Friday, February 10, 2017

Review: Scott H. Biram 'Bad Testament'

Scott H. Biram

Every few years Texas blues guitarist Scott H. Biram releases an album, and every time we, here at 37FLOOD, review it and exclaim Biram a national treasure, and this time will be no different.

To say that Scott H. Biram, who seamlessly weaves blues, country, punk, and metal, is a master guitarist would an understatement. While it's true that his skill at the country blues style is seemingly unmatched in the modern world, He is dually skilled at songwriting.
But that's not to say Biram's guitar skills are not worth discussing.  Biram's guitar playing is very important in preserving the Texas blues tradition; those who enjoy blues and/or country music will know that two genres grew out of the same roots, and in Texas blues the roots continue to intertwine.

But if Biram has a fault, it is that he was born 40 years too late to truly be appreciated by a wider audience. His songs like 'Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue' or 'Slow & Easy' could have easily been chart topping hits back in the Outlaw days when Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard ruled the radio waves. If only he could have gone back in time when people cared for blood and bone country music his lyrics would have become so popular and emulated that they would have easily become old worn out country music clich├ęs by now. Biram's lyrics, as in 'Red Wine' from the forthcoming 'Bad Testament' like ''You been down at the barroom, pressing your sweet body against another man's pride'' or ''set 'em up, I'll knock 'em down, wake me up when it's all over, it took less than that to make my heart lose it's mind.'' would be as familiar as 'tears in my beer.'

When Biram released 'Nothing But Blood' in early 2014 we hopefully mused that perhaps that would be the one album to bring him to the fore in popular culture with his solemn and sullen tracks like "Never Coming Home" with quiet and endearing lines such as "woke up thinking my soul had flown, I thought I'd died somewhere in the night. Yes I'm still just drifting on, got nowhere to do it right." And the honestly played gospel tracks "When I Die" and "John The Revelator" that embody the sincerity of Texas preacher and gospel legend Washington Phillips.

On 'Bad Testament' the other hand of good and evil takes the wheel. While less of his Metal and punk roots show, his sweet & heartbroken blues take a backseat to the hard playing angry other side of Biram's nature as heard on 'Righteous Ways' or 'Crippled and Crazy' with lines ''I'm crippled and crazy and out of control.. Calling all angels, all heartaches and demons, calling all lovers that left for no reason, down through the chamber that echoed the screamin'; twisted and turnin' I just quit believin' in love.'' It sounds like a man that's been walking the road for so long without arriving that he's about ready to just sit down and quit.

We can't let that happen, therefore we will again be hopeful in thinking this new offering by Country Blues one-man-band/barroom preacher Scott H. Biram will finally deliver him into the warm arms of the outside world.

Scott H. Biram's 'Bad Testament' will be released Feb. 24th on Bloodshot records. A limited edition of 500 Orange & Black swirl LPs have been available for pre-order since December haven't sold out yet, which doesn't fair well on our hopeful prediction this time Biram will finally ascend into the hearts and minds of the people; But there's still hope, It's not too late, and it starts with you... Preorder Here.

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