Josh “The Reverend” Peyton is the poster boy for second medical opinions. The Rev learned guitar at 12 in his central Indiana hometown, then formed a band with younger brother Jayme on drums. He was made aware of his Bluesy playing style and began absorbing the work of electric and acoustic Blues masters, particularly the catalog of Charley Patton, whose fingerpicking technique he loved but couldn’t emulate.
After a high school graduation gig, searing pain in Rev’s hands sent him to a doctor, who told him he’d never fret his guitar with his left hand again. He abandoned music for a year, but was eventually recommended to a hand specialist in Indiana who removed a knot of scar tissue in his left hand. After the operation, not only could he play guitar again, he discovered he was able to play in the elusive fingerpicking style he so admired.
During his recovery, he met his future wife Breezy. Their shared love of the Blues led her to learn to play washboard and inspired them to form a new band with Jayme on drums. Without that second medical opinion, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band wouldn’t have driven two days to California to open for the Derek Trucks Band and Susan Tedeschi, a moment that helped cement the trio’s decision to attempt to make a living playing music.
The band also wouldn’t have adopted its approach to Country/Blues — think Primus playing Charley Patton songs at Robert Johnson’s crossroads — or recorded its independent debut album, The Pork n’ Beans Collection, and the subsequent three releases that helped sustain the band’s relentless 250-gigs-per-year pace. The group wouldn’t have signed with indie label SideOneDummy and expanded its audience exponentially with its next four albums for the label. The Big Damn Band wouldn’t have opened for Clutch, Flogging Molly or the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, or played the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the Warped Tour, nor would they have become the first contemporary Blues artist to release an album on the venerable historical label Yazoo Records (last year’s So Delicious.)
This year, The Rev and Breezy welcomed its latest new drummer Max Senteney, the Rev’s former guitar tech, after Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell decided to leave to road to to spend more time with his family.
So if you want to witness a miracle of the universe — and experience one of the most compelling live shows you’ll ever see — get right with the Rev and the biggest, damnedest band you’ll ever love.