Speakeasy with Rev. Peyton 

Reverend Peyton an

Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band play roots blues cooked with Crisco.

Q: What led you to pursue roots blues rather than something more contemporary?

I just play the music that I love. I try to take the music of the pre-WWII blues tradition and inject it with my own stories and style. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be into it, but I knew that was what I had to do. So far we have been very lucky.

Q: Rumor has it you’re a real ordained minister.

Well, I am an ordained minister and I am licensed to perform marriages, but when people ask what kind of reverend I am I usually just point to my belt buckle or direct them to www.bigdamnband.com.

Q: Has it ever come in unexpectedly handy?

In the spring I was supposed to be performing the music and the ceremony for a wedding, but it was cancelled. I refuse to accept responsibility.

Q: Where’d you get your chops?

I started playing 10 years ago when I was 13, but if you want to know about my roots you’ll need to explore the pre-WWII roots blues tradition. I learned everything off of the records straight from the legends. I have spent hours alone pouring over the music. I love it.

Q: How did you manage to keep the band all in the family?

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is only three people, so that makes it easier. My brother Jayme [drums] is 21, but he started playing before I did. We have always been into the same kind of music. Jayme and I have been playing together for 10 years. “Washboard” Breezy, my wife, was into this kind of thing before we met. You would have to be to live with me. It takes up 99 percent of my time.

Q: For someone looking to explore your particular niche in music, what are some essential recordings and artists?

Start with the recordings of Charley Patton, Bukka White, Furry Lewis, Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson, Mississippi Sheiks or Son House.

Q: How often do you hear the sentence “You are really good” completed with “for someone so young.” Is that OK or does this suck?

Thank you for suggesting that. I usually only hear that if they know how old I am. Most people think I am older. I guess it is the beard and the type of music that we play.

Q: So tell me why people should drop $10 on your debut release, The Pork and Beans Collection.

In 10 years of playing blues, I consider this to be the best thing I have ever been a part of. I wrote every song on the CD except for one Charley Patton song that I wanted to record as a tribute to the best. I encourage everyone to come to the CD release party at Birdy’s on July 23, and see for themselves.

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