While they're only a trio, the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band deliver a sound that lives up to their name, with thick, bass-heavy, blues-based guitar figures and growling vocals accompanied by muscular but minimal drumming and the metallic percussive scratch of a washboard (making them one of the first rock bands to regularly feature the latter instrument since Black Oak Arkansas).
The group was formed by guitarist and singer Josh "Reverend" Peyton, who was born and raised in Indiana, and first exposed to music through his father's record collection, which was heavy on Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan, all artists with their own take on the blues. When Josh was 12 years old, his dad gave him a Kay guitar, and once he grew to know his way around the instrument, he got an amp to go along with it. With his brother Jayme Peyton on drums and a mutual friend on bass, Josh formed his first band, Drive-Thru, and began playing parties and dances as Josh developed a greater passion for vintage blues, ranging from electric blues icons like Muddy Waters and B.B. King to country-blues artists such as Bukka White and Charley Patton. Not long after finishing high school, Josh broke up Drive-Thru after developing a severe case of tendonitis that made it extremely painful for him to play the guitar. However, after a year working as a hotel desk clerk, doctors at the Indiana Hand Center were able to perform surgery that allowed him to play the guitar again, and around the same time, he met a woman named Breezy, who shared his love of the blues. The two fell in love and eventually married; they decided to form a band, with Josh on guitar and vocals, and Breezy on vocals and washboard. Jayme Peyton rounded out the group on drums, and the Big Damn Band was born. The group hit the road hard -- they play up to 250 dates a year -- and in 2004 cut their first album, The Pork n' Beans Collection, which they self-released, selling thousands of copies at the merch table at their shows. After two more self-released albums (2006's Big Damn Nation and 2007's The Gospel Album), Peyton's Big Damn Band struck a deal with Side One Dummy, a punk label with a fondness for aggressive roots music, and 2008's The Whole Fam Damily was their first release for the label. In late 2009, Jayme Peyton left the Big Damn Band, and Aaron "Cuz" Persinger took over the group's makeshift drum kit (complete with a modified bucket). Two more albums for Side One Dummy followed (2011's Peyton on Patton, with the group covering the songs of blues legend Charley Patton, and 2012's Between the Ditches) before Persinger left the Big Damn Band and Ben "Bird Dog" Bussell signed on as drummer in 2013. In 2014, the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band signed a new record deal with the relaunched blues label Yazoo Records; their first release for the company, So Delicious, dropped in January 2015. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi