Scene Stealers: Scott H. Biram

Honky bluesman Scott H. Biram's feverish rasp is as bare-ass naked as he used to be onstage. Biram, 28, began his performing career several years ago in San Marcos punk rockers the Thangs, amid "lots of blasphemy and nakedness."

"I still get, 'Hey, you're that guy that used to get naked in San Marcos,'" admits Biram, now fully clothed.

Nowadays, Biram digs deep into the songbooks of country-blues pioneers Mance Lipscomb, Leadbelly, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Son House, but he does it in punk-spirited places like North Loop pizza joint the Parlor. His latest CD, Preachin' & Hollerin', is exactly that: Biram yelping the talking gospel blues, overworking his guitar and foot-stomping contraption, occasionally yodeling and blowing harmonica, and generally rattling on about prison, the devil, wayward women, and Tom Moore's Farm.

"Somebody the other day said that it's gonna just keep getting harder until it turns back into punk rock," chuckles Biram.

Biram is also a lifelong bluegrass lover; his dad took him to see Doc Watson at the Armadillo as a youngster. He put it on the back burner during his punk rock/heavy metal years, but rekindled it in time to put in several years as part of local picking outfit Bluegrass Drive-By. Hank Williams III is an avowed fan who now covers Preachin' and Hollerin's "Truckdriver," a song Biram recorded with buddies the Weary Boys.

"They're some of the only people I can hang out with in Austin when I come up here," Biram says. "I have old friends here, but I really just don't hang out with many people. That's why I live in the country. I'm kind of anti-social."

Biram has chickens, a meat smoker, and a PlayStation2 on his farm outside Seguin, but he won't be spending much time there in the near future. When he leaves for a three-and-a-half-week tour in April (recently he's been shopping for a new van), an old friend from Southwest Texas and his film crew will be riding along.

"I guess they thought it would be an interesting thing to do," shrugs Biram. "It's kind of like a journey into my career picking up a little bit."

Scott H. Biram plays Mondays, 10pm, at the Parlor, 100-B E. North Loop, and Thursdays, 9pm, indoors at Club DeVille.

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Christopher Gray, June 29, 2007


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