Big Damn Band coming Saturday

Photo courtesy of Tyler Zoller Photography Josh "The Reverend" Peyton, right, with his wife, Breezy Peyton, left, and drummer Max Senteney, middle with Rev's Cadillac. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band will be playing at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is coming to Woodward Theatre in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum for a 7 p.m. show on Saturday.

What they play isn't bluegrass.

It's country blues.

But Josh "Reverend" Peyton said the Beanblossom, Indiana-based band fits well with bluegrass.

"Bill Monroe's music was influenced by country blues," he said.

Monroe started a bluegrass festival in Beanblossom in 1967 that's still going strong more than 20 years after his death.

Peyton said he started playing guitar when he was 12 and started giving guitar lessons a year later.

"Except for a period when I couldn't play because of problems with my hands, I've been playing professionally since then," he said.

Country blues, Peyton said, are the original rural blues that migrated to the cities when rural people moved in search of jobs.

The term encompasses Delta blues and Piedmont blues, he said.

So how did a kid in rural Indiana develop a passion for country blues?

"My dad had all those old records," Peyton said. "I fell in love with them."

He said, "When we go to Europe, they know all about the country blues. They study American music over there."

Peyton said, "We've been to Europe dozens of times. We've played in 38 countries. There's a respect for the blues over there."

He said, "We have music here all the time. Your mother sings to you when you're born. You hear music in church. Music is everywhere these days. But it's not like that all over the world."

Peyton finger picks several instruments -- a National steel resonator, a 1949 Harmony Archtop, a 1954 Supro Dual Tone and a 1955 Kay Speed Demon -- with his thumb playing bass and his fingers playing lead.

That's the way the country blues should be played, he said.

So how did the band get its name?

"I had a bad habit of saying, 'Damn this and damn that'," Peyton said. "I thought Big Damn Band sounded good" for a three-piece band.

And the Reverend?

"I've been called Reverend since I was a teenager," Peyton said. "I first played music in church. I was very close to going to seminary, but things change."

YouTube, where his band has several videos posted, has changed music, he said.

"When I was a kid, it was so hard to get access to this music," Peyton said. "Today, it's never been easier to find music. You can go on YouTube and find old videos of musicians. But kids today don't have a chance to get to know some of the old musicians I've met and worked with."

People like David "Honeyboy" Edwards, T-Model Ford and Robert Belfour.

The band has played more than 300 shows a year for a lot of years, Peyton said.

The other members are his wife Breezy Peyton, who plays washboard with work gloves adorned by thimbles; and Max Senteney, who plays drums, suitcase and a 5-gallon plastic bucket.

In 2014, the Big Damn Band performed at Owensboro's International Bar-B-Q Festival.

It has released nine albums and one EP.

On October 5, 2018, the band released its latest album -- "Poor Until Payday."

Tickets are $20.50.

They are available at bluegrasshall.org or by calling 270-926-789.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

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