Last year, in the midst of winter, on one of the coldest days experienced for quite some time, I was foolish enough to not accompany my friend to the Brudenell club in Leeds. I was not alone, the snow on the ground put off most, so that a dozen people at most witnessed something that moved my normally fairly reserved friend to eulogise about this genius nutter who plays like you have never seen/heard before.
There is an enormous amount of music around at the moment that puports to call itself alt-country/americana, and the discerning ear may find itself becoming increasingly offended by second rate guff attempting to sell itself as the real McCoy.There are some grreat bands leading the assault, Felice Brothers, Low Anthem , etc etc and don't get me wrong some of them are fantastic, but some of them are fantastic AND unique. There's the rub, so much sounding the same, then there is Scott.H.Biram. He plays punk, rock, country and winds them all togethor with the gruffest voice, which yells , yelps but never makes you cringe.
With a stomp box, a 1959 gibson and harmonica he plays like a demon possessed,he ha been known to perform whilst in a wheelchair with an I.V tube still in his arm. This is not the false theatrics of Iggy Pop cutting his chest, no self harm going on here, just ceaseless commitment and passion.
Raw songs that reflect the numerous calamities and scrapes Scott has been involved in over the years,juxtaposed with his rendition of gospel songs make for a strange, eclectic and downright mad set of songs.
Think Tom Waits wrapped in John Lee Hooker, with a dose of bluegrass and you are getting there.
It stands out from the rest of the genre, and I still regret not going to that damned gig.
on 17 July 2007
This album reminds me alot of Beck's "Mellow Gold" (a personal favourite) as there are alot of different changes of pace and style. These range from songs that Kenny Rogers would sell his beard for(18 wheeler fever) to distortion heavy shouters (plough you under).
I initally was going to say 3 stars, but thinking about it I've listened to it right through 3 times this week.... a definite grower.
Not sure about the road kill on the front though.