In Scott H. Biram's retelling, it's a bit like Truman Capote's In Cold Blood except, you know, with chickens.
"So on Christmas day, Fred was dead, which was sad," recalls the Austin hellbilly one-man-band. "And then a couple of weeks later, Red was dead but I'd used all my emotions on Fred, I think. Later that day, I come home and the other three were all dead. There were just feathers all over the place, and the dog had a big, full stomach. But then the dog got whacked by a car a few weeks ago ..."
Sin, retribution and poultricide are just a few of the themes haunting the world of Scott H. Biram, who will be mixing up stories with songs from his current album Graveyard Shift (on Bloodshot Records) in the Springs on Saturday night. Biram shreds the boundaries between hard blues, insurgent country, feverish gospel and rebel punk with a wild-eyed enthusiasm that brings to mind Howlin' Wolf and Hasil Adkins, 16 Horsepower and Lemmy Kilmeister.
"I'm not really any more crazy than most people," Biram insists. "My stage presence is definitely some kind of alter-ego therapy thing for me. It's a way for me to let loose. Sometimes I let a little too loose, then people get mad."
Biram is touring with a '59 Gibson hollow-body electric, a selection of four vocal and harmonica mics, an amplified stomping board and, on songs like "Plow You Under," plenty of rural revenge metaphors.
"Yeah, the last couple records had a lot of old girlfriend problems kind of being worked out in there," says Biram, whose songs have been featured on My Name is Earl and Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Citing influences that run "from Bill Monroe to Muddy Waters to Lightnin' Hopkins to Slayer and AC/DC and Townes Van Zandt," Biram tends to dismiss The White Stripes as "a little too artsy" but likes The Black Keys, who remind him of Junior Kimbrough.
"Which is OK," he adds, "because there's a lot of people I sound like, too though my main influences are people that are all dead."
Biram narrowly escaped the same fate five years ago, when a head-on collision with a semi laid him up for four months. It continues to vex a life of touring.
"Yeah, it sucks, because I'm constantly paranoid," says Biram, who depicts the grisly accident in the video for his song "Hit the Road." "If someone else is driving and I'm laying in the back of the van, I can't really ever get any sleep because I'm always thinking about what it would be like to be crushed by all my equipment.
"But you know, I gotta make a living, and this is the best opportunity I've had for a career."