The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
|The Reverend Peyton's
Big Damn Band
Ben "Bird Dog" Bussell, "Washboard" Breezy Peyton and the Reverend Peyton in Beanblossom, Indiana
|Also known as||Big Damn Band|
|Origin||Indianapolis, Indiana, United States|
|Genres||Roots music, Country blues|
|Members||The Reverend Peyton
"Washboard" Breezy Peyton
Ben "Bird Dog" Bussell
|Past members||Jayme Peyton
Aaron "Cuz" Persinger
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is a three-piece American country blues band from Brown County, Indiana, living in a rural area north of Nashville, Ind., and south of Bean Blossom. They play more than 250 dates per year at venues ranging from bars to festivals. To date, they have released seven albums and one EP. On February 17, 2015 they will release their next album So Delicious on the newly revived Yazoo Records label.
- On stage he 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 guitar to his stage collection. Peyton uses no outboard gear other than a three input switch box between his guitars and the amplifier. He is a noted proponent of Fingerstyle guitar, playing the bass line of songs with his thumb while simultaneously playing the melody, the melody of a different song or a round.
- "Washboard" Breezy Peyton – Washboard
- She 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.
- Ben "Bird Dog" Bussell – drums
- He plays a small drum kit, augmented with a five gallon plastic bucket fitted with drum hardware. The band claims they are the only rock band with a bucket endorsement deal.
Josh "The Reverend" Peyton was born April 12, 1981, Eagletown, Indiana. Original member and Rev's brother, Jayme, was born in 1983. Their father was a concrete man who performed odd jobs during the winter months for extra money, from plowing snow and chopping wood, to fur trapping. Rev Peyton's first introduction to music was via his father's record collection of blues-oriented rock, including Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. At age 12, Rev Peyton's father gave him a red Kay "State of the Art" model guitar, eventually purchasing a Gorilla amplifier once he learned to play. Shortly after, younger brother Jayme Peyton started playing the drums and, with a bass player, formed a band called "Drive-Thru" and played parties. A friend pointed out the blues sound of Rev Peyton's guitar playing, sending Peyton off on an exploration of the blues of BB King, Muddy Waters and B.B. King's cousin Bukka White. Further exploration led to pre-World War II "country blues", and a desire to learn the finger-picking style of artists like Charlie Patton. At the time Peyton was unable to master it, instead playing more pick-oriented blues.
Peyton played a party following his high school graduation, and the next morning suffered excruciating pain in his hands. Doctors told Peyton he'd never be able to hold his left hand in fretting position again. At that point, he gave up on music and spent a year working as the desk clerk in a hotel. During the period when he couldn't physically play guitar, he spent hours imagining playing guitar.
Eventually Peyton sought other medical advice. The Indiana Hand Center operated on his left hand removing a mass of scar tissue which gave him a new flexibility and greater control in his fretting hand that enabled him to play in the "finger" style that had long eluded him. While recovering from surgery, Rev Peyton met Breezy. He played her the music of Charley Patton, and she played him Jimbo Mathus' album Plays Songs For Rosetta, a benefit for his childhood caretaker - Patton's daughter, Rosetta. Their first date was at the Indiana State Fair, where Peyton won a stuffed animal they named the "Big Damn Bear", which gave them a name for their band.
Breezy took up the washboard, and the pair started writing songs. A trip to Clarksdale, Mississippi inspired them to resume playing music, and their first gigs were at Melody Inn Tavern in Indianapolis, Indiana. The band played blues festivals, headlined two nights at actor Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, and toured as the opening act for Mary Prankster. Eventually, a 40-hour drive from Indiana to El Centro, California to open for the Derek Trucks Band and Susan Tedeschi convinced the band to devote themselves to music and touring full-time. They received an offer from a blues record label, but discovered that they had sold more copies of their independently pressed CD "The Pork'n'Beans Collection" at their concerts than the label had managed to sell of any of their other artists. They married on June 14, 2003.
The Big Damn Band has toured constantly in the United States, Canada and Europe, steadily building popularity and sales of their albums.
In September 2007, drummer Jayme Peyton was unable to enter Canada to play a concert due to a "youthful indiscretion". His brother and sister-in-law had to leave him at a Greyhound bus station to play the date with local substitute drummer Josh Contant. ( Jayme had to hide in the woods near the truck stop to avoid being arrested as a vagrant.)
The band survived the departure of founding member Jayme Peyton in December 2009, who was replaced by Aaron 'Cuz' Persinger, who debuted at their annual homecoming show in Indianapolis at the Vogue Theatre. Persinger was replaced with Ben 'Bird Dog' Bussell.
In June 2008, they signed with Los Angeles-based SideOneDummy Records, a label they shared 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. They released three additional albums with SideOneDummy - The Wages, Payton on Patton and Between The Ditches.
September 18, 2014 the band announced that they signed with Shanachie Entertainment's recently revived Yazoo Records label, which previously had specialized in reissues. The label announced that "The release of this album marks the first time that a contemporary artist has been released on Yazoo". Their next album So Delicious will be released on February 17, 2015.
The Big Damn Band plays more than 250 dates per year, principally in the United States and Canada, but they have toured Europe and the United Kingdom as well. The majority of their dates are headlining, but they have opened for an eclectic mix of other artists, and played festivals. Their 2007 and 2008 tours included opening dates for the Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, progressive bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
In 2009, they toured opening for Clutch, an extensive headlining tour of Europe and began their relationship with the Van's Warped Tour, playing played 12 dates in 2009 on the Kevin Says stage. They were on the entire 2010 Van's Warped Tour on the Alternative Press stage and their song Clap Your Hands is on disc one of the 2010 Warped Tour compilation CD. They received the Best Band of Warped Tour award, voted by the crew, bands, and promoters.
The band has played other festivals such as Austin City Limits, Telluride, and the Bonnaroo Festival on June 9, 2011. They have also played blues festivals and venues in Italy, Switzerland and Austria, and spent the fall of 2011 touring Europe.
The band played the 2011 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for five consecutive evenings, August 7 through August 11 at the Full Throttle Saloon, the "World's Largest Biker Bar" that is only open ten days per year.
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band has been featured on Sirius Satellite Radio, has played multiple showcases at the South by Southwest music conference, and has been the musical guest on Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?. Their music is featured in the award-winning film Mississippi Cold Case by Canadian documentarian David Ridgen. Their song "Your Cousin's On Cops" led to a gig as the house band on a Jerry Springer Pay-Per-View special. In 2008 the band was featured in the Bikes, Blues and Barbecue motorcycle festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The band was featured in a cover story of the April/May 2009 issue of Blues Review magazine, and has appeared in a feature on CNN.
On January 10, 2013 the Indianapolis Star newspaper reported that the band had licensed four songs to the US cable television network Showtime series Shameless. The first song was used in the soundtrack of the 8th episode of the 3rd series, which premiered on March 10, 2013. Their song Something For Nothing appears on the series soundtrack album, released April 15, 2014.
The Pork'n'Beans Collection
This first album is all original material, except for Charlie Patton's "Pony Blues". Album was a basement demo of the earliest recordings of the band before they had toured and is currently out of print.
- "My Soul to Keep"
- "Plainfield Blues"
- "Sure Feels Like Rain"
- "Never Seem to Mind"
- "Pork Chop Biscuit"
- "Ain't Got Nothin'"
- "Pony Blues"
- "One Bad Shoe"
- "Rich Man"
- "That Train Song"
Voodoo Cock EP
Sampler of songs from the album to appear the next year as well as re-recorded versions of songs from the previous album, this more accurately reflected the evolving style of the band and The Rev's lower, rougher voice. Packaged in a simple cardboard slipcase and sold at a lower price, was only available in concert.
Big Damn Nation
Produced by Paul Mahern and Jimbo Mathis of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Recorded direct to analog tape with no overdubs, this album most accurately captures the sound of the band in concert. All original material, it includes re-recorded versions of several songs from the first album. The Reverend's voice is lower and more road worn. Jayme Peyton's drum kit has simplified to a single 18" kick, cymbal and an 8" snare, placing the drums in a much higher register than average.
- "My Old Man Boogie"
- "Long Gone"
- "Spreadin' Your Love Around"
- "Boom Chank"
- "Worryin' Kind"
- "Left Hand George"
- "Another Bottle"
- "Plainfield Blues"
- "My Soul to Keep"
- "Sugar Man"
The Gospel Album
Produced by Paul Mahern at White Ark Studios, The Gospel Album has similar production and style to that of Big Damn Nation. The album features Big Damn Band versions of seven gospel classics and one original song, "Blow That Horn", written by The Rev. Peyton. In terms of instrumentation changes, Jayme Peyton brings the five gallon bucket to the fore-front, which can be heard prominently on the song "Tell All The World John". Packaged in a limited edition tin, The Gospel Album officially went on-sale September 12, 2007.
The Whole Fam Damnily
Recorded in a church in Bloomington, Indiana. Went on sale August 4, 2008. Entered Billboard's "Blues" chart at #4 Blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd was introduced to the album by John Mellencamp and listed it as one of his top five "not-so-guilty pleasures", saying "His playing is great, but the vocal is where it gets unique" and "He sounds like a lumberjack singing. Try to picture some dude in a flannel shirt, walking through the backwoods with an axe and singing to himself."
- "Can't Pay the Bill"
- "Mama's Fried Potatoes"
- "Worn Out Shoe"
- "DT's or the Devil"
- "Your Cousin's on Cops"
- "John Hughes (The Water Tower's Heart Is Sore)"
- "The Creek's Are All Bad"
- "Them Old Days Are Gone"
- "Walmart Killed the Country Store"
- "I'd Love You Baby"
- "Everybody's Getting Paid but Me"
- "What's Mine Is Yours"
- "Persimmon Song"
The first album with new drummer Aaron "Cuz" Persinger was released on May 25, 2010 and entered the Billboard Blues Album chart at number two.
The on-line music service Rhapsody praised the album, calling it one of 2010’s most overlooked releases. Claiming that it disappeared beneath “the release-date-obsessed radar,” they deemed it one of the best albums released in the first half of the year.
Peyton on Patton
On July 19, 2011 the band released Peyton on Patton, an album exclusively of Charlie Patton songs. The album was recorded by Paul Mahern with a single microphone in four hours in a single day to duplicate the methods used to create the original Patton recordings. While the recording is primarily the Reverend Peyton's guitar and vocals, Breezy Peyton contributes washboard to several songs and a vocal to Elder Green Blues, and Aaron Persinger drums on an antique tobacco barrel.
The album features three different versions of Some Of These Days I'll Be Gone, one of Rev Peyton's favorite songs. The original concept was to record an album exclusively of different versions of this song.
In the first week of release, the album entered the Billboard Blues Album chart at #7.
- "Jesus Is A Dying-Bed Maker"
- "Some Of These Days I'll Be Gone" (Charley Patton Version)
- "Mississippi Boweavil Blues"
- "Elder Greene Blues"
- "Tom Rushen Blues"
- "Some Happy Days"
- "Some Of These Days I'll Be Gone" (Banjo Version)
- "Green River Blues"
- "Prayer Of Death Pt. 1"
- "A Spoonful Blues"
- "You're Gonna Need Someone (When You Come To Die)"
- "Shake It And Break It"
- "Some Of These Days I'll Be Gone" (Rev. Peyton Version)
Between the Ditches
On August 7, 2012, the band released Between the Ditches on CD, LP and digital download. The packaging for the physical releases includes postcards for each of the tracks by photographer Scott Toepfer, with the lyrics for each song printed on the back of the card. On the first day of sales, the album was at the top of the iTunes Blues chart and debuted at the number 2 spot on the Billboard Blues chart, reaching number 130 on the Billboard Pop Album chart, making it the band's biggest commercial success to date.
Unlike the previous album Peyton on Patton, Between the Ditches was recorded as a traditional studio album, using separate tracks over a longer period of time.
British newspaper The Independent gave the album four stars out of five, describing it as "a peculiarly infectious blues crusade, touching on themes of money, morality and social responsibility." Barry Kerzner of American Blues Scene described the album as an "amazingly well crafted, controlled explosion of talent" and that one should "Imagine the playing of Vince Gill, Whitey Johnson, James Blood Ulmer, and Ricky Skaggs all rolled into one person."
The video for the lead single off the album Devils Look Like Angels was released on August 9, 2012. Directed by Kevin Custer, who has also directed videos for The Gaslight Anthem, Hatebreed and Lil Wayne as well as a live concert DVD for label-mates Flogging Molly. It features Elsie McNulty, an eight year old fan of the band, lip syncing the lead vocals. Peyton explained that “I thought it would be funny to have a little girl with my voice. Plus, it shows that sometimes mean things can come in pretty packages. You just never can tell.”
The band released an animated music video for the song Big Blue Chevy '72 on February 14, 2013. It was produced by Terry Border of Bent Objects and features animated still images of the band's signature instruments as well as the eponymous truck.
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