‘Pot roast and kisses’

The Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band at Oddbody’s

By Tim Walker

“Hell Naw.” “Pot Roast and Kisses.” “Pickin Pawpaws.” “Raise a Little Hell.”

To the uninitiated, these might sound like prime examples of modern catchphrases lifted from the Appalachian dialect. To one of the many loyal fans of Reverend Peyton’s music, however, these are instantly recognizable as song titles—and, more specifically, song titles from Peyton and his Big Damn Band’s newest album, So Delicious, released in 2015 by Yazoo Records. If I had to pick just one song, “Pot Roast and Kisses” gets the nod as my personal favorite.

“That’s my favorite one, too,” says Reverend Peyton, speaking to me from his Indiana home. “I really thought that was going to be the big song off this record. I don’t know if it ended up being that or not though because satellite radio ended up playing the song ‘Hell Naw’—they played it a bunch. That was the one that they liked. The music video for ‘Raise a Little Hell,’ which is a fun sort of party song, that music video got Reddit-famous for a minute, and it got a ton of views overnight. It was crazy, the way it was trending on Reddit.com, so you know … it’s funny how things can go. I thought ‘Pot Roast and Kisses’ was going to be the song. I thought it was going to be the biggest thing we ever did.”

If you’re a fan of country blues, slide guitar, or just good old
raucous American roots music, you won’t want to miss Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band at Oddbody’s March 25. The cheekily named band is actually a three-piece, made up of guitar virtuoso and singer/songwriter Josh “Reverend” Peyton, his wife “Washboard” Breezy Peyton on the washboard, and Ben “Bird Dog” Russell on the drums. Playing more than 250 live shows per year, the Big Damn Band is known for its energetic, soulful performances which take audiences right back to the roots of American country and blues music.

“Man, when I was young, I really got into the greats of country blues,” Reverend Peyton continues. “You know, like Furry Lewis and Charley Patton, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bukka White, just good old slide guitar, finger-style country blues guitar. The concept of playing two things at once … that’s been in my mind from the get-go. And when I was a pre-teen, there was a lot of stuff happening in the blues world, but it was like Stevie Ray Vaughan and whatnot. And while that stuff is cool and all, it just didn’t speak to me. I was raised on the country, and there was just something about those country blues songs. My Granddad—my mom’s dad—he’d take us to the bluegrass festivals, so I was real familiar with that kind of music, too. Bluegrass is huge where we come from. And it just felt more at home. Then there’s this other thing happening, where the rhythms cut a little deeper. The stories in that style … there’s just more room to tell stories.

“The country blues stuff is just so primal and deep,” Peyton continues. “There’s something about that music that really spoke to me. I sort of borrow from the storytelling of traditional country and Americana, but then I write songs that are sort of melodic and more realized and finished than a traditional country blues song might be.”

And though he values the tradition of country blues, he values being true to himself above all else.

“I was just trying to come up with my own way, man—I never wanted to be a copy of anybody. I always wanted to do my own thing, for better or worse. Sometimes that gets us into trouble—people want to know what the hell we are. Sometimes, trying to figure out exactly how to explain it to them is difficult. They don’t understand. I say ‘country blues,’ and they think Waylon Jennings, and I go, ‘No.’ Really, it just means rural blues. The blues is the key word, but it’s not Stevie Ray Vaughn.”

I ask the Reverend Peyton whether he and the band are looking forward to seeing their fans in Dayton, Ohio, again.

“Man, last year’s show at Oddbody’s was huge. Our shows there are just getting to be massive. It’s really amazing. I tell you, word of mouth is it. That’s how we have been able to have a career. That’s how we’re able to stay on the road. It’s grassroots. One fan at a time. We need our fans to get out there and spread the word. We don’t have any big radio hits. I don’t have a clothing line. That’s it. That’s how we do it. Grassroots.”

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will perform on Friday, March 25 at Oddbody’s, 5418 Burkhardt Rd. in Dayton. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, please call  937.813.4272 or visit oddbodys.com or bigdamnband.com.

Tim Walker is 50 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their 2 children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz and black t-shirts. He can be reached at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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