Tracker Pixel for Entry

The mojo of Scott H. Biram

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | July 18th, 2018

Scott H. Biram - photograph by Raul Gomez

When asked if he’s played many folk festivals Texas bluesman Scott H Biram flashed a mischievous grin and chuckled as he gave us a quick “Noooo.” As he opened his set on Sunday afternoon he informed the crowd that he was sent to “terrorize folk fest.”  We had the opportunity to chat with Biram backstage at the Bur Oak stage at Winnipeg Folk Fest. 

When asked what his interpretation of folk music was he said, “The traditional way of looking at folk music is looking at traditional music that’s passed on and somehow makes social commentary... which is almost the same as the blues. It talks about problems with the world today and stuff like that but there’s a pretty broad stroke definition for folk. 

“There’s really not a definition you have to stick your finger right on. I think roots music is related to folk music. I think blues is related to folk music and rock and roll is loud folk music.”

High Plains Reader: In a previous interview you described your style as “Depression era metal.” Can you define that? 

Scott H Biram: My most frequented genre of music that I play is Delta Blues influenced and related to the blues that came out in the 30s. I call it “porch blues” or “acoustic blues”... the original blues, you know? I’m kind of loud and obnoxious and I yell and I holler and my music has become a mix of many things. That was a good way to describe it. I’ve been calling it “trucker rock,” “country blues and metal...” anything but rap! (laughs)

HPR: You’re known for making your own percussive element. Can you describe your foot stomp board? 

SHB: I went through a lot of design with that thing over the last 20 years or so. My solo sets were more of a side project 20 years ago. I was just playing acoustic folk songs and blues songs… stuff like Leadbelly and Dylan. I used to just stomp on my microphone stand and I turned the bass up real high on my vocals so it made my vocals sound like crap but I got this great stompin’ sound. I’ve probably had four or five versions of my stomp over the years and I’ve finally figured it out.

HPR: I read in another interview that you were an art major... 

SHB: I got a degree in painting--which was very useful… I think the most useful thing that came out of it was my drawing teacher from college has made my last four or five album covers. I did a lot of collage in college. Some of my songwriting is kind of like that because sometimes I’ll have two songs written and neither of them have quite enough lyrics or I might not know what I need to do with something so I’ll just put two songs together and sometimes it doesn’t really make sense but it works out.

HPR: You’re known in some circles to possess a mojo pouch. Can you tell us a bit about it? 

SHB: Yeah! My mojo hand. It’s a hoodoo kinda thing. It’s a little red bag where you keep important things that have certain kinds of energy… There are all kinds of traditional things that are kept in those like a black cat bone, which is like the ninth bone in a black cat’s tail. Something called John the conqueror root...different things. It’s basically like...a spirit bag or a good mojo bag.  I probably shouldn’t just keep it in my safe at home but that’s where it is now because I’m afraid I’ll lose it. I used to have Jello Biafra’s phone number in there for my punk rock mojo. I have Carl Perkins pick in there for my country rockabilly mojo. I’ve got a piece of Muddy Waters’ shack in there. This guy from Kentucky gave it to me and I’ve put a few extra things in there including my coon dick bone collection.

HPR: A collection?

SHB: They’re called a baculum. The story is the old Cajuns used to keep them in their hat, keep ‘em sharpened and use ‘em as a toothpick. I have about four or five of ‘em. I had one more but I traded JD Wilkes from the Legendary Shack Shakers for the Carl Perkins pick.

HPR: After playing four days of Folk Fest what’s next? 

SHB: I’m about to go home and start working on a new record. It will be my eleventh record since 99. My friend Jesse Dayton and I recorded a few songs . We’re going to put out a 7” of that. It’s full band stuff… He’s been on tour playing guitar with Ryan Bingham for the last couple months and we’re both about to be home for a while so we’re going to try to put a full length album out but we’ll see what happens. We’re thinking about calling it “Regulators.”

RECENTLY IN

Music

Tracker Pixel for Entry Josh1 Tracker Pixel for Entry Kylie1 Tracker Pixel for Entry Ruth1 Tracker Pixel for Entry Heidi3 Tracker Pixel for Entry District21 Tracker Pixel for Entry Brifki1

Recently in:

FARGO – Ellen Chaffee wanted to know how much lobbyists were spending to influence North Dakota legislators. Online searches ended in dead ends. As the founders of North Dakotans for Public Integrity, Chaffee and Dina Butcher…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comZero Gravity Alternative Fitness will present their annual Halloween showcase this Saturday at their studio in south Fargo. The event, aptly named Poletergeist II, is a chance for students and staff…

Wednesday, October 24, 6:30 - 8 p.m.Atonement Lutheran Church, 4601 University Drive S., FargoBring the kids for candy and fun! This family-friendly halloween event has fun for everyone! There will be trunk or treating outside, a…

This weekend I was showing a friend of mine some Fargo hotspots. He was visiting from the West Coast, so naturally I was playing up the Midwest’s many charms. He mentioned that one thing that differed from the West Coast was the…

Gadfly

Goodbye Democracy!

by Ed Raymond

How today’s “christians” hammered the nails into the hands and feet of christHistorian Christopher Browning, who has spent a lifetime studying the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the World War II era of Europe, has expressed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.com The scent of sauerkraut will be in the air next Wednesday when the Wishek Association of Commerce hosts the 93rd Annual Sauerkraut Day festival in Wishek, ND.The city of Wishek is situated 30…

We started our interview with JBOT, Captured! By Robots front man, captive and creator by playing a small bout of phone tag. You see, his internet went out and that sent his mind racing. Once we touched base, he said, “For a…

Damien Chazelle’s fourth feature follows the trajectory common to the careers of many ambitious and talented filmmakers honored with Academy Awards: the dissipation of rawness and experimentation as budgets, expectations, and…

I came to Mineral Point, Wisconsin for the art. The tiny town among the rolling hills about 50 miles southwest of Madison is home to just 2,491 souls and 25 art galleries and studios. Any community with that much creative energy…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a…