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Bad Ingredients

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Künstler: Scott H. Biram
Label: Bloodshot


"Scott H. Biram is a one-man band," and Biram is adamant enough about it that he posts that statement not once but twice on the cover of his fourth album for Bloodshot, Bad Ingredients. The slogan fits this music -- there are large portions of Bad Ingredients where Biram sounds like he's truly alone in this world, sitting in a room with his voice, his guitar, and a head full of mean thoughts about bad luck, bad women, and a future that seems cloudy at best. Biram has a well-earned reputation for kicking up a lot of dust as a performer, and he turns the amps up to ten on tracks like "Dontcha Lie to Me Baby," "Wind Up Blind," and "Killed a Chicken Last Night," but much of Bad Ingredients finds him in a quieter and more contemplative mood, picking his acoustic and singing with a raw, bluesy tone that's softer but no less troubled or heartfelt. "Just Another River" and "Open Road" speak of an emotional desperation that cuts deep, and the slow, ripsaw blues of "Born in Jail" recalls the force and the dread of John Lee Hooker's best solo material. Biram is still up for having a good time, but the romance with a down-on-her-luck hooker in "Broke Ass" is about as bleak as love songs get, and while you can boogie to "I Want My Mojo Back" (in which Biram is joined by sax man Walter Daniels), when he bellows the chorus you know whoever has that black cat bone better give it back pronto. Bad Ingredients is a 100-proof blend of country, blues, and one man's steely vision of a world that's not about to give him a fair shake, and if it isn't as strong as 2009's Something's Wrong/Lost Forever, it shows Biram is too tough and too stubborn to quit telling his tales any time soon, and for folks who like their music rough and real, that's a rare bit of good news. ~ Mark Deming