Scott H. Biram
By Al Kaufman
Scott H. Biram doesn’t give a shit.
The Austinite simply wants to wail on his guitar and belt out some hillbilly blues, which is what he does on Bad Ingredients. There’s no spit-shine polish here. No long-haired, pony-tailed guy twisting knobs in the studio. It’s just lots of hiss, fuzz, feedback and distortion that sounds like it was recording on equipment from the 1920s. Yes, it’s that good.
Hiram has the blues in his soul, and belts them out full of passion and fury. From the Delta sounding “Just Another River” to the loud and nasty “Doncha Lie to Me Baby,” to the straight ahead, the title says it all, “I Want My Mojo Back,” Hiram does not hold back. Even when he gets sweet and sentimental, as he does on the country-tinged “Broke Ass,” a song that Todd Snider would be proud to write, he still lovingly refers to his woman as “my broken piece of ass.” Sorta brings a tear to your eye, don’t it?
Hiram does a nice country turn, covering Bill Monroe’s “Memories of You,” and follows it up with a slow and distorted Lightnin’ Hopkins’ blues ballad, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman.” This in no way sets us up for “Killed a Chicken Last Night,” but, then again, nothing could. It seems that the main character in the song is in love with a Louisiana woman who likes to drink a lot and is never satisfied, so he goes out and kills a chicken. Seems mighty angry about it as well. It’s fun and furious and full of swagger.
As always, Biram’s guitar playing is stellar. Check out the slide on “Born in Jail.” He also plays just about every other instrument on here as well, with that same sort of wild abandon. This is what the music in hell should sound like, and if it is, I don’t want to go to heaven.
Bad Ingredients will be released October 11.