Rev. Peyton Returns to Roots

Brown County’s favorite group is launching a tour of the midwest. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is set to release their tenth studio album and bring everyone together to their front porch of their cabin. Front Porch Sessions releases Friday, March 10 and their album release show will be at The Hi-Fi on March 17.

If you haven’t heard of the band lost-in-time, know that everyone calls their lead singer Rev, even his mother. He is actually legally a reverend as well and he performed the marriage ceremony for the owners of Indy CD & Vinyl, Annie and Andy Skinner. The band is composed of Josh “the Rev” Peyton on guitar (or whatever he put strings on) and lead vocals, with his wife Breezy singing backup and playing the washboard.

By now nearly everyone in Indiana knows The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, whether it’s from their sets at the Indiana State Fair, or from the time they were the houseband for Jerry Springer, or for the video of the Rev playing (and shooting) a shotgun guitar.

“You know the shotgun guitar was completely nuts,” Rev said. “That thing went so viral, I was on the phone with people all over the world talking about it, it was on Comedy Central and all kinds of stuff. I had no idea that was going to be the thing. I’ve spent my whole life composing these intricate finger-style country-blues things, I’ve poured my heart out on the stage, working tirelessly to make a better record for myself, and the biggest thing I’ve been a part of, at least terms of eyes on what I’ve done, was on a 41 second shot gun guitar things [laughs]. That’s just life.”

Even though they’ve toured most of the world, and are huge in Norway, the couple still comes home to Brown County for some “Pot Roast and Kisses” and some much needed rest from their 250 shows a year tour schedule. The couple spend the holiday and winter in their cabin working on songs and avoiding the snow.

“We save it up so we hit it hard the rest of the time,” Rev said. “I need some time at home to live a little bit so I have something to write about.”

While the band has been on a brief break he never stops working. Between writing an advice column for NUVO, articles for No Depression, the band’s podcast, and continuously writing music, Rev is a constant improver and wants to continue to grow as a musician.

“As an artist you have to keep working,” Rev explained. “I think Front Porch Sessions is the best record we’ve ever made, in a lot of ways. But it’s not the best record I’m ever going to make.”

While the band is known for their barn stomping sound and one-man guitar solos, the new album is focused on a more stripped down sound and making an intimate connection with the listener.

“The idea for me is that I wanted it to sound like we were just hanging out on my front porch,” Rev said.

Stripped down is nothing new to the Rev. An earlier record Peyton on Patton was recorded with one microphone in a barn with the Rev on vocals and guitar and Breezy singing backup and playing the washboard. Making an intimate connection is nothing new either, it’s why (and how) the Rev makes music. When the band tours they rely on word-of-mouth and people bringing their friends. 

“That’s how we survive,” Rev explains. “It’s all been word of mouth, we’ve never gone out and opened for Dave Matthews or some big country name. We go out and play a local dive, and all them people tell their friends and when we come back we play a bigger place.”

Fans and the band are like a family and when a long-time fan passed away TK the Rev put out a heartfelt post on social media explaining what that fan meant to him and the band. 

“We got to know him, he was way too young. It happens now, we’ve been doing this so long that things like that happen now. It hit me really hard, he was such a great fan. We don’t have enough fans like that to lost one.”

They will be kicking off their Midwest tour in Bloomington on March 10, then will do an in-store at Indy CD & Vinyl March 11, the album release show in March 17, and finally will be playing at the Downtown Muncie Street Fest on March 25.