Scott H. Bira-m raises a ruckus in Newport

Scott H. Biram bills himself a “Dirty Old One Man Band”

By L. Kent Wolgamott

Scott H. Biram plays electric guitar and stomps away on a board while he’s singing his songs for a reason that has nothing to do with precisely what he is playing.
Rather, the electric guitar and the stomp keep the man described as a “Dirty Old One Man Band” playing his raw blend of honky tonk country, blues, metal, and punk in the venues and on the bills he wants to play.

“It’s helped me to stay in the rock clubs and play with bands and not get stuck in coffee shops,” Biram said in a recent phone interview. “I don’t even drink coffee. I hate the word singer-songwriter. The minute somebody says that, I think of somebody playing a cheap guitar with a bad pickup at open mic night.

“I don’t ever refer to myself as a singer-songwriter,” he said. “I’m proud of my songwriting and the songs come easily. I’m proud I can pull these random lines and images out of my head. But singer-songwriter, no. I don’t want to be thought of as something lame.”

Lame isn’t a word that will ever be used to describe “The Bad Testament,” Biram’s 10th album released last year. It’s filled with music that’s melancholy and aggressive in dark songs of loneliness and escape. “It fits in there pretty good with the rest of my records,” Biram said. “Definitely all my records have some darkness on there and there’s some joy in there. There’s always a battle between heaven and hell on my records.
“With this one, I was kind of aware of going back to my first Bloodshot record,” he explained. “It was kind of gritty and rough. I wanted to go back to that kind of feel. It has some pretty songs on it. But I sort of dumbed-down the production a little bit to get it rough.”
Biram was severely injured in a head-on collision with a big-rig semi 14 years ago. Even though he is in constant pain as a result of the injuries, he says the accident no longer plays much of a role in his songwriting.

“It’s getting pretty far in the past now,” he said. “I would say it’s more my emotions and childhood that influences my songwriting.  I grew up out in the country and Ioved running up and down the river bank and the little town. Three places my mind goes to when I’m writing songs—back in the country, being on the road—the endless highway, and heartbreak and revenge.”
Biram has another frequent topic in his songs he initially didn’t mention—he writes lots of songs about drinking, like “Red Wine” from the new album.

“We managed to get red wine, whiskey, cold beer, and a martini in there,” he said. “That’s a lot of alcohol.”

Those songs, and the others from “The Bad Testament” have to be reworked to go from studio to stage as Biram has to figure out how to play songs recorded with multiple parts on multiple instruments with guitar, stomp, and voice.

“I always have to edit the songs for the stage,” he said. “I’ve got to figure out how to keep a rhythm and do the solo. Sometimes it’s a year-and-a-half, relearning the solo I did in the studio. The rest of it, I’ve been doing it long enough (that) it’s no big deal to stomp my foot and play at the same time. They say I’m a one-man band. But I say I’m just a guy with too many speakers.”

Once the songs have been, to use his term, edited, Biram puts them in a set list that stays, more or less, the same through each tour. Biram has been touring solidly since last April and will be on the road again this spring as he is in the middle of a two-or-three-year musical cycle.
“Record release years are pretty busy for me,” Biram said. “I have to promote the record and try to cash in on it and pay some debt down. Then, after a year or so, I can get to working on the next record…I need to get to work now. I’ve got a bunch of songs and parts of songs I recorded on my phone that I need to finish so I don’t forget them.”
As this interview was happening, Biram wasn’t crafting new songs or putting together half-finished ideas. He was working on a more immediate task while on break between tours.

“I’ve got all five of my guitars out right now, changing the strings for tour,” Biram said from his Austin home. “I used to be such an OCD control freak I’d change the strings on my main guitar every night. Now, with so many guitars, I’ll do a string change once or twice on tour. I don’t like changing strings anymore. I’ve probably changed strings 10,000 times.”

Then he’ll be ready to stomp and strum his way around the country again.

Scott H. Biram will be appearing at Southgate House Revival, 111 E. 6th St., Newport, Kentucky on February 23 at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.00. For tickets or more information, call 859.431.2201, or visit More information about Scott H. Biram can be found at his website,

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L Kent Wolgamott
Reach DCP freelance writer L. Kent Wolgamott at

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