Nothin’ But Blood by Scott H. Biram


Nothin’ But Blood by Scott H. Biram

By Jonathan Shifflett

Nothin’ But Blood, the new album from Scott H. Biram aka The Dirty Old One Man Band, is an enlightening collection of dirty, gospel tunes, drifter ballads and sludge-covered blues. The fourteen tracks explore sin, misfortune and redemption with such insider perspective one might think he walked into the studio with a half-empty bottle of Old Crow and a bloody axe. Recorded both at his home studio and at Cacophany Studios in Austin, TX, Nothin’ But Blood proves only a Southern artist can inhabit the lives of drunks, woman haters and creeps, while still managing to speak the truth.

Biram preaches his Southern heritage this spring as he takes Nothin’ But Blood on the road. With just his voice, Gibson guitar and a wall of amplifiers, he will be baptizing fans in the Midwest, West Coast and Scandinavia with blessings of profanity and buckets of blood.

Biram hails from Texas and doesn’t fail to address the deep musical roots of the neighboring swamplands and open spaces. Conspicuous homage’s to blues legends Howlin’ Wolf, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House and Doc Watson appear on Nothin’ But Blood with covers of “Back Door Man,” “Jack of Diamonds,” “I’m Troubled,” and “John the Revelator.” Mixing in classic material with his blasphemous hymns, Biram encourages us to look beyond his individual and into the expanse of the Southern musical landscape.

ScottBiramBlood_400In Nothin’ But Blood, each song and character shows off his vocal dexterity as he ranges from a soft country twang to a guttural groan worthy of Howlin’ Wolf’s own signature growl. His style can only be described as a well-practiced act of appropriately unrefined bawdiness. As a result, the tunes sputter and smoke like a rusted Chevy, the exact make and model hidden beneath an intentionally corroded exterior.

“Slow and Easy,” a drifter anthem, chugs along with rising bass lines and blues riffs that impose a reflective yet bitter tone. The song depicts a man running from his past, allowing callousness and anger fill the emptiness left by pain and hardship. In Biram’s land of true religion, any way you run is either toward sin or redemption. “Gotta Get to Heaven” uses a Southern rock groove to encourage salvation, showing that Biram can sermonize to both extremes.

Good and evil are inextricable elements of the the Southern image, but Biram has a way of obscuring the two in order to explore the gray area. When he sings the line from “Only Whiskey,” “I buried my heart on the side of the road so many years ago,” Biram describes a man who once cared, but who has now replaced happy memories with anger. The grungy, punk guitars and pulsing kick drum, though it may enhance the stench of his whiskey breath, only make his tragic figure seem more heroic. To say “only whiskey can sleep in my bed,” seems like a flaw we can, strangely enough, forgive. As raunchy as he gets, we can’t help but feel empathy for his characters.

In “Church Point Girls,” a grungy ode to the girls in Church Point, Louisiana, he paints a character battling with a desire for school-girl innocence. As if depicting a frustrated perspective, Biram picks a quick tempo with heavy guitar distortion and a death metal vocal style. Even though Church Point girls are the Devil’s lullaby, Biram suggests you had better cover your ears or risk her daddy’s loaded shotgun.

The album ends with a series of spirituals (“Amazing Grace,” “When I die,” “John the Revelator”) encouraging us to believe that beneath every trucker hat there is a Sunday-go-to-meeting haircut.

Exploring all kinds of riffraff and lowlifes, each of Biram’s characters have a common struggle. You’ll find their antics convincing and his musical styles cohesive all due to the shared environment of the South. So whether he is a drunk, unshaven bum delivering a message of redemption or a sinner ready to step in the current to be reborn, we can’t help but be an eager congregation, entranced by his every word.

Nothin’ But Blood is available now from Bloodshot Records, visit Scott H. Biram online at:, on Facebook and iTunes.

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