The Reverend enjoys the ride
The Reverend Peyton, who is also a Kentucky Colonel and has a Big Damn Band, has of late discovered that he likes the recording process.
Spending 250 days on the road with a band that includes his wife and cousin, Peyton thought the live show was his preferred method of music delivery.
But he said he has been converted.
"I'm starting to like making records," says Peyton, whose idea of cutting-edge technology has long been the 78.
At 31, his biggest musical interest is pre-World War II country blues.
The band's latest, "Between the Ditches," debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes blues album chart. The band also includes wife Breezy and distant cousin Aaron "Cuz" Persinger.
"We're pretty comfortable on the road," he said, adding that he and his wife enjoy spending lots of time together, even when they're back home in Brown County, Ind.
Among Peyton's pre-war favorites are names like Walter E. "Furry" Lewis and Robert Johnson.
Charley (also spelled Charlie) Patton, who had a polyrhythmic finger-picking style and tapped on his guitar body for percussion, has greatly influenced Peyton's style.
The reverend would listen to records, and when he heard the Rolling Stones had covered an old blues song, he'd find that old blues performer.
"Then I asked, 'Who did it originally? Who'd they listen to?' And when I found out, I'd ask again, who they listened to."
Delta blues picking especially spurred his curiosity.
"When I was a kid, I heard that finger-picking style with more than one sound coming out of the guitar. I tried to figure it out from the record, because there weren't many books on it. I've devoted my life to it," Peyton said. "I love playing multiple parts on one guitar at the same time."
Except for a nearly two-year tendinitis problem that put him through the hell of not playing, he's never stopped trying to learn new and more complex sounds.
Peyton said he's never satisfied with what he has learned.
"I always take it to another level. I try to be my own man," he said. "Somebody told me one time, 'No one's going to really like that kind of old blues. They like Stevie Ray Vaughan.' I said I'll make them like it."
Peyton said in the end he has to make his own music, and that always has to evolve.
"I never want to be some museum piece," he said. "No one is going to play Son House as good as he did. So I've got to be the best at being me."
On his most recent release, there's a different guitar set up on almost every track. He used two 1930s National guitars, a cigar box guitar, a custom shop Gibson flattop 1929 L2 and an Airline map electric guitar.
"People keep giving me cigar box guitars," he said. "You can put a string on anything. I have one on the front porch tied around a post. Anything with a string can make music."
With his pleasant recording (and video-making) experience, Peyton said he's working hard on his songwriting.
"I think I still have a long way to go; I'm always trying to top myself."
If you go
What: The Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour, starring Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band; Moreland & Arbuckle; and Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition (of Squirrel Nut Zippers)
When: 7 p.m. April 7 (doors and bar open at 6)
Where: The Highdive, 51 Main St., C
Cost: Advance tickets, $18; at the door, $20 (go to wwhp.com/WhipShows.htm)
Of note: For ages 19-plus