Could there be any unlikelier success story in music than the pride of Brown County, Ind., Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band? And by success, we mean still making a living nearly a decade after its self-released debut, The Pork ‘n’ Beans Collection, playing an endless tour of 250 dates per year while living in a rustbucket Chevy van. Even more unlikely is the band’s frenetic Americana/Country Blues, a pastiche of classic hillbilly Folk and Robert Johnson’s crossroads Delta deal that the members play with an almost unhinged abandon.
Then there’s the lineup: The Reverend, playing a variety of electrified acoustic guitars (including a National steel body, a Trojan Resonator and a three string cigar box) at Thrash Metal tempos while singing like Fozzie Bear on amphetamines and Red Bull; his wife Breezy on washboards, which she plays (and breaks and burns) with the authority of Pete Townshend; and new drummer Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell, whose spare kit is accentuated with a custom-designed five-gallon bucket.
Peyton’s Big Damn Band appeals to a broad and eclectic demographic, which allows the band to make new fans whether playing traditional Blues festivals, the Warped Tour, the Sturgis biker rally or opening for Z.Z. Top, Flogging Molly or the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The Big Damn Band’s 2010 album, The Wages, hit the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Blues chart, a feat that was matched by last year’s Between the Ditches, the band’s most commercially successful release so far.The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band may never nail a platinum record to the outhouse wall, but the members will make due with their silver fillings, their hearts of gold and one of the most original sounds in any genre.
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