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Rev. Peyton brings Whole Fam Damnily

Posted Saturday, August 2, 2008, at 11:00 AM

Don't be fooled by the name.

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is not a traveling tent revival, nor is it really a big band at all.

Or at least it's not a big band, size-wise.

Sound-wise, yes. But with just three members, size-wise, no.

What Rev. Peyton's Indiana-born-and-bred outfit is, however, is one big Slip-N-Slide of spicy, hot-rodded acoustic blues.

And it's a family affair, at that.

The good Rev. Peyton ram-rods guitar and vocal duties; wife Breezy lays down the bottom end on washboard; brother Jayme keeps the beat moving on drums, buckets or any other kind of percussion he can lay his hands, or feet, on.

That just three people can make such unbridled music is a remarkable feat. Chock-full of pure energy, Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band is vintage blues with a shot of dance music on steroids thrown in for good measure.

Put it this way - if the Reverend's playing and your not feets are not shuffling around, you better check your pulse.

The Midwestern trio's third full-length disc, "The Whole Fam Damnily" arrives in stores Aug. 5 via the Side One Dummy Record label.

This disc sounds like what could have happened had Delta blues pioneer Charley Patton wandered off the streets of the Bowery and onto the stage of famed New York punk club CBGB's in the mid-70s.

"The Whole Fam Damnily" is probably Rev. Peyton's most fully-ripened sounding disc, with a bunch of the 13 songs on the CD having been road-tested over the course of the last year or so, as the group made its way all across the globe, many of the miles behind the wheels of the family's trusty van.

While the grooves on the disc are most certainly rooted in the pre-war, Delta-style blues that made Patton and Son House such legendary figures in the genre, the topics on the disc are as current as the higher-than-a-cat's-back price of gasoline in 2008.

"Your Cousin's on COPS" details the true, but hilarious story of when the Rev. and Breezy settled in to watch some reality TV one evening, only to discover that reality hit pretty close to home. Seems one segment of that particular COPS show featured Breezy's cousin getting carted off to jail by the local authorities.

High mercury levels in our fishing waters is lamented on "The Creeks are all Bad," giving the Rev. the blues when he realized the fish he caught weren't safe enough to eat.

And the juggernaut known as Wal-Mart is scolded in the self-explanatory tune called "Wal-Mart Killed the Country Store."

Throughout the balance of the "The Whole Fam Damnily," the Rev. makes his battered acoustic Gibson and National Steel guitars moan, purr and rumble and tumble like a run-away freight train, while Breezy makes the washboard sound like a four-piece rhythm section unto itself. Add brother Jayme's gut-bucket timekeeping on the skins and you've got a crunchy mixture of punk-like intensity and front-porch pickin.'

But "The Whole Fam Damnily" is not high octane all the time. Rev. Peyton eases off the throttle a bit on the slow ballad "What's Mine is Yours," a finger-picked ode to one-sided relationships.

That helps make "The Whole Fam Damnily," a disc that was recorded in a church in Bloomington, Ind., a mixture like nothing else, one that probably deserves its own category.

As a bonus, the Rev. has saw fit to give away the persimmon pudding recipe that's been handed down through the Peyton family.

The tasty-looking recipe, one that won the blue ribbon for best persimmon pudding at the Persimmon Festival in Lawrence County, Ind., one year, is printed on the back of the CD insert.

And if it tastes half as good as the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band sounds, we're all in for one massive treat, Indiana-style.

Check out Rev. Peyton and his crew at www.bigdamnband.com or www.sideonedummy.com.

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Terry Mullins, Sports Editor
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Since my own high school sports career fizzled out before it really reached its zenith, I have managed to live vicariously through the student/athletes of the 16 high schools I've covered for Areawide Media since 2001. I've witnessed the highest of highs in the form of state championships. I have also seen first-hand the sting of disappointment when the ultimate prize was within reach, but still eluded the grasp of its pursuer. But through all the ups and downs associated with high school sports, my respect for the young competitors that suit up each night, along with the men and women who guide them, remains unwavering. Blog mission: With my passion for music, especially live music, running second only to my passion for sports, I'll try to devote this space to both. Especially when it concerns our region and what's happening around it. Look for commentary and features on area sports figures and musicians, along with things to get out and do in the beautiful Spring River/Ozarks area. But I'll not totally ignore the outside - I'll also hit on some national happenings in the wide worlds of sports and music.
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