Scott H. Biram is a cipher; a Texas blues man who loves Motörhead, an outlaw country punk, a Hank III-meets-Jimmie Rodgers sinner with saintly intentions who straddles tradition and progress, and can play a mean guitar. His messy, raw records swirl together outlaw country, blues, Americana, soul, and rock 'n' roll, and his new record, The Bad Testament, is all over the place in the best kind of way.
Biram—who plays every instrument and records everything himself in his home studio—flits between styles in the space of a song, but makes it feel perfectly natural, whether he's subverting religious sermons on the gospel-tinged "True Religion," baring his soul to an acoustic guitar on "Righteous Ways," or doing his best David Allan Coe on the blunt, boozy "Crippled & Crazy."Like any country outlaw worth his denim and leather, Biram's not shy about his influences, either, though they run a little wilder than your average blues man's.
More than a few hints of and metal have seeped in between the Austin musician's raggedy chords, ramping up his country blues with a little bit of rock 'n' roll bite. He channels a heavy-eyed Merle Haggard on"Red Wine"—a laid-back, whiskey-sipping, whole-lotta-lovin' ballad—then segues straight into "Trainwrecker," which sees Biram howl his best Lemmy impression with a speedy, sneering metal edge. Even though they lack vocals, Biram sounds most like himself on raucous, foot-stomping honky-tonk ragers like "Pressin' On" and "What Doesn't Kill You..." though, when he stomps down hard on a distortion pedal, lets loose on the ol' electric, and just goddamn wails..
Listen to The Bad Testament in full below, and order it from Biram's longtime label Bloodshot Records on February 24.
Catch Scott H. Biram on tour this spring:
Feb 26 - Outlaw Country Cruise - Tampa, FL
Mar 15 - Continental Club (Bloodshot Records SXSW Showcase) - Austin, TX
Mar 23 - Amarillo, TX
Mar 24 - Triple Nickel Tavern - Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 25 - 3 Kings - Denver, CO
Mar 26 - Hodis Half Note - Fort Collins, CO
Mar 28 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 29 - Neurolux - Boise, ID
Mar 30 - Top Hat Lounge - Missoula, MT
Mar 31 - Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA
Apr 01 - Dante's - Portland, OR
Apr 02 - Volcanic Theatre Pub - Bend, OR
Apr 04 - Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 05 - Bottom Of The Hill - San Francisco, CA
Apr 06 - Alex's Bar - Long Beach, CA
Apr 07 - Pappy & Harriet's - Pioneertown, CA
Apr 08 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ
Apr 09 - Club Congress - Tucson, AZ
Apr 13 - Three Links - Dallas, TX
Apr 14 - Antones - Austin, TX
Apr 15 - Fitzgeralds - Houston, TX
Apr 27 - Mercury Lounge Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
Apr 28 - Knuckleheads - Kansas City, MO
Apr 30 - Rock Island Brewing Company - Rock Island, IL
May 02 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis, MN
May 03 - Lyric Room - Green Bay, WI
May 04 - The Frequency - Madison, WI
May 05 - Reggie's Rock Club - Chicago, IL
May 06 - Off Broadway - St Louis, MO
May 07 - The Elbow Room - Wichita, KS
Kim Kelly is lonesome and ornery on Twitter.