With last year's Billy Joe Shaver-esque Something's Wrong/Lost Forever (Bloodshot), San Marcos native Scott H. Biram has officially become his own sentient animal. His harrowing early records, like the bedridden Rehabilitation Blues EP, saw Biram moaning and wailing the blues, but Lost Forever brought his country roots to the forefront as the "Dirty Old One Man Band" painted his whiskey-soaked tales with a forlorn brush.
After nearly a whole year of touring behind the album, Biram took a month off over the holidays to work on new music, get his home studio in order and generally decompress. This year he'll make yet another trek around the country and also venture off to Europe, where his brand of bluesy twang is crazy-beloved. He's genuine, which comes out both in his music and his interactions with fans.
Plus, he loves Pabst Blue Ribbon. A lot.
Chatter: What have you been working on?
Scott H. Biram: Well, I just took a month off for the first time in ten years other than the times I have [had] broken body parts. I just started it back up. I bought a new van. It's being customized. It's a big, black van. I have been in the studio again. It was down for a year, and I just realized all I had to do was change three little things on the computer software, and now it works fine. I never caught on to it. I have been writing quite a bit — I have enough for a whole new record.
C: When should that be coming out?
SHB: Bloodshot likes to wait a year and a half between albums. The last album came three years after the one before it. I want to play these songs live and see how they evolve. Once you play them onstage, you can really tell how they should feel.
C: What's your favorite place in Texas to tour? You don't have to say Houston...
SHB: I love playing Austin since it is my hometown, and of course San Marcos, my real hometown. Houston and Lubbock are my two other favorites. There is nothing going on in Lubbock, but they actually come out to the shows there. They know you have to drive six and a half hours to get there no matter where you are coming from.
C: Houston has been having a lot of problems with crowds lately. As an artist, what have you noticed from the other side of the mike?
SHB: I heard there was a fight at Rudyard's last time I played, but I was too busy doing my own version of a fight onstage. I have mostly played at Continental Club, Fitzgerald's and Rudyard's, but I always keep coming back to the Continental Club because Pete [Gordon] is really awesome. I have fun at the shows there, but I have tamed my craziness down. I haven't quit drinking; I just don't drink whiskey anymore.
Austin-based boogie-woogie piano queen Marcia Ball and Houston blues icon Texas Johnny Brown will play a benefit for the Houston International Festival's educational programs 7 p.m. Friday, February 12, at Rockefeller Hall, 3620 Washington. As Rockefeller's, the former bank building was known as the "Granddaddy of Houston Nightclubs" until it became a private-events space in the late '90s. Tickets are $38, or half-price with the purchase of a four-day pass to iFest, scheduled for April 17-18 and 24-25 in downtown Houston. The official lineup has not been released, but Pollstar lists Ball, rising blues belter Janiva Magness, George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars and Nigeria's King Sunny Ade as playing this year's festival. See www.ifest.org for details.
Vinal Edge Records
13171 Veterans Memorial Dr., 281-537-2575
1. Animal Collective, Fall Be Kind EP
2. Tom Waits, Glitter and Doom Live
3. Leyland Kirby, Sadly the Future Is No Longer What It Was
4. Vampire Weekend, Contra
5. Rammstein, Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
6. Boris, Smile
7. Mebusas, Vol. 1: Blood Brothers
8. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Echos Hypnotiques
9. Stapleton/Wakeford, Revenge of the Selfish Shellfish
10. Sjob, Movement
Lone Star Jukebox
KPFT (90.1 FM), Saturdays 9 a.m.- noon
Selections from Rick Heysquierdo's January 10 playlist
1. Jamey Johnson, "The High Cost of Living"
2. Rodney Crowell, "The Man In Me"
3. Gillian Welch, "Elvis Presley Blues"
4. Neil Young, "He Was the King"
5. Larry Gatlin, "Johnny Cash Is Dead
and His House Burned Down"
6. Sonny Boy Terry, "Business Man" (live in-studio)
7. Willie Nelson, "Bloody Mary Morning"
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8. Taj Mahal, "Big Legged Mama"
9. Heartless Bastards, "The Mountain"
10. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, "This Land Is Your Land"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)