Words/Photo Glenn Blomfield

My Friday night started off tired, from a long day, and evening had yet to begin. Without knowing things on the horizon were at crossroad of change. Once I walked into the Tuning Fork music venue, I was to be taken away from what was from before and be in the now, the transporting realm of the band ‘Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band’.

I had no idea what was installed of the evening proceedings, but once the band took the stage at 9:30pm, I was there, full attention and all for the next few hours. They whipped me into line, rip roaring number, screaming out “Pour My Gas On”, starting with a song that already has you full swing. No mucking around with these kind folks, they want the night to be fun and rollicking. Roars to the crowd “Oh my Goodness, How the hell are you?” like we are old friends. ‘The Reverend Peyton’s Big Band’ three piece band from Brown County Indiana America, living in rural Nashville.

Nostalgia, rushes through me with feelings of Creedence Clearwater, Muddy Waters, and White Stripes, and many more. Johnny Cash come to mind, the point being, you feel the inspiration the history, the transportation of Country Blues. That back country of America, the New Orleans, bluegrass, music with soul, music with story. You feel its pain but all is to enjoy through expression. I conjure images of front porch of the farm in places like Mississippi New Orleans, a band jamming with friends and folks of kind, enjoying the soul expression through Country Blues rock.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is a stripped down band of three. You have the lead singer on guitar wearing hillbilly farming overalls ‘Reverend J. Peyton’, that is freight train full steam ahead – he is on journey. He has a plethora of guitar changes, each for the job at hand. His thumb plays for the bass, pounding large, as his fretting finger does the guitars country blues rocking sound. It’s impressive to say the least. Accompanying is the woman to his left ‘Breezy Peyton’; strumming the washboard like a devil possessed giving ZZ Top run for its money, whipping the thing around her neck. On the drums ‘Max Stenteney’, pounding the heartbeat with a drumset including a plastic bucket drum as instrument. This band gives that lively expressive feeling of carnival. When I say carnival I mean that Tom Waits feeling of carny folk, tearing blues music a new soul. I am trying to describe a memory lane of blues, of history, story telling, for example they played a song that was written in 1927 form a musician describing of times jumping trains across America.

Peyton bellows to the audience “Hella of a show” like as if we need reminding. But thats what they are all about – their confidence and exuberance, and we are having a ‘Hella of a show’. Lively, pounding, rough and ready guitar playing with sliding bar on finger, ripping down the fret neck of the guitar, crying out blues notes, loud and proud. I have mentioned he has a plethora of guitar choices; for example a three string cigar box guitar, not shy on roaring sound, another is a specially hand made brass guitar that shouts and screams notes, a loud pounding guitar that played a song “You Cant Judge A Book By Its Cover”. Him and those guitars have made a pact at the crossroads, and he now owns the stage front and center. Songs screaming to be heard with lyrics like “Don’t want nothing that ain’t mine”, “My old man drunk again… everyones friend” and “Poor until payday”. ‘Clap Your Hands’  has the audience obeying in command, stomping their feet to the power of their bands rich country blues.

The night’s proceedings finished with the audience singing loud and proud back to the band ‘Two Bottles of Wine’, the evenings show just felt like that i.e drunk, the wine being the carnival show of country blues, with hard rock. It was a country blues experience like no other.