Southern Indiana-bred singer-guitarist Reverend Peyton is the bigger-than-life frontman of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David “Honeyboy” Edwards.
That passionate inspiration has made Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band America’s foremost country blues outfit and fuels the Rev’s new release, The Front Porch Sessions. Peyton’s dazzling guitar mastery is equaled here by his knack for vivid, emotionally impactful songwriting, and his originals are matched in their authenticity by the deeply felt vintage blues tunes that he covers. The album showcases the Rev’s irrepressible personality while echoing the enduring spirit of such acoustic blues icons as Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White and Furry Lewis, whose “When My Baby Left Me” receives a memorable reading.
The Front Porch Sessions maintains a potent level of intensity throughout, from the upbeat optimism of the album-opener “We Deserve a Happy Ending” to the blunt slice-of-life rural reality of “One More Thing” to the rollicking, playful swagger of “Shakey Shirley,” “One Bad Shoe” and “Cornbread and Butterbeans.” Meanwhile, the instrumentals “It’s All Night Long” and “Flying Squirrels” exhibit the Rev’s nimble, imaginative guitar work.
That lifelong pursuit of musical authenticity was instilled in his musical consciousness while Peyton was growing up in rural Indiana, where his early love for blues, ragtime, folk, country and other traditional styles gave him a sense of direction that would soon manifest itself in his own music. He and the Big Damn Band won a large and loyal fan base, thanks to their tireless touring efforts and high-energy showmanship, along with such acclaimed albums as Big Damn Nation, The Gospel Album, The Whole Fam Damnily, The Wages, Between the Ditches, So Delicious and the Charlie Patton tribute disc Peyton on Patton.
The Rev views The Front Porch Sessions as a personal creative milestone. “I really think it’sone of the best things I’ve ever done,” he asserts. “I’m interested in making hand-made American music, and the goal is to be timeless.”