Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
November 16, 2016, Asheville Music Hall, Asheville, NC
By Tyler Davis
Photos by Sara Blandin
The Reverend Peyton’s reputation precedes him. People talk of a big burly man with strong beard and an infectious smile. The legends are true. The Reverend stands tall and fills out his denim overalls. Looking like a man who could easily chop down every tree in your neighborhood, his stage presence is as enormous as his guitar playing. A scholar of the finest blues tradition, the slide guitar blues; Reverend Peyton wields several different varieties of the instrument, and does it quite well. Wednesday November 16th found us at the Asheville Music Hall to be delighted by the Reverend and his Big Damn Band-mates. Hailing from Brown County, Indiana the trio tours around the world spreading the slammin’ blues gospel. They did just that in Asheville to a good size crowd.
The SuperSuckers opened the show with some good ole outlaw country tunes. Waylon and Merle would have been proud. The Big Damn Band took the stage about 10:15pm. One song into the set, the Reverend took a moment to break down his guitar style. “Y’all notice there’s no bass player up here with our band. That’s ‘cause I’m playing the bass right here with my thumb. A real person with a real guitar playing real notes. There ain’t no iPod up here playing a bass track.” Reverend Peyton and I seem to be from the same school of thought of what constitutes real music. The set grooved along and dropped into “Pot Roast and Kisses,” a track off the new album, So Delicious. It’s a down home happy tune that makes you feel good inside. Written for the one he shares both his life and the front of the stage with, Breezy Peyton, aka “Washboard Breezy.” Reverend Peyton says, “She doesn’t get enough credit for the way she plays. Her groove pockets are deep, and in the percussion world that is hard to find.” One must not forget Ben Bussell’s drums and backing supporting vocals. He is the anchor upon which the Big Damn Band stays rooted. During the song, Breezy and the Reverend come together for a nice coed side step during one of the twangs of his guitar.
The set danced back and forth between songs off the new album,So Delicious and older tunes the crowd shouted out. “Bean Blossom Boogie” was a notable high-energy crowd pleaser. As well as “Clap Your Hands.” The Reverend then mentioned he would be playing his re-work of an old traditional blues tune, “When My Baby Left Me” that would be featured on an upcoming release titled “Front Porch Sessions.” It was a beautiful, soul-stirring ballad that really let the Rev’s guitar work shine. Also, an honorable mention for the band’s roadie that stayed hard at work throughout the show- at one point bringing the Reverend a sip of water and dabbing the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief. That same handkerchief used later during the set to blindfold the drummer during a solo. Great stuff.
The set wrapped up around 11:30, as always, leaving the crowd wanting more. You can’t be greedy though. These hardworking musicians left it all out on stage as I’m sure they always do. No wonder they have such a diverse, dedicated following.