REVIEW: Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band “Dance Songs for Hard Times”


Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Dance Songs for Hard Times

Unfortunately, another album made under the influence of the pandemic.

Fortunately, not a bellyaching cry baby one but a relevant CD that conveyed the fears & hopes of people affected by having to live with financial challenges, the loss of friends & loved ones. An electrifying & timely collection of songs. Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band was nominated for the 2nd time for a Best Blues Artist Award.

Dance Songs for Hard Times (Thirty Tigers-Drops April 9) was produced by 4-time Grammy Award winner Vance Powell & is a 35-minute CD that sizzles from cut 1 through 11.

There isn’t much to say. Not when the musicianship is outstanding & keeps the promise of country-blues proficiency tightly on a leash with sparkling riffs, & formidable rhythms. It showcases Rev. Peyton’s blistering finger-style guitar. On some, they used audio to analog tape with minimal overdubs. The Rev. sang & played guitar live in the studio for added ambiance.

Cut 1 has an early ZZ Top approach well-seasoned with absolutely marvelous backup singers. The music is impeccably arranged & the fiery “Ways and Means” never lets up. Peyton (guitar/harmonica) has large caliber vocals wrapped around songs with a python-like rhythm grip. The guitar cries like a banshee, whines like the wind in the willows & bellows like a blacksmith’s forge blower. Some songs like “Rattle Can,” are maniacal in how close the blues/roots music can actually touch the hem of heavy metal. This smokes vocally but its backup vocalists decorate like silver tinsel on a burning Christmas tree.

Peyton has a touch of Captain Beefheart vocals when Beefheart sang in his natural voice. The Rev. has deep growls of 60s folk singer Barry McGuire (“What’s Exactly The Matter with Me”), obscure 70s psychedelic blues singer Mutzie (“The Light of Your Smile” LP), all mixed with hipster singer/songwriter Chuck E. Weiss. It works.

There’s ambitious guitar igniting each song. Despite Peyton’s voice being locked into the same deep gear on each tune, he manages individual charm with power. He’s like a cup of ice cream. One scoop has syrup, some sprinkles, some wet walnuts, others whipped cream & some have a jigger of brandy. That’s creative.

“Too Cool To Dance,” Peyton plays a 1954 Supro Dual Tone guitar to add an idyllic 1950s flavor.

“Sad Songs,” is simply superb. It’s mindful of Big Back 40’s vocalist Sean Beal (“Blood”) & the marvelous late blues guitarist/vocalist John Campbell (“One Tiny Coffin”).

The band: Washboard Breezy Peyton (washboard/percussion/vocals), Shane ‘Biscuits’ Ferguson (hollering) & Sad Max Senteney (drums/percussion/vocals).

“Despite hardships of this moment in history…” Sometimes hardships produce great art. Refer to The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Rev. Peyton looks like the guy who used to deliver coal – but from coal comes diamonds. His music is a motherlode.

Photos Tyler Zoller. CD available @


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