Scott H. Biram’s new record, Nothin’ But Blood, gives the impression of a man who has spent his life knee-deep in the pungent faeces of personal dysfunction: booze, drugs, relationship meltdown, incarceration, war and then some.
But to listen to the album is to find an artist almost revelling in the opportunity to create razor-sharp music from the many and varied crises of life. ‘Slow & Easy’ recalls the stark images of Biram’s childhood, and his withdrawal to the shadows to get his life back in order; ‘Gotta Get To Heaven’ is the country-infused man trying to find redemption. ‘Alcohol Blues’ and the pulverising ‘Only Whiskey’ are defiant celebrations of alcohol’s dangerous virtues; ‘Never Comin’ Home’ is heart-wrenching Hank Williams melancholy; ‘Church Point Girls’ could get you arrested in most southern states – and probably just about anywhere in Australia – and ‘I’m Troubled’ is the back porch equivalent of a session on Dr. Freud’s couch.
The cover of ‘Amazing Grace’ sees Biram’s harmonica taking the time-honoured church classic to Deliverance country, while ‘When I Die’ is draped with honesty, and not a drop of hypocrisy.
There’s some bad shit that’s gone on to make this record, and that’s why it’s just so good to hear.
Nothin’ But Blood is out now on Bloodshot.