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The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

Jazz/Blues

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band Tickets

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About The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band may technically only be comprised of three people, but their name is no misnomer.

Although the family-based act — which is comprised of fingerstyle guitarist Reverend Peyton, his wife and washboard player Breezy Peyton and drummer/brother Jayme Peyton — have only been around for three years, in that time period these country-blues aficionados from rural Indiana have played more than 250 shows annually and logged more miles on their van than most acts who have been around for a decade.

"We end up playing with a lot of punk rock bands and any kind of roots acts from bluegrass to alt-country to rockabilly to you name it," the Reverend himself answers when asked what a typical Big Damn Band performance is like, "we'll play with anyone, really."

While many bands in the country and traditional genres like to talk about their authenticity, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band have proved it by sacrificing everything in order to make the group a success.

"We sold everything we owned in a big yard sale and just hit the road," Peyton explains in his deep Hoosier drawl when asked how the band got rolling. "We started out doing just local stuff, then it started growing before we knew it, we'd sold five thousand copies of our demo record just out of our van," he continues. "Then we made [2006's] Big Damn Nation and thought, ‘Hell, let's just do it and start travelling and see what happens'... and it's been working. 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?"

Ironically, despite the fact that the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band are influenced by country blues legends like Son House and Furry Lewis, they got a big break when the Irish rock act Flogging Molly decided to take them out on the road.

"We played with Flogging Molly at a festival and they liked our set and told us they wanted to take us out on tour. I thought, ‘Oh man, they're probably just pulling our leg or being nice to us,' but they ended up taking us out with them. They said that they do to Celtic roots music the same thing that we do to old country blues: Write songs about things that are happening now and people we know, but kind of kick it up a little bit, you know?"

This analogy is evident when listening to the band's new full-length The Whole Fam Damnily, which was recorded at a church in Bloomington, Indiana, just down the road from where the band live.

From the rowdy and rancorous opener "Can't Pay The Bill" to melodic, slideguitar-driven barnburner "Walmart Killed The Country Store" and heartfelt
fingerstyle ballad "What's Mine Is Yours," the album is a timeless collection of songs that defies age and era—and pays homage to the band's influences without imitating them.
"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."

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. (For instance, "Your Cousin's On Cops" is about Breezy's cousin being arrested near the Indianapolis 500.)

"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."

However, above all, the stripped-down songs on The Whole Fam Damnily are meant to be performed live—and 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 Jayme firing up the tempos with his kick and snare drum.

"When folks go to see a band perform, they want to come out to see a show and that's nothing new," Peyton explains. "Charley Patton was playing with his teeth and behind his head in 1930; now people say that's punk rock, but they've been doing that for a hundred years," he summarizes. "I think country blues was the first punk rock if you ask me."