Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n11)
Rick On The Records - by Rick Zeigler
posted: May 28, 2010
REVEREND PEYTON'S BIG DAMN BAND-THE WAGES
Indiana's own Reverend Peyton is a working man's working man. Playing more than 250 gigs in the last year, undergoing throat surgery, and finding a new drummer to replace brother Jayme Peyton was apparently not enough to keep the Reverend and band busy. So now comes their fifth album (and second on major independent SideOneDummy), The Wages. While The Wages contains no radical departures from the band's previous work, this is not surprising, as the hill country blues style the Big Damn Band favors has been rooted in the American countryside for well over a century. It is not something you really want to tamper with. And when you have the guitar virtuosity the Reverend possesses, no tampering is necessary. Each song showcases the Reverend's finger work on his old-style resonator guitar, and it is constantly a thing of beauty to hear. Whether it be fast country slide, straight-up blues, good time jigs, or waltz-tempo reveries, the Reverend's guitar cuts through the proceedings like a hot knife through freshly churned butter in July. Often sounding like multiple guitars (or a guitar and bass combo), the Reverend continues to record without overdubs, and with production from famed Hoosier Paul Mahern (John Mellencamp's right-hand man for many sessions), the disc sounds fantastic. Opener "Born Bred Corn Fed" sets the tone with the Reverend's lightning-quick country slide coordinating with "cousin" Aaron Persinger's quick drumbeat to bring us some down-home fun. And along with her washboard, this track (and a few others) also features Breezy Peyton's background vocals, which are a nice addition to the mix. "Redbuds" is something of a change-up for the band, employing a dreamy waltz tempo, rolling drum beat, and what sounds like the spoons (an old time percussion instrument constructed from, well, spoons) but is actually Breezy "pulling" on her washboard to great effect. "That Train Song" features, appropriately enough, the Reverend's guitar mimicking the varied sounds of a train. "Clap Your Hands" is perhaps the standout tune on the album, with the Reverend playing bass notes underneath a hooky guitar line (again, no overdubs) before the drums crash in and the Reverend slides into a slinky guitar groove that calls to mind the rolling hills and barn dances of southern Indiana. The song is ferociously upbeat, with a fantastic accompanying video that makes the washboard the featured instrument. (for those interested, check out this link--http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ra0DsbiNs0).
"Sure Feels Like Rain" is a beautiful country blues with outstanding guitar work, while "Sugar Creek" is a good time number featuring shout outs to Turkey Run as the Reverend sings "Take my baby back to Sugar Creek". Other tunes focus on the country-blues staples of drinking ("Two Bottles Of Wine"), loving ("Sure Feels Like Rain"), death ("Lick Creek Road"), and the problems of the family farm ("In A Holler Over There"). And as indicated by the album's title, the Reverend also gives lyrical focus to more contemporary economic concerns ("Just Getting By," "Everything's Raising"). In sum, The Wages continues to see the Reverend and his band focus on bringing their audience the age-old sounds of country blues with a contemporary twist and, at times, a punk-like intensity. With fourteen songs and nary a dud in the bunch, The Wages is a fine addition to the Reverend's musical canon. (Now, can we finally get a re-issue or re-recording of the Rev's fine first album, The Pork 'n' Beans Collection.)
Rick Zeigler, along with his wife, Jeanne, owns Indy CD and Vinyl at 806 Broad Ripple Avenue. Back in his musician days, his band opened for the likes of U2, XTC, Gang Of Four, The Pretenders, Los Lobos, and, um, Flock Of Seagulls, among others. You can read all of Rick's reviews at www.indycdandvinyl.com. Email your music questions and comments to rick@BroadRippleGazette.com