amazing Grace,” could be called unnecessary, but here, sung a capella, with only the sound of falling rain as a back drop, it becomes poignant and reassuring. “When I Die,” is a country-blues gospel number, sweet, optimistic, and perfect in its simplicity. Finally Biram closes with his take on “John the Revelator,” which struts jauntily, complete with a hip shaking tambourine.
Scott H. Biram will confound. Like most sinners who’ve feel they’ve done too much, he wants it all to stop, but then the quiet can be disarming a well. No one tells you how to prepare for that , so, Biram, like the rest of us, stumbles forward, trips, gets up, and keeps going. And we’re lucky, because when he tells his story, we get to hear all about it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M. Alberto Rivera has attended over 1,000 shows. He is in the possession of an absurd musical collection dating back 1923.
He has performed close to 1,000 shows or so, in a variety of styles from punk and pop, to jam bands and contemporary christian, as well as some others not easily defined.
So if you think he’s naive or uninformed when it comes to his musical opinions, you’re probably right. And he wants you to go ahead and tell him he has no idea what he’s talking about.
To reach Rivera email him at firstname.lastname@example.org