16 July 2014

What Kind Of Shit Is This? BOO BOO DAViS Meets Funky Scientists Blu Acid In A Digital Juke


@ fB // Black and Tan Records // Blue Acid // iTunes // Amazon

Jan Mittendorp and Misha den Haring, the recordists who comprise Blu Acid are reimagining the footsteps of Fat Possum's R.L. Burnside remixes while linking arms with the 1969 release The Howlin' Wolf Album, that mixed Wolf's tough, slanky blues with psych rock (even winking at the album title) to build a sound under Mr. Davis that is at once natural, modern, smart, and sexy.

Blu Acid say that when Boo Boo Davis walked into the studio and first heard what they'd done with his vocals and harp he said, "What kind of shit is this?" hence, the album title. I hope they answered, "Mr. Davis, this is the good shit."

What Kind Of Shit Is This? was recorded separately from Boo Boo Davis, just as the F.P. Burnside remixes were done. But unlike the wide-open, blues society disturbing, let's drag the blues into the future and make that funky shit into art...ness...of the Fat Possum mixes, Blu Acid takes the same junque that makes the Burnside stuff rule, and gives it a tough, raw, and live recording vibe, then a buff and wax polish with Massive Attack-like futurist roots tastefulness.

Purists can clutch at their pearls and pout about wether or not this is blues, or wether it serves the blues, or bastardizes it, even. Me? I don't I don't care. You shouldn't either. Any genre that remains stagnant dies. Music always evolves, always, just as you should. What Blu Acid have done, with the blessing of Boo Boo Davis is to make an excellent collection (actually an album) of kustom, modern, electronic, country blues that will serve to keep the sound alive. What Kind Of Shit Is This?should be bumpin' out of your car all summer and keeping you warm in the winter. Essential.

Note: This is also available on colored vinyl in a gatefold sleeve, at a limited edition of five-hundred copies.






06 June 2014

GRAVEL ROAD Get Wickedly Weird With The Bloody Scalp Of Burt Merlin.

@ Web // Fb // Knick Knack Records

Wait...this is the same band that used to backup T-Model Ford? I'm listening to their new album The Bloody Scalp of Burt Merlin. These guys are a bunch of weirdos. 

Formerly making their own north Mississippi hill country blues originals when they weren't recording and touring with Mr. Ford. Gravelroads' The Bloody Scalp of Burt Merlin is a full-on pour everything we've learned in the last ten years in to a heavy, blues-based, funky psychedlica freak-out of an album. They admit that. And I'll admit that it took me a while to get in to it. It came out in 2013 and i've had it floating around my desk since then. I don't know what my problem was. It's not like I was listening to it everyday, but when I did I was frankly...rather surprised.

GravelRoad always rocked out what they do, but this...this was like being used to listening to Hendrix with King Curtis's band, and then all of a sudden Jimi is experienced.
And don't get all excited, purists. I'm not equating one with the other, but one would hardly exist now if not for the latter.

We've been witnessing the punkrockinazation of a tiny corner of blues musics for years, and GR has come out with the result. It's a beast that swagger's down low, dragging it's tail through the sap and the mud of north Mississippi 
on a moon-lit midnight, it's bare feet floating above the ground. It's held there by Jim Diamond's thoughtfully heavy, and sonically textured leash. It's fuzzed out lo-fi flourishes bring soul, and a '70s-aware human touch. Diamond knows his rock and how to get it, and Gravelroad is a band that brings it. From the nearly eight-minute stone-out called Space, to the nearly one-minute superpunkrevue of Med Pass, to the levee-breaking monster-stomp of Bottom Of The World, if you are a fan this album might challenge what you thought you knew about this band, but it will thrill the pants off/of new fans.

I don't know what the story is on this Burt Merlin guy, or the why and where for of his bloody scalp, or why there's a brain on the cover of the album...I assume it's all tied together...but I do know whatever it is it made Gravelroad make the best and most original album of their career thus far. Damn I love weirdos.









28 May 2014

JONNY HALiFAX and The Howling Truth gets down on The Bestial Floor


@ fb // web // greasy noise records // itunes // amazon

Down on The Bestial Floor is where Jonny Halifax (tafka Honkeyfinger) cyphers the oxideized elements of Beefheart, Howlin' Wolf, Mr. & Mrs. Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sabbath, James Blood Ulmer, Elmore, Melvins, R.L., Junior, T-Model, Elvis n' them, Funkadelic, Johnny Dowd, ZZ Top, Yoko ... I could go on but yeah, you get it. He's kickin' the envelope's ass, delivering a sonic palate cleansing. He's rocking hip-deep in funking greasy noise and dirty rock, while reaching past the roots and through the stars for far, far outer space. Especially in your headphones. And that's what we like. Halifax composes deconstructed, imploding future blues with a strong base in the '70s tradition of getting down, infused with modern heavy sonic weirdness.

I've told you before about Honkeyfinger. A number of times over the past five years'ish. Every release has been tensile strong, both musically and design-wise. He's done 180 gram singles...slabs of his own savage one-man lap-steel and bass drum band, always terrifically stylish and heavy, and wonderfully weird. Check out the video for his first ever track. I've scared more than a few people with this ;0)

Jonny Halifax does just what he did as Honkeyfinger, but it's five-years new and improved, more melodic yet more primitive, too. It's large economy-sized. The sonic landscape has been expanded with new textures, new dirt, more outward creep.  It's a dense listen at times, commanding eminent domain, but if you take it in chunks you'll find something wild, some heavy country, something outer-blues-metal-funk of the mind and booty.

I did a fb message interview w/Jonny Halifax. Here's what's up::

DeepBlues:: It's been five years since the Honkeyfinger album Invocation Of The Demon Other (which btw is a wonderful title.) What have you been up to, Jonny Halifax?

Jonny Halifax:: Yes! Feels like a lifetime of sorts. In fact it is - My daughter Yma was born later that year. So the last five years HAVE been quite a journey. Invocation was probably an unusual album to make as a debut, and because of that it took quite a while to figure out exactly what I had made?

On one hand the first part of it was a pretty pure realisation of the embryonic Honkeyfinger live sound. . .Heavy Psych Blues stripped back and monstrously amped up. I had the intention to try for some kind of early solo John Lee Hooker sound but played through the hijacked gear of Black Sabbath or Blue Cheer. Then there’s the latter part of those Invocation recordings where I was getting more ambitious and pushing further out with loops and effects pedals and bass harmonicas etc. Probably inspired by what Tom Waits was doing on Real Gone and doubtless whatever cosmic skronk I was listening to at the time.

So the next few years had me catching up with those recordings and figuring heavier and more freaked out ways to play this stuff live as a one man band. I think it’s a format that necessarily lends itself to tripping yourself up - why else would you do it? So inevitably you run out of guitar pedal combinations to try, and need to write some more songs. Difficult second album.

So I got fed up with being a one man blues band, albeit a pretty heavy, and pretty psychedelic one. Stopped playing so much, and gradually wrote an album through recording. Myself. The main difference to making Invocation was thinking beyond what one person could play, but what sounds one person could bring together to make sounds they liked. So I got a few 70s Rhythm machines like Suicide used and lined up all the FX pedals and kept riffing until some interesting sounds came out. It felt more like painting a dozen or so huge canvasses of apocalyptic psychedelic visions than just ‘making an album’.

That was actually almost 2 years ago now . So . . Learnt the new songs and started playing live with my old pal Marvin Kingdom who’s played guitar in about 8 bands with me since 1991. We did a tour with Jim Jones Revue as still named Honkeyfinger, and played with The Magic Band (sadly without Don Van Vliet).

I think becoming Jonny Halifax & The Howling Truth came about after opening for Scott Biram in Scotland. Scott’s always called me by my real name “. . aka Honkeyfinger”. He says to me afterwards “Why the fuck you call yourself Honkeyfinger when you got such a cool name man?”. Also I liked the idea of name that sounded like some demented acid fried religious cult since there was so much howling and ranting on about that kind of thing on Bestial Floor.

So I’ve also started up Greasy Noise Recordings recently, which put out the Honkeyfinger Beasts EP on cassette, and the Howling Truth album on CD and now Vinyl. I do all the artwork which is hand printed in small runs. Hopefully there’ll be a few more releases on ancient formats covered in thick layers of ink from my greasy and noisy friends in the coming months. True DIY production. About the only thing I didn’t do with Bestial Floor was press the damn thing from lacquer myself. Next time. . .

DB:: Does this poem have anything to do with the title of the new album?

The Magi
By W. B. Yeats
Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye,
In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones
Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky
With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones,
And all their helms of silver hovering side by side,
And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more,
Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied,
The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor.


JH:: W.B. Yeats - Yes it does. It’s from the last line ‘The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor’. 

I’d been reading a fair bit around the themes of apocalyptic religions, and different outlooks to human existence on the planet in the face of all the present doom prophecies. Having recently become a parent I probably became a bit too darkly fixated on the demise of humankind and exactly what constituted our ideas of ‘civilisation’. 

I’d finished recording the collection of songs for the album, and was thinking of calling it ’In the Realms of Noble Savagery’ after the track of that name. That’s a track about the idea of our evolution into a supposedly sophisticated civilisation, where the heights of nobility, wealth and stature more likely disguise a history of savage exploitation and inhumanity. A kind of Heart of Darkness type in the 21st Century kind of thing. But then I picked up a Yeats book from the bookshelf I’d never seen before, and opened it at the last page which was the poem ‘The Magi’. Immediately that phrase resonated almost perfectly with the wider themes I’d been writing about on the album. 

There’s a lot of anger, frustration, and bile in the songs (in itself paradoxical) about the stupidity and greed of humankind, blinded by selfish ideas of salvation, and an apparent collective inability to act humanely on a global scale. There was something serenely existential here, and at the same time sort of hopeless, which summed up for me the mood of the album. The absurdity and contradictions of organised Religion phrased so elegantly, ending in the almost horrific brutality of ‘the bestial floor’, a kind of wake up call. Like the Francis Bacon painting of The screaming Pope in Head IV. So that stuck with me. I tried to rephrase it with other prefixes, but ‘The Bestial Floor’ pure and simply won out in the end. It still makes me uncomfortable to say it. 
DB:: I'm curious about your recording process. You record at home. What kind of set-up do you have for that? Analog or digital? Do you record live or do you build the tracks? Who else do you have playing on the album, and when you have other people recording with you is that live?

JH:: Yeah - I’m not sure if it’s conventional or not. It works for me at the moment. I record in the comfort of my work studio straight to hard drive through my FX board and then DI to sound card. The tracks I generally built as riffs, sequenced into arrangements with basic rhythms. Then wrote lyrics, weave around overdubs, see what worked as I went along. For some of the louder stuff I’d take a laptop to record in a rehearsal studio to get the real freakout energy. Most of the tracks were built in a pretty collaged type way. In a few cases - The Mountain particularly I hit on a fragment of a lead line take I’d recorded, then discarded the rest, and rebuilt it around that. The keyboard on Creeping Jesus and clarinet parts on Black Desert and Fever Rising were added last of all to tracks which were kind of fine as they were, but that little extra bit of colour helped tip them over the edge. They were pretty spontaneous - “Here, put on these headphones listen to this, improvise a few takes - go crazy.”

I’d say my process here is more like making a painting or a piece of abstract art. With Honkeyfinger it was much more of a live recording, because I’d written all the tracks to play live. With Bestial Floor, I wrote it whilst recording. The Demos ARE the album. It’s DIY. It’s inexpensive (assuming you have a computer). It’s immediate. You can change stuff if you don’t like it and you can experiment without the need for watching the  clock.

In the end I had it mixed by Mark Gardener over in Oxford, who has a great studio set up there with loads of Analog outboard stuff, where he ‘warmed up’ some of my harsher digital recordings. I wanted someone else to help with this process to give the mixes a bit more space and depth in the stereo separation, so that more than a few fuzz junkies (myself included) who like everything in mono and cranked into the red might want to listen to it.

DB:: So what's next? I see you did something for Record Store Day, and and you're selling an art print? Somebody should have you do a film soundtrack.

JH:: Yes I put out the Howling Truth album on vinyl for Record Store Day. Learnt to screen print, and inked the 300 sleeves myself with a different design from the CD. They’re all different colours, some messy, some precise, as I figured out what I was doing. So a proper DIY limited edition affair. I don’t yet know how many were actually sold at RSD, as that seems to become increasingly smothered by the old dinosaurs pushing out their back catalogue for the zillionth time, but the idea of it all is still great. Cassette store day in September!

So what’s new? Carrying on with the screen printing, working to realise the idea I had to make a series of artworks, individual sleeves if you will, for the main titles on the album, and then have a Bestial Floor art show. So far I have 1 print, with another 3 about ready to go. I’m sure somebody’s toured an album as a gallery exhibition, but it’s a new one for me, so I’ll be pushing that out later this year hopefully.

Also I’ve started Greasy Noise as a label, which originally saw the precursor to ‘The Bestial Floor’, the ‘Beasts EP’ come out as Honkeyfinger on cassette and download. The Archdrude Julian Cope took a liking to this which helped kick all that off. So there’ll be more Greasy Noise coming into the world soon with a few friends and some of my side projects coming out in a gloriously DIY hand made limited run kind of way.

Soundtracks Yes! No problem there at all. The opener of the new album ‘Black Desert’ is pretty cinematic, and there’s a load more of that I have recorded which will probably see the light through Greasy Noise soon. More is More. Come on!

. . .and The Howling Truth is now evolving into an act which is starting to generate new material as a live band rather than just me in the studio. We’re playing  a lot, and continually looking at ways to expand it musically with more improvisation, and more collaboration with the wider family of musicians and performers I know. The heavy psych blues riffing is a given, it’s adding more layers of freeform textural and rhythmic noise where the new fun is at for us. We’re out there. . or here . . . somewhere.

DB:: Thanks Jonny! I hope to see you again one of these days. One of the last times I saw you was at a Deep Blues Festival, and as I recall you managed to stop the rain and wind storm. Cheers!

The Bestial Floor is feral, heavy, groovy, and mind blowing. Isn't that just what we need today? Set volume between rump shake and obliterate.







22 May 2014

If you're gonna go to one blues festival in Switzerland this year make it the only one that matters :: CRiSSiER BLUES RULES FESTiVAL

@fb // web // Normandeep Blues Records


I had a chance to talk to Vincent Delsupexhe about his upcoming Blues Rules Festival in Cressier, France, June 7th to 9th. Blues Rules has been going on for a few years now and each year they attract some the coolest blues, alt-blues, what-ever-you-wanna-call-it-blues bands to a picturesque small town in Switzerland and putting on a festival on the grounds of a small castle

Deep Blues:: How did the Blues Rules Festival get started?

Vincent Delsupexhe:: I created it with a friend this is our boy. Usually Thomas is up to all the sponsorship, media, logistics and swiss connection. And I'm more into the artistic part (line up, graphics) but things are made together - we both selected the bands and taking decision. And during the festival I'm in charge of the musicians and he takes care of the stage crew.

DB:: How'd the idea for the fest first come about?

VD:: Having a beer in Paris 18months before the 1st festival Thomas and I hardly knew each other, he told me "you like blues, you have connections with some people in the USA (Kenny Brown), I love blues too, what about having our own festival? "

DB:: How many years has the fest been running? What's your connection to Kenny Brown? Tell me about the festival site. Where's it located and how/why did you choose it?

VD:: The festival is located in the small town of Crissier, in the suburb of Lausanne, up in the hill above the Leman Lake. It realIy happens in the garden of a castle... I had met Kenny in 2006 in Paris and he told me "if you love blues, come to Mississippi" so I bought my ticket that night to travel there. I met Kenny (again) in summer 2006 at the Ground Zero, Clarksdale, and then at his picnic in 2008 and 2010. He introduced me to the people there...Stacy D Lee  and Chris Johnson helped me a lot, too.

We chose the Crissier castle because of the crazy scenery and because Thomas was living there too.

Here you'll find the previous lines-up's, plus some words from some bands "paroles d artistes."

In 2010: The 1st edition with 23 bands like from USA: Black Diamond Heavies, Wes Mackey, Scissormen, Reid Paley trio, Blue Mother Tupelo, Shake it Like a Caveman, Red Mouth, Boom Chick, Ian Thomas
From Europe: Dave Arcari, Honkeyfinger, Rev. Tom Frost, Bena & Ptaszek, Veronica Sbergia, Hell's Kitchen, Mama Rosin, Jim Murple Memorial, Yom From Mars, T.Rogers, Guitar Fucker, Wonkeyman, Watchmaking Metropolis Orchestra, Producteurs de Porc.

2011: This was the second edition of the Blues Rules Crissier Festival...
We reduced a bit the line up but 16 bands will share the unique stage there in the castle garden:
- Kenny Brown (USA)
- Bob Log III (USA)
- Roland Tchakonté trio (F)
- Eric McFadden trio (USA)
- Chapel Hill (F)
- Wes Mackey (USA)
- Vermillion Sands (I)
- Rev. DeadEye & his Broken Spirits (USA)
- Scissormen (USA)
- Hillstomp (USA)
- Captain Moustache & Fredo Ignazio (CH), Lubos Bena & Matej Ptaszek (SK), Floyd Beaumont & the Arkadelphians (CH), Sevdah Dragi Moj (CH), Hannibal Slim & Captain Boogie (CH) The last ones from the list sent us a 3-pages-hand-written letter to ask us to play the Blues Rules... you should listen to their stuff!

2012: 16 bands including Possessed By Paul James, Molly Gene, Reverend Wilkins, the Rising Star Fife and Drum Corp.

2013: Castle was closed so we did a small European tour in Crissier, Lausanne, Paris and Rome with Robert Belfour, Left Lane Cruiser, and Lightin' Malcolm.

2014: Back to the castle ground with 16 bands,
Eric Bibb (USA)
Leo Bud Welch (USA)
Manu Lanvin and The Devil Blues (F)
Hell's Kitchen (CH)
Kent and Dexter Burnside (USA)
Wes Mackey (USA)
TEN FOOT POLECATS (USA)
Restavrant (USA)
Thomas Schoeffler Jr. (F)
Sarah Savoy (USA/F)
Backyard Devils (CA)
Swamp Train (CH)
Dr. Buttler's Hatstand Medicine Band (UK)
Blackberry & Mister Boo-Hoo (F)
The Coconut Kings (CH)
Garden Sessions : Jynx (F)

Thanks Vincent!
It's a dream of mine to someday attend this fest. At least dreams are free. Check out these great videos from past festival performances::












08 May 2014

WHiTE TRASH BLUES REViVAL - Now Honey, Now Baby, Now Listen...


@ fb // reverbnation //  itunes // amazon // cdbaby //

If your taste in blues runs towards PBR n' bourbon fueled howling, a clattery and batterie of tubs n' skins and a boomin' fat-bottomed bass, all skewered by the NHRA haulass of a distorted and savage slide gitar, then y'all'd dig The White Trash Blues Revival. They rock via galvinized washtub bass, skateboard slide gitar, and a two-man double drummer percussionaut set up that's flogging hell on beer kegs, steamer trunks, and cardboard boxes while using trash can lids for cymbals.
Has it been done, this contraption of a band? Damn straight. And done well with bands like Hillstomp being the most obvious example. Does that mean anything? Nope. Is it a first album? Yeah. It pretty much rocks. If you like those jankety crackety records of Tom Waits you'll surely dig this. They're a new band doing something different, and they've come very close to nailing that something on this album.

The band was originally slapped together as a last minute joke addition to a world's worst band competition but White Trash Blues Revival, these Kings of Fort Wayne, Indiana (FTW!) aka Joe Bent (Skiddely-bo and vocals), Sausage Paw aka Brenn Beck of Left Lane Cruiser  on trashcans/stompin'), Ando Anderson (Gutbucket Bass of Death) and Pete Dio (keg & cardboard boxwound up crushing all comers by actually being by all accounts really fkng great.

I figgered y'all shouId now more about these fellows, so I gave Ando a holler (he's the strapping lad that slaps the washtub bass) for an interview::

DB (ricksaunders):: How was the show with Goddam Gallows? It's always good to play with like bands. I'd think y'all would be a good match for a great show.

So what's the history of this outfit?
How did thinking...Gee...we should start a band come about?

ANDO:: The Goddamn Gallows show was a riot! Their crowd really dug us and the Gallows tore the place apart as usual. We've actually been very lucky to play shows with a lot of great bands that we're fans of and friends with. The Brass Rail which is our hometown dive bar/rock venue holds what has become an annual event called the Battle of the Worst Band. At the time of the first one, Joe Bent and I (Ando) were both bouncing at The Rail and we were chatting with the creator of the event and I made the crack that I had a washtub bass at home, and Joe chimed in that he could put strings on a skateboard and I had remembered that Brenn of Left Lane Cruiser had used a cardboard box and some other random items during an acoustic LLC set. The three of us took the stage as Poopy Dick & the Dickfucks having never practiced together or played together at all, and at the end of our 20 minute set we had 3 real offers for shows, so we changed our name and it's now been two years as a band.

DB:: Whats next? More recording? More shows? Whats happening?

ANDO:: We're doing a little bit of personnel changing. We picked up a second drummer, Pete Dio the Cousin of the Man of the Silver Mountain, when Brenn couldn't do a gig because of LLC. But Brenn has decided to focus solely on that project, they're pretty good, I hope they do well.

We're also in the planning stages of a live EP called "The Worst of White Trash Blues Revival Live." There are a few songs we do live that aren't on the Shit EP or Now Honey, Now Baby, Now Listen that will be on there and there will be a couple repeats as well. But the songs in our set list now have grown and evolved from when we recorded ...Now Listen that people will still love it.

We have some shows planned, a small music fest in Union City, Ohio, a festival in Missouri at the end of May. And we're always playing with our friends when they come to the Rail in FTW.

DB:: Whats the old line up and whos in the new line up?

ANDO:: We started out as a 3-piece with Joe, Ando and Brenn and had Pete as an alternate. We decided to add Pete as a permanent second drummer so we were a four piece. Now, we're back to a 3-piece with Pete as the permanent drummer.

DB:: Who does everybody play with when they arent doing this?

ANDO:: Joe Bent is the new bass player for Left Lane Cruiser and is also the stand up bass player for Pete's country duo Old & Dirty, Pete has a rock n roll band, Riverbottom Nitemare Band, that he does vocals and guitar for, he also has a hip-hop persona he calls Electric Anus.

I think people are ready for a new album from us, we've been playing the same set and selling the same cd for the last two years. The song writing is pretty organic, I wrote most of the lyrics on "Now Honey, Now Baby, Now Listen" and printed them in a book for Joe and then we'd just play them on stage. As a matter a fact, one of our newest songs, "Girl, I tried," Joe wrote the lyrics 5 minutes before we opened up for Bob Log III and people loved it so we kept playing and "perfecting" it. Before Pete started playing with us full time we were closer to a jam band than a blues band, our songs had very little structure and we'd jam them out for 10 minutes. With Pete's punk drumming background he keeps the songs to around 4 minutes.

DB::  Anything else people should know?*
*btw, It must be noted that Ando also designs tons of cool posters/shirts/etc for bands (including WTBR) and otherwise via PrettyGoodPosters. Check him out.

ANDO:: We're looking at some European dates towards the fall. Hopefully Muddy Roots next summer.

DB:: Good luck and thanks for your time, Ando!





26 April 2014

LEO WELCH - Sabougla Voices!



@ fB // big legal Mess records // amazon // itunes

Where ever you are, have a sip, tap your foot, stomp it even in fellowship with your friends and rejoice with the Lord and Leo “Bud” Welch. Crank it. - Kevin Nutt 

I had planned to spend a bunch of time typing out Mr. Welch's bio etc, but then I thought hell fire, you should get that from Kevin Nutt. He's the gospel expert and the guy who wrote the liner notes for Sabougla Voices.  About the only thing you need to know from me is that this is that Mr. Welch was born in 1932, and this is his first album. It came about after a friend of Mr. Welch's made a recording of a performance, sent it off to Bruce Watson at Fat Possum Records/Big Legal Mess Records to see if they'd be interested in recording him. The rest is history. 

“I believe in the Lord, but the blues speaks to life, too. Blues has a feeling just like gospel; they just don’t have a book.” — Leo Bud Welch

Sabougla (pronounced sha-BOW-gla) Voices is the perfect balance between Saturday night juke and Sunday morning church. Funky, raw, and North Mississippi trancey mixed with fine, rural call and response praise. Mr. Welch is backed by Jimbo Mathus his band Tri-State Coalition, plus members of Water Liars, and a Drive-By Trucker, plus two back-up singers from church. Absolutely essential stuff.



23 April 2014

SCOTT H BiRAM - Nothing But Blood (2014)

fb // web // wiki // bloodshot records // amazon // itunes


America's Sweetheart.
Scott H Biram, America's lowdown sweetheart of the punkass country/blues has returned with Nothing But Blood, his most distilled Biramness yet. It's everything his long time fans love about his work, smart, thoughtful lyrics (unless it's time to PARTY!) and it's bound to atttract new fanatics as well.

This is music for Texas-sized homewreckin' and heart-broken heartbreaking, beer ( & whiskey! )
drinkin' and hell raisin', and coming to see Jesus. The classic Biram balance of the southern sacred and country profane.

Scott Biram's guitar playing is at its most nuanced on this album, his relelntless schedule has honed his work well. No less ferocious (as needed) but more soulful. He's got a tighter grip on it. But it's always identifiable as him.

From the taut hard country blues of Slow & Easy, with its overlay of beautifully assertive yet delicate acoustic finger work, to the lonesome vet country of 'Nam Weed (a song Waylon should of had a chance to sing) and the heartbreak of Never Coming Home, to the the gently rockin' southern gospel of When I Die, Scott H Biram is a dirty Springsteen, and there ain't nothin' wrong with that. If anybody could cover the Nebraska album, it'd be this guy. Instead of Jersey songs about cars and girls, he plays Texas-American country music for meth heads and bankers, ballers and Kings. and Jesus.

Always a man with a sharp ear and keen sense for feel, ambiance, and tension, Scott Biram has grown to be a comfortable but lonely, dangerous country store of broken down shit and kickin' ass.

He has had a string of fine albums that I'd recommend to almost anyone. Nothin' But Blood continues that streak, compiling details like none previous. Shadings, darker corners, a man alone. It's truly an exceptional piece of work. Oh sure, maybe he gives you a couple three songs more than needed, but can you have enough Scott H Biram? I can't. And that's for damn sure.

We are (or you oughta be) to the point that with out question we just buy Biram's albums because it's guaranteed quality and Scott does not disappoint here. He's taken his business to another level. Subtle and lovely at times, wicked, weird and cutting where needed. He is worthy of your support ;0)

Here's a track by track rundown::

1.) The opener Slow and Easy is an album highlight. His vocal delivery while never...pretty, is tough and tight with a great sense of phrasing. It's stronger than ever here, richer, a little more refined, older. He's always been terrific at setting a mood, a tension, and that's put to good use here.

Always a master at olde-timey covers and forms, Biram's 2.) Gotta Get To Heaven is just what you think it'd be. A ball of a gospel, the kind he does so well. Acoustic acoustic country gospel that wrassles with the devil and spreads The Good News.

In fine Biram style he must follow the sacred with the profane. Track 3.) Alcohol Blues. A dirty mouthed grinding blues with a short, a tight Texas guitar solo in cowboy boots tracking mud across your clean floor. Van Halen should cover this.

Speaking of covers, 4.) Never coming home should be covered immediatly by Willie Nelson.

5.)  WHISKEY (can sleep in my bed.) Lawd have mercy!

6.) is Jack of Diamonds as interpreted by.

7.) Nam Weed. On an album of great songs, Nam Weed is a stellar stand out. I heard this song live earlier this year and it slayed me.

8.) Backdoor man is what you think it is, getting dirty with Mr. Wolf.

9.) Church Point Girls. Biram always has at least one Slayer as (fillinblank) song. This is the rockabilly version. Super rock killer.

10.) Let's go with ol' man Biram back to the foothills of somewhere south, and early in the olde timey century. He's got Trouble.

11.) Biram knows his way around his studio and thats amply apparent on Around The Bend. It's the one-man band Biram in the studio making Melvins and Slayer weep. Major party action buzz on.

12.) Lovely. A Texas thunderstorm at night, let's sit on the porch and listen to Scott sing a reverbed version of Amazing Grace in a voice I have never heard from him before, small-town, church, Elvisian. He's singing for someone and it's none of our business just who. Moving.

13.) is a cover of Son House's John The Revelator done with Mephian Austinite rockster Jesse Vain.

14.) and we close the Scott H Biram show with When I Die, another classic Biramized gospel song. He's so good at the gospel stuff, it's wicked. You'd think he had a personal relationship with it. The Man In Black said, If they ever outlaw religion, I hope there's evidence to convict me.

That's it. The run down. Go give him your money. You're welcome.