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One of the most noticeable aspects of Rev Peyton and his Big Damn Band’s music is the high intensity as the band and the Reverend lay down a selection of big-bodied, raw country blues. Powered by restless slide guitar the listener is drenched in honest as the day is long country blues, with the music steeped in traditional flavours of the great pioneers it brings to life a few ghosts of yesterday.
Recorded, at the Farm Fresh Studio the music in the main is stripped back. Apart from Peyton’s roaming guitar and lived in vocals you have Breezy Peyton on a couple of tracks add washboard and Max Senteney on drums. A suitcase set was put together in the studio for the record. Made over the course of one week in the studio, and time spent on the front porch (a source of a good many ideas for tunes as Peyton would do a spot of picking) there is a rich rural feel to the record. Brown County, Southern Indiana native Peyton and the band are the real deal, and with him using vintage gear Peyton underpins his ideals of wanting to make hand made American music that’s timeless.
Drawing on the hard-knuckle blues of Bukka White, Furry Lewis, Charlie Patton and Blind Willie Johnson it has Peyton carve out a sound that isn’t so much about being old, but timeless. The music is raw but not overly so, and with Peyton’s slide guitar aided by a steady rhythm there is no denying his honesty as his rough-edged vocals ring true. Opening with “We Deserve A Happy Ending” and the lung bursting “When My Baby Left Me” he rattles the timbers and shakes the walls.
He keeps up the intense relentless feel with the likes of “What You Did To The Boy Ain’t Right”, “One Bad Shoe” and with tempered beauty, the nicely picked “One More Thing”. This as he speaks of how a family are perilously close to losing their house (and pretty much everything they own). It is arguably the best track on the record! Others of note include the less power driven “Shakey Shirley” and with slide guitar and pounding rhythm the gospel-esque “Let Your Light Shine” and terrific “When You Lose Your Money”. His cultured picking (shades of Mississippi John Hurt) assist Peyton’s big bodied vocals perfectly, and with hints of an old melody pump through its veins the frenetic “Cornbread And Butterbeans” signs off the album.
You also have instrumentals “Flying Squirrels” (lots of nimble picking) and string popping “All Night Long”. If you have not already guessed, the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are one of those acts who are great live, the kind of unit that take over the building!
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