The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has been creating a whirlwind with their riveting and unconventional elixir of muscular and high voltage country blues capped by gritty growling vocals and striking finger picking. Inspired by the likes of Charley Patton, Furry Lewis and John Hurt, Reverend Peyton is steeped in the great blues tradition but is catapulting its roots into a new era. Living Blues Magazine declares, “The tent revival, almost punk energy of the Big Damn Band is a refreshing splash of coldwater to the face,” while Elmore Magazine raves “You can’t ignore Big Damn Band’s gospel.” February 2015, Shanachie Entertainment will release The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s highly anticipated new CD. The release of this album marks the first time that a contemporary artist has been released on Yazoo. Shanachie Entertainment General Manager Randall Grass shares, “We are excited to sign Reverend Peyton, an artist whose appreciation of the many great blues artists released on our historic Yazoo label has ledhim--like The White Stripes and The Black Keys--to translate the spirit of those seminal masters into a 21st century incarnation of elemental blues."
Roaring out of the southern Indiana foothills, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band have distinguished themselves for their tireless work ethic and high-octane live performances. Their sheer energy, virtuoso musicianship and witty songwriting have allowed the road warriors to play close to 250 dates a year and become favorites on the festival circuit. The strikingly magnetic trio features the Reverend along with his wife Breezy’s energized washboard playing and soulful vocals and dynamic drummer Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell. "The Yazoo Record label was always my favorite label growing up, and am so proud to be a part of the roster,” shares Reverend Peyton. “We now share a label with so many of our heroes. I can't wait for our fans and the rest of the world to hear this record. The foundation is built on the legacy of American Rural Blues, but we endeavor to take this music to places beyond the museum and the nostalgic. This is timeless music for listeners now that owes as much to The Band, ZZ Top, and CCR as it does to Charley Patton."
Reverend Peyton’s father, a blues fan, bought him a red Kay state of the Art model guitar and later a Gorilla amplifier once he learned to play. It was not long before the Rev was exploring the music of BB King, Muddy Waters, Bukka White and Charley Patton. In high school, following a performance at his graduation party, The Rev, experienced excruciating pain in his hands. Doctors later informed him that he would never be able to hold his left hand in fretting position again. During the year when he was unable to play, he spent countless hours dreaming of playing again. He eventually underwent hand surgery that required removing a mass of scar tissue that led to new flexibility and greater control. It was during this recovery time that Rev. Peyton met Breezy. Their first date was at the Indiana State Fair, where Peyton won a stuffed animal they named the "Big Damn Bear,” and the rest as they say is history.
In February 2015, Yazoo Records will release The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s highly anticipated new CD, So Delicious. Their previous releases include: Big Damn Nation (2006) The Gospel Album (2007), The Whole Fam Damnily (2008), The Wages (2010), Peyton on Patton (2011) and Between the Ditches (2012), which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Blues Charts. This will be their first release with Yazoo Records. In 2010 they were on the entire Van’s Warped Tour on the Alternative Press stage and they received the “Best Band of Warped Tour” award, voted by the crew, bands, and promoters. They’ve also played the following festivals; Glastonbury, Austin City Limits, Bonaroo, High Sierra, Warped Tour, Vancouver Folk Fest, King Biscuit Blues Fest, Riot Fest, WOMAD, Cornbury, Edinburgh Jazz Fest, Cambridge Folk Fest, Waterfront Blues Fest, Telluride, DelFest and All Good just to name a few. With the release of their new record in February, 2015 The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is poised to reach the masses with their insatiable fusion of Delta blues, hillbilly fervor, rock infused edge and poignant story telling.
The Tillers got their start in August 2007 when they started thumping around with some banjos and guitars and a big wooden bass. Their earliest gigs were for coins and burritos on the city’s famous Ludlow Street in the district of Clifton. The songs they picked were mostly older than their grandparents. Some came from Woody Guthrie, some were southern blues laments, and many were anonymous relics of Appalachian woods, churches, riverboats, railroads, prairies, and coal mines.
Their look didn’t fit the stereotype. They were clearly recovering punk rockers with roots in city’s west side punk rock and hardcore scene. The punk influence gave their sound a distinctive bite, setting them apart from most other folk acts- a hard-driving percussive strum and stomp that brought new pulse and vinegar to some very old songs. But their musical range soon proved itself as they floated from hard-tackle thumping to tender graceful melody, all the while topped by Oberst and Geil’s clear tenor harmonies.
They began picking up weekly gigs around the city’s bar scene. It didn’t take long before their signature treatment of classic folk songs became the preferred versions of Cincinnati locals. Their audiences swelled, growing into an assortment of grey-haired mechanics, neo-hippies, farmers, punkers, professors, and random strays all stomping, clapping, singing, and belting outbursts of “John Henry!” “Darlin’ Corey!” Ever since, the band has come to each show with the same energy. They are magnetic showmen, mature musicians, and colorful storytellers.
The Tillers have since won over Cincinnati’s bar and festival scene, and launching tours with tireless momentum. They were awarded CityBeat Magazine’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award for best Folk and Americana act in 2009 and 2010. Their relentless gigging has taken them throughout the east coast, the Midwest and West, and the Appalachian south. In the summer of 2009, veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw featured the Tillers on a documentary about US Route 50. Brokaw showcased the group’s song “There is Road (Route 50)” as a testimony to the highway’s role as a connective tissue of the nation.
Musically, the band wears many hats. Their sound has proven to be an appropriate fit with a wide range of musical styles- traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock and anything else they might run into. They have shared the stage with a broad swath of national touring acts, ranging from renowned folk legends such as Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Douglas, Iris Dement and The Carolina Chocolate Drops to rambunctious rock daredevils like the Legendary Shack Shakers.
Always moving, the Tillers continue to enter new territory. Their musical growth can be heard through the scape of their many releases, 2008′s debut record Ludlow Street Rag, 2010′s By The Signs, 2011′s Wild Hog in the Woods, 2012′s Live from the Historic Southgate House and many more bootleg releases. The band’s lineup has also taken new shape. In February 2010, long-time bassist Jason Soudrette fondly parted ways with the group, being replaced by Aaron Geil, brother of guitarist Sean. Recalibrating has not slowed their pace.
They continue to plot their travels around the map, electrifying new places and making new friends wherever they go. From place to place, they carry with them more instruments, new songs, and funnier stories. They are Cincinnati’s traveling minstrels. Expect to hear from them soon.
- Advance: $15.00
- Day of Show: $18.00
Indiana’s finest roots rockers Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will host their annual Thanksgiving bash at the Ballroom at the Taft on Saturday November 24 with local heroes The Tillers.
Roaring out of the southern Indiana foothills comes Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band…playing a brand of Americana and Blues that stands alone. Delta blues and hillbilly fervor combine with musical acuity sharp as razor wire…You’d best know… this trio is a force to be reckoned with! The growl of a good truck engine, the fiercest passion for country, home, and family, and an uncanny ability to breathe new life into old forms of music give them a pedigree many Americana acts would kill for. An ironclad work ethic keeps them on the road 250 dates a year. The Rev. J. Peyton, his wife Breezy and distant cousin Aaron “Cuz” Persinger are a living, breathing embodiment of the traditions native to their Brown County, Indiana home. Their brand new fifth album, Between The Ditches, is a chronicle of this lifestyle.