Title: Graveyard Shift
Catalogue Number: Bloodshot Records
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2006
Hailing from Austin Texas, describing himself as a 'Dirty Old One Man Band' and looking like a trucker from Hell, Scott H. Biram's CD cover extols that "This Record sounds best when turned up LOUD!" This Bluesbunny reaches for the volume control …
Beginning with a motor-mouth rave with the voice of a Southern preacher on speed, the CD opens with "Been Down So Long". The allusion to a tent ministry is built upon with a simple chorus of "… can I get an Amen" and answered by the faithful. This CD is chock full of character and characters, whether it's the drug running truckers in "Reefer Load" or the murderous farmer in "Plough You Under", these songs could well be the narrative to a lost Sam Peckinpah film. With a sound that is deliberately down and dirty, his vocals have the kind of sound quality that you would expect of original John Lomax 1930s field recordings, all of which adds a certain rough charm in this age of over-polished, digitally soulless recordings. Stripped down arrangements allow Biram's distorted guitar work to breathe and, to round off the unholy trinity, his left-foot driven percussion section sounds out the loose beat.
From the manic, howling boogie of "Graveyard Shift" to the sensitive country of "Lost Case of Being Found", from the Alice in Chains like grunge of "Work" to the dark take on Americana that is "Long Fingernails", sometimes screaming, sometimes on the verge of a broken heart, Graveyard Shift is a journey down the dark highway of American life, although thankfully Scott Biram never takes himself too seriously.
If you find yourself sickened by the fakery and gloss of the likes of the CMA Awards, take heart that there are still artists like Scott H Biram who continue to make their country music with bite and personality.
Reviewer: Bluesbunny from Montgomery
December 5, 2007
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