Is Scott H. Biram for real? His death-rattle blues crash around like a cat trapped in a squirrel cage; this self-proclaimed “dirty old one-man band” has made enough ruckus to send more than one listener fleeing toward the exit. Rough and ornery, the Austin singer, with his drooping mustache and ever-present gimme cap, does all he can to cultivate a kind of crazed menace, the sort of guy you don’t get in line next to at Wal-Mart. After a near-fatal head-on encounter with a speeding truck, Biram actually took to the stage in multiple casts and with an IV hanging from his arm. His 2005 live album spit out Captain Beefheart–ish blues like raw meat through a fan. One would hesitate to say he’s mellowed since, but (Bloodshot) does feature some accompaniment (all Biram) and even a choir (you guessed it). Okay, so he’s antisocial, but he does take a stab at real arrangements, and a few songs, such as “Lost Case of Being Found” and “Only Jesus,” do resonate. Biram won’t bring you down low to move you, à la Charley Patton, but he’s not quite a Mojo Nixon goofball either. Scary as it seems, this guy might actually be serious.
From the July 2006 Issue Subscribe