BROWN COUNTY, Ind. — 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’sdazzling 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 will be released March 10, 2017 on Family Owned Records/Thirty Tigers.
“It started as a literal whim on my part, but it turned into something really special,” Reverend Peyton says of this new collection. “I wanted it to feel like you’re on my front porch. You can almost hear the wood creaking.”
The Front Porch Sessions maintains a potent level of intensity throughout, from the upbeat optimism of the album-opener “We Deserve aHappy 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” demonstrate the Rev’s nimble, imaginative guitar work.
“I didn’t have much planned when I went into the studio,” the Reverend notes. “I went into the studio with some new songs and some old songs that I’ve always wanted to try. At first, I thought ‘Well, maybe we’ll make it a download or release a single.’ But it took on a life of its own, and when it was all said and done, I was as proud of it as anything I’ve ever done. To me, it was a lesson in not overthinking things; I just went in and let my gut guide me.
“We recorded this album at a studio called Farm Fresh, which is right down the street from my house,” he continues. “It’s in the shade of the oldest poplar tree in Indiana, and there’s a graveyard next to it and train tracks run across there. In fact, I think you can hear the train on one track on this record. The studio’s in an old church, and the main sanctuary is the tracking room, so the haunting reverb that you hear is that room.