The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is a three-piece American country bluesband 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 August 7, 2012 they released their newest album Between the Ditches.
Reverend J. Peyton - guitar, lead vocals, and principal songwriter,
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. While recovering from surgery, Rev Peyton met Breezy, who he later married on June 14, 2003. She introduced him to the music of Jimbo Mathus and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and he introduced her to delta blues. When the bandages were removed, Peyton discovered a new flexibility and greater control in his fretting hand that enabled him to play in the "finger" style that had long eluded him.
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.
The Big Damn Band has toured constantly in the United States, Canada and Europe, steadily building popularity and sales of their albums.
In June 2008, they signed with Los Angeles-based SideOneDummy Records, a label they share 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.
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 has recently been replaced with Ben 'Bird Dog' Bussell.
Rev Peyton is a Kentucky Colonel.
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.
On March 6, 2013 they launched the Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour with Jimbo Mathus & Grammy Winner Alvin Youngblood Hart in Columbia, Missouri.
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.