Hailing from the music-rich scene in Brown County, Indiana, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band hit the road, and kept on traveling right through the Stratosphere. I had a chance to chat with the Rev. himself for a spell and discovered a surprisingly down-to-Earth voice at the other end of the phone.
At around 12 years old, The Reverend started working out his chops on an old Kay guitar his father gave him. These vintage instruments are known for their less than desirable playability, with the strings so far from the neck you had better develop some hefty callouses to avoid bleeding fingertips. These guitars still embody a sort of inexplicable magic, despite their deficits, much like early Blues music itself. Cutting his teeth (or fingers) on an old Kay is an entirely appropriate beginning for a man with pre-war era blues style heroes like Charlie Patton and "Mississippi" John Hurt. The gritty, percussive sound of Blues music's infancy always rang from a similar shoddy old box of a guitar. The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band embodies this same sweaty quality, an almost tactile rhythm that is usually associated with blues of that vintage. Pairing this detonation of energy with a live show equally as raucous, you will not want to miss them at the Taft Theatre this Saturday.
The band's latest release, "Between The Ditches" debuted #1 on the iTunes blues album chart. With songs ranging from almost cheeky ("Shut The Screen") to dark ("Devils Look Like Angels"), I asked the Reverend which songs were the most personal for him on this album. "We'll Get Through" was his first answer, an anthem of sorts to his wife and band mate, Breezy, who delivers an energy playing Washboard and backing vocals that may be unrivaled. One week after a hand surgery where doctors claimed he could never play again, he met Breezy and found a renewed strength in their relationship. Much to the contrary of previous medical advice, The Reverend found he could play again, even with a renewed flexibility and fervor. The trio was completed with the Reverend's cousin and "human metronome", Aaron Persinger on drums, and after reaching a point of playing 160+ shows a year while working full-time day jobs, music still wasn't exactly paying the bills. Their simple solution: "Just getting rid of the bills", selling all of their belongings in garage sales, hitting the road, leaving no option to look back.
Even though the blues world is, as the Rev. put it, "still trying to figure us out", they deliver a sound with a clear focus on writing songs "for here and now that sound timeless." I was delighted to discover that we agreed that John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the most underrated songwriters in Rock music. You can really hear a similar energy and ever-present, unforgettable hook in the Reverend's songs, much like those of Fogerty. You'll find yourself unable to stop humming "Big Blue Chevy '72" much in the same way you probably found yourself wishing you could have gotten Fogerty's "Down On The Corner" out of your head after your initial listening.
Get tickets here for The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band and Dom Flemmons (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops) at the Taft Theatre's Ballroom this Saturday, 11/30/13. You can also show you give one big damn by contributing to a food drive they are pairing with the show. Your donation of a non-perishable item will also earn you a 10% discount at the merchandise table, and "a free sticker or somethin' for helping out." If you need another reason to catch this show, you probably just don't like music, and that thought, friends, could give anyone the blues.
There is still time to enter to win tics HERE!