KEARNEY — Reverend Peyton sums up his show as “real, from-the-heart music made by people who are good at it.”
“The roots of what we do, and where all our music comes from, is the rural American country blues,” Reverend Peyton said in an interview from his tour bus somewhere in Illinois. “It starts and centers itself in the rural blues. We have, over the years, worked to refine what it is that we do with our sound.”
The band features Reverend Peyton on his custom-made National steel resonator, along with other vintage guitars played through a 1949 Supro amplifier. His wife, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton, plays the washboard. Max Senteney performs on a lean drum kit, including a five-gallon maple syrup bucket.
“The people that inspired me to pick up a guitar and play, sing and write songs are people like Mississippi John Hurt, Charlie Patton and Bukka White,” Reverend Peyton said. “We work hard to just sort of forge our own way and make music that is inside of us, about my family and my friends, things I like and things I don’t like. Most of it is very autobiographical.”
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Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Other Side.
The band’s videos feature a variety of circus-type performers, people that Reverend Peyton knows personally.
“We just have a lot of weird friends,” he said. “We live in southern Indiana, in the hills, in the least populated county in Indiana. That rural life influences everything we do.”
The band’s website describes Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band with this: “With all the power of a freight train, the Big Damn Band is known for its live shows. Reverend Peyton delivers guitar pyrotechnics the old-fashioned way — 10 fingers, a 6-string and an amp cranked at full tilt. In the country-blues style, he plays the bass with his thumb while picking the lead with his fingers at the same time.”
Some of the bands recordings include:
- “Between the Ditches,” 2006
- “The Wages,” 2010
- “So Delicious,” 2015
- “Front Porch Sessions,” 2017
- “Poor Until Payday,” 2018
The band records most of its albums live without much production.
“On our most recent record, ‘Poor Until Payday,’ there wasn’t much technology used on it that was newer than 1959,” Reverend Peyton said. “When you make records that way, you end up sounding like the record when you play it live. A lot of time people don’t realize that it’s just the three of us on the record. There are no overdubs, there are no extra musicians on it. There’s just the three of us when we record it and there’s just the three of us on stage.”
At live shows, Reverend Peyton devotes his entire attention to the task at hand.
“The most important thing to me is to be 100 percent there,” he said. “We’ve never ‘phoned in’ a show in our lives. You’ve got to be 100 percent there for every single show. The people that are there, they paid the full ticket price so the need a full-ticket-price show.”
Besides making music, Reverend Peyton enjoys fishing.
“I love to fish,” he said. “We’ve played in 38 countries and we’ve fished in probably 20 of them. No matter where we go, we fish. When you’re fishing, you’re an active part of nature. Fishing is different than hunting because there’s no catch and release with hunting.”