The latest album (his ninth) from one man band Scott Biram, continues his personal exploration of the blues, boot-stomping beats, baptizing blandishments, blood on the floor songs and spiritual ballads. Good and evil battle it out in this powerful pieces of life lived, love lost and heaven sought. Throughout the album Biram mixes his own songs with traditional songs and those by Willie Dixon, Mance Lipscomb and Doc Watson. Though joined briefly by Jesse Vain on vocals, the bulk of the album has been played and produced by Biram who at this point knows exactly how his music should sound. That sound ranges from the guitar/vocal of Never Comin' Home and I'm Troubled to the full on punky blues of Only Whiskey taken at a breakneck speed to simulate the rush of the alcohol. This, and several other songs, are taken a train-wreck speed and intensity. Around the Bend could almost be a lost early Hawkwind song from the days when they started as blues buskers, that crossed with some death metal.
Alcohol is not the only intoxicant on offer as Nam Weed tells the tale of a stoned vet. These are tales from the dark side delivered like a kicked-in door. Biram's voice is sometimes treated (Jack Of Diamonds) in a way that fits the ragged-redemption seeking and forlorn forgiveness of the songs. Willie Dixon's Backdoor Man broods with lust and is a long way from Jim Morrison's poetic platitude; this is something altogether more primal and chilling. Church Point Girls is another full on, boot-stomping, hard guitar tale of sin and lost souls. It is a sound that is a no holds barred audio headwreck that leaves you in no doubt that Scott H Biram knows the world of which he sings. He has the advantage of exorcising these demons through song. When I Die faces mortality with hope and a hosanna and is one of the less frantic deliveries here.
Biram's music is not for everyone but the little girls and big boys may well understand the power in the blood that is inherent in his music. Nuthin' But Blood has a couple of bonus songs in Amazing Grace and John the Revelator. The former has a spirituality in its voice and harmonica delivery that rings true to the song’s sense of grace. The latter features Jesse Vain and again underlines the links to the traveling troubadour blues players of the past. These are crossroads and lost highways that Biram has traveled and you can do a lot worse than spend some time in his company.