There aren’t many bands as dedicated to touring as Brown County, Indiana’s The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Averaging more than 250 shows a year, they’re making a stop at the Magic Bag on 3/15 on their Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour with Dom Flemons of Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Dexter Romweber Duo. Despite their exhaustive schedule, the Big Damn Band takes pride in their energetic, passionate performances.
“It’s going to be a very special show, very unique,” said the Reverend J. Peyton of the Magic Bag show. We can expect some new songs from The Big Damn Band, some collaboration with the openers onstage, and of course, lots of dancing and hand clapping.
The country blues trio isn’t what came out of your grandpa’s record player. The Big Damn Band is known for their eclectic mix of nontraditional instruments. The Reverend J. Peyton is on guitar and vocals, using a National steel bodied guitar, an acoustic and a three-string cigar box guitar onstage. His wife, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton plays, well, a washboard. She’s crafted gloves with thimbles attached to the fingers, sometimes resulting in her literally setting the washboard on fire while playing. Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell plays a drum kit that includes a five-gallon plastic bucket with drum hardware.
It’s tough to lock the Big Damn Band into a genre. There definitely isn’t one style of music that they draw inspiration from. “I grew up listening to lots of different stuff. I liked a lot of old blues and rock and roll,” says The Rev. “The older I get, the more stuff I listen to.”
The Big Damn Band has played Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, South By Southwest, opened for Celtic-punk label mates Flogging Molly, and toured throughout Europe, just to name a few of the notches on their collective belt. They even played the Vans Warped Tour in 2009 and 2010. It’s safe to say that they’re probably the most punk rock country blues band around.
“We had a great time,” says The Rev of Warped Tour. “We’ve been able to keep it so fresh and do so many kinds of things. It’s part of the excitement.”
When it comes to enjoying the huge, anything-goes atmosphere of an outdoor festival versus the intimacy of a private show at an indoor venue, The Rev doesn’t have a preference. They have a reputation for their lively, energetic performances that rely heavily on audience participation. When going to a Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band show, you had better be ready to get up and move.
“What makes a show better than others is all about the crowd,” he says. “The crowd literally makes or breaks the show. We’re going to give everything we got every night, no matter what.”
The Big Damn Band released their debut album The Pork ‘n’ Beans Collection in 2004. They’re currently signed to SideOneDummy Records and have been since 2008, when they released their fourth album The Whole Fam Damnily. They’ve released three since, their most recent being 2012’s Between The Ditches. The Rev speculates that 2014 will be their biggest recording year yet.
“We have a ton of recordings planned for this year. I’m really proud of the songs,” he says. “We’re working on a full length record and maybe an EP, too.” There are also some potential collaborations with other artists on the horizon, but The Rev is keeping that on the down low for now.
“We love it. We live for it,” says The Rev of the whole deal; the touring, the recording, the live shows. “That’s why we do what we do. I love playing music. I love everything about it.”
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