CD review: The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band's 'The Wages'

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Friday, July 16, 2010



"The Wages"

Kindred spirits: John Lee Hooker and

R.L. Burnside

Show: Tuesday at Merriwether Post as part of the Warped Tour. Gates open at 11 a.m. 410-715-5550.

On "The Wages," the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band gives the blues a 21st-century rendering with "Everything's Raising": "They say they're bailing out some banks/I'll take some of that money back . . ."

But that's about as modern as the band gets. This is lo-fi, low-tech rural blues. How many bands can boast a washboard player and a drummer whose kit includes a five-gallon bucket? Hailing from Indiana, the band is Josh "the Reverend" Peyton (yes, an ordained minister) on bottleneck slide guitar, his wife, "Washboard" Breezy Peyton, and cousin Aaron "Cuz" Persinger on drums (and bucket).

"The Wages" was recorded live on analog tape, with no overdubs. The Reverend sings the blues, to be sure, but the band performs with such foot-stomping aplomb, it's easy to forget times are tough when singing along. Sure, he sings about the plight of rural America in "In a Holler Over There," but his sense of humor is also evident.

"The Wages" is front-porch, hardscrabble blues, accentuated by the Reverend's frantic guitar picking and sliding combined with Breezy's washboard. But make no mistake: The Reverend is proud of his down-home roots. When he sings "Homemade jelly, homemade jam/Please and thank you, yes sir and yes ma'am" in "Born Bred Corn Fed," that porch seems like a good place to be.

-- Benjamin Opipari

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