Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
7pm doors, 8pm show, $13
On his ninth album (and fifth for Bloodshot Records) ‘blood’ is many, often inherently contradictory, themes: life, death, suffering, evil, commitment, legacy, atonement. Throughout Nothin’ But Blood, recorded at Biram’s home studio and Cacophony Studios in Austin, TX, SHB’s distinct songwriting style encompasses his penchant for sludge metal and palm muting (“Around the Bend”), the raw sucker punch of punk rock (“Only Whiskey”), profound truths of sentimental acoustic blues and country (“Never Comin’ Home”), the cleansing powers of gospel hymns and spiritual ballads (“When I Die”), and folk tales from the early 20th century (there has never been a more beautifully creepy and morosely slinky take on “Jack of Diamonds”).
When you boil it all down in a simmering cauldron, Nothin’ But Blood is storytelling about wrongdoing and redemption. Scott H. Biram’s music is from the soul, for the soul, of the soul – and with this album, the spiritual buckshot lodges deeper than ever.
There are songs where Biram – the hard-living, whiskey-loving lifelong Texan – howls of mortality (“When I Die”), sin (“Backdoor Man”), and guilt and frustration (“Slow & Easy”), all the while struggling with which side he’ll end up on (and it probably ain’t the one with golden halos and white wings). He deftly sews together a myriad of flawed everyman characters: nostalgic, stoned veteran (“Nam Weed”); boozing, jealous lover (“Alcohol Blues”); and sadistic muses (“Church Point Girls”).