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Interview:
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band at the Magic Bag, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band got a little quieter on its latest album.

The southern Indian trio’s new album, “The Front Porch Sessions,” lives up to its name as a spare, nearly solo work by “Reverend” Josh Peyton, getting down ‘n’ dirty on his resonator and cigar box guitars and down-home, emotional vocals. Big Damn Band mates Breezy Peyton, his wife, and Max Senteney supply subtle support to the songs, a mix of originals and covers recorded at the Farm Fresh studio not far from the Peytons’ home.

It’s still a good time, but it’s as intimate an experience as Peyton and company have offered and certainly a different enterprise than 2015’s “So Delicious.

• Peyton, 35, acknowledges by phone from Indiana that “The Front Porch Sessions,” which came out March 10, is “a very stripped-down record,” but he also considers it “the most beautiful record we’ve ever done. I just had this itch to record. I just wanted to get in and make another record. I didn’t have a firm grasp on how things were going to be, but I had these songs and said, ‘We’ll start with must me and a guitar and we’ll build ‘em up from there. The only things we’ll add is what’s absolutely necessary. I thought maybe we’d end up with an EP, then when it was all said and done, we had a record.”

• Peyton also relished the challenge of carrying the record more himself than he had in the past. “Peyton: You’re laid bare on a record like this,” he says. “You’re out there in front. I’m used to standing up there, fronting a band, but it’s a lot different when it’s you and a guitar. But sonically the thing I like about it is it’s jsut old guitars and old microphones and real, hand-made music. This is written and performed and produced by me, and if someone doesn’t like it they probably don’t like me, and that’s kind of hard to take (laughs).”

• Nevertheless, he was confident he had the goods to pull it off. “I think the older I get the more I’m like, ‘Look, at this point his is how I am,” and I think I’m getting better,” Peyton says. “I think this is literally the best guitar picking I’ve ever done, and that makes me happy. If I’m my picking’s gonna be this good it might as well be on a record where everybody can hear it.”

• Peyton also got to pay tribute to one of his own musical heroes on the album. “It was nice especially to do some Furry Lewis songs,” he says of the late Mississippi bluesman. “I don’t think Furry Lewis gets the credit he deserves in the history of recorded music. He was a big influence on me. ‘When My Baby Left Me’ is a Furry Lewis song, and the song ‘When You Lose Your Money’ is basically a version of the old classic ‘Stagga Lee,’ which is such a standard that no one really wrote it, but the version I do I learned from Furry Lewis. So if nothing else I hope people get some sort of insight into Furry Lewis and want to hear more of his music.”

• Peyton acknowledges that he “wasn’t sure how people were going to take” the album when he was making it, but he had plenty of confidence by the time it came out. “I was going, ‘Man, I like this thing how it is,’ but I didn’t know what other people would think. So I started sending it to people, ‘What do you think of this?’ And people liked it. They were like, ‘Leave it just like it is. This is neat.’ So I decided that was the way we’re gonna do it.



If You Go:

• The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

• Saturday, March 18. Doors open at 8 p.m.

• The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

• Tickets are $20.

• Call 248-544-3030 or visit themagicbag.com.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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