The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Right out of rural Indiana comes The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. This fingerpickin', scrubboard scratchin', drum-bucket country blues trio conjure up the likes of such greats as Son House and Charley Patton.
You wanna talk about commitment to your art? These guys sold everything they owned in a garage sale and hit the open road playing over 250 shows a year. From punk, bluegrass, rockabilly, roots and alt-country shows to festivals as diverse as Monolith, Austin City Limits, Vancouver Folk, All Good and Lillehammer Blues Weekend they've played 'em all. “We’ll play with anyone, really”, says the Reverend. The Big Damn Band has toured constantly in the United States, Canada and Europe, steadily building popularity and sales of their albums. “We come from the same tradition that Charley Patton and Furry Lewis came from, they just took off with their instruments and went out into the world to see what would stick,” Peyton elaborates. “They sang about what they were going through in their time and we’re doing the same thing in ours. It’s a hard way to go, but I think that in this day and age it’s the way you gotta get your music out to people. Radio ain’t going to be playing us, you know what I mean?”
In June 2008, they signed with Los Angeles- based SideOneDummy Records, a label they share with Flogging Molly. They released The Whole Fam Damily on August 5, 2008 through the label, and it entered the Billboard Blues Chart at # 4.
The Big Damn Band features the vocals and incredible finger picking guitar style of "Reverend" Josh Peyton, his wife Breezy Peyton on washboard and vocals and Aaron Persinger on drums. Josh has been compared to country blues great Charley Patton. In fact the bands latest release Peyton on Patton, is an album exclusively of Charley Patton songs. The album was recorded by Paul Mahern with a single microphone in a single day to duplicate the methods used to create the original Patton recordings.
On stage the Reverend plays a rusty 1930 steel bodied National guitar, a 1934 wood bodied National Trojan Resonator guitar and a 1994 reproduction of a 1929 Gibson acoustic. He has recently added a 3 string cigar box to his stage collection. Peyton uses no outboard gear other than a three input switch box between his guitars and the amplifier. Breezy plays the washboard using golf gloves, to which thimbles have been attached. Her aggressive playing style results in the band selling fragments of broken and burnt washboard at the merchandise table at their concerts. Aaron plays a small drum kit augmented with a five gallon plastic bucket fitted with drum hardware. The band claims they are the only band in the world with a bucket endorsement deal. The band’s raucous shows have become the stuff of legend, with Breezy wearing clean through stainless steel washboards, the Reverend furiously picking like his strings are on fire and Aaron firing up the tempos with his kick and snare drum.
Lyrically, The Reverend Peyton isn’t big on metaphor and symbolism, preferring to let people know exactly how he feels, whether he’s singing about being too poor to afford health insurance of just missing Mama Peyton’s fried potatoes. “All the songs I write are 100 percent true, I don’t make stuff up and I never have,” Peyton explains. “I feel like I got to directly be involved in a song,” he adds. “Maybe if I played a different genre of music I’d feel like I could get away with making stuff up, but this style of music is too honest; you can’t lie to people because they’ll see right through it."
This band is fun sure, but they are for real. Yeah, you might get sweaty at a show, you might see a washboard set on fire, but this band can play, and the lyrics mean something. Virtuoso musicianship, great songwriting, killer live show. three top ten Billboard blues records, toured 20+ countries and all from the Southern Indiana hills. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band may technically only be comprised of three people, but once you've heard and seen them I'm sure you're gonna agree... the name sure fits.
photo credit: Joseph Persinger