Musicians who are successful in a small town often leave town for places like Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tennessee, and Los Angeles. But famed roots rock musician and Seymour native John Mellencamp has remained in Bloomington, as has a musician he greatly admires, the Reverend Peyton. Peyton will entertain area fans with his group of three, as they dance, play and sing on New Years Eve at Brown County Music Center.
I’d heard that Mellencamp – and blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd – had high regard for Peyton, so I asked him.
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“Yes, I heard that too,” he said recently over the phone. He should know, because one of the highlights in Peyton’s life was playing on Mellencamp’s latest studio album.
“Just the two of us. It was pretty special,” Peyton said.
The duo performed “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” on Mellencamp’s 2018 album, “Other People’s Stuff”.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is a trio of American country-blues musicians from Brown County who perform approximately 250 concerts a year and have produced 10 albums and an EP.
“Our managers, and others, would always tell me things like ‘You have to go to LA’ But I’m staying here. I’ve known for a long time that the future of the music business is the Internet,” Peyton said.
Indeed, the internet has created a wealth of possibilities for artists, who today can create videos and live broadcasts to promote their live performances. Online they can reach and generate millions of fans.
“Social media has pretty much made our careers,” Peyton said. “Our videos are low budget and we have a lot of friends to help us out.”
In fact, their new album, “Dance Songs for Hard Times,” he said, is reaching major popularity markers faster than any of their others.
“Years ago a friend said to me, ‘You always write dance songs for tough times.’”
Now that would make a good headline, Peyton thought.
“You have to watch our ‘Dirty Hustlin'” (which includes some of his closest friends as performers) and “Ways and Means” videos, he said. The latter takes place in a Bloomington laundromat and the dancers are all from Bloomington and Indianapolis.
Washboardist Breezy Peyton is married to Reverend Peyton, and don’t assume playing a washboard is easy. She is a real percussionist (she wears gloves with accessories), as well as a singer-mover. In the laundromat video, she carries the group’s drummer, Max Senteney, in a rolling laundry cart. On stage, one of Senteney’s instruments is a five gallon bucket.
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Andy Thorley, on UK website MaximunVolumeMusic.com, wrote the following last April:
“One thing that is too often overlooked with the band is the brilliance of the playing that the trio manages. The guitar is amazing, and Breezy Peyton is arguably the best percussionist in the world, let alone Max Senteney’s drums. . The balance is breathtaking. “
“We always do our videos around Bloomington,” Reverend Peyton said. He writes all of their songs, which often have a dance vibe. “Every good musician should love to dance. All American music was dance music.”
The band just wrapped up a tour with ZZ Top, and they’re back in town, ready to feast.
If you are going to
WHO: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, New Year’s country blues show with special guests.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, December 31.
OR: Brown County Music Center, 200 Maple Leaf Boulevard, Nashville.
TICKETS: firstname.lastname@example.org; 812-988-5323; https://bit.ly/3DQiGZW.