After listening to Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band I’m not shocked to hear that the group plays with a lot of punk rock bands. Like most punk groups, RPBDB combines simplified structures and honest lyrics with instrumental prowess and a hard-edged attitude. Also unsurprising is the fact that the group’s big break was courtesy of Flogging Molly when, after playing with RPBDB at a festival, the group asked the trio to join them on the road. According to Flogging Molly, Reverend Peyton’s is doing for old country blues what they did for Celtic roots music.
That’s the surprising thing; RPBDB’s sound couldn’t be further from the power chords and throbbing basslines of punk. The family-based act comprised of fingerstyle guitarist Reverend Peyton, his wife and washboard player Breezy Peyton, and drummer/brother Jayme Peyton has only been playing together for 3 years, but they’ve already brought their country blues songs to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, playing over 250 shows per year. Their third full-length, “The Whole Fam Damily,” manages to capture much of the live energy that is winning those audiences over.
Although the album was recorded in a church and sounds like it could be playing on the jukebox of a honky tonk in hell, “The Whole Fam Damily” contains very mortal themes. On the rowdy opener, “Can’t Pay the Bill,” Peyton prays “Lord keep me well” as he confronts the effect of the profit-oriented healthcare industry on the poor. In “The Creeks are All Bad,” the trio addresses the companies responsible for the polluting of the world’s water supply, and they fearlessly take on big business in “Wal-mart Killed the Country Store,” cursing the corporate giant because it “won’t pay nobody a living wage.” In the midst of these anti-establishment anthems, the group sprinkles in tracks about home cooking and the television show COPS, showing they have a little of the fun-loving side of punk too. Pick up a copy of “The Whole Fam Damily” to play at your next barn dance…just don’t be surprised if a mosh pit breaks out.
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