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Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band to hail country blues in Columbus concert

Courtesy of Scott Toepfer

After a brief stint in seminary school, Reverend Joshua Peyton (who goes by Rev. Peyton) decided ministry was not for him and began pursuing a career as a blues musician.

“I ended up going in a different career path, but the nickname stuck,” he said. 

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is making a stop in Columbus Thursday with guest musicians Jimbo Mathus and Alvin Youngblood Hart. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Woodlands Backyard.
The band is touring to promote its album “Between the Ditches,” which was released in August. 

The trio hails from Brown County, Ind. Members Peyton, (lead singer, guitarist, songwriter) wife Breezy Peyton, (washboards and backup vocals) and Joshua Peyton’s cousin Aaron Persinger (drums) have been touring full time since 2006, Joshua Peyton said.

In terms of sound, Joshua Peyton describes his music as country blues, which is a more stripped-down blues with traditional instruments.

In contrast to its records, Joshua Peyton said some fans are surprised by the amount of sound that comes off the stage during live performances.

“One big thing is the few people we have on stage. We only have one melodic instrument,” Joshua Peyton said, alluding to his guitar. “On record, (the fans) hear it and they think there are more instruments happening. It’s pretty surprising to see it on stage. You really gotta see it to almost believe it.”

Katie Krenelka, an Ohio State alumna and singer for the local Americana band Contraband Boots, has seen the band perform three times and noted the high energy of the group.

“They have very high-energy shows and they like to involve the crowd a lot,” Krenelka said. “The main guy, Rev. Peyton, will do interactive stuff with the crowd and tell funny stories … the interactive part is a cool part of the show.”

When writing songs, Joshua Peyton said he does not have a specific set of guidelines and instead uses lyrics to reflect what he is thinking about at the time.

“I don’t set out to write about a particular theme. If there are any themes, it’s things I like, or things I don’t like,” he said. “I write about food, I write about my old truck, you name it … whatever sort of inspires me.” 

Joshua Peyton said he enjoys coming to Columbus, where the band toured in 2011 with guitar player Reverend (Jim) Horton Heat and in December with punk band Flogging Molly.

Paul Painter, booking manager at Woodlands Tavern, said he has seen the Big Damn Band perform with Flogging Molly and enjoyed the show. He said it makes sense for the band to come back to Columbus.

“They are a strong, nationally touring act and play many large festivals including the upcoming All Good Festival in July at Legend Valley,” Painter said. 

The Columbus show is set to be held at the Woodlands’ newest location, the Woodlands Backyard, formerly Loose Goose Tavern & Grill. Painter said the Backyard is a more suitable venue than the Tavern for this show because it is intended for a larger crowd. Woodlands Tavern can hold 300, and Woodlands Backyard can hold up to 400.

Tickets are $15, available at the bar and online, but Joshua Peyton promised fans will get their money’s worth. 

“We live and love playing music,” he said. “You’re going to get a show that is 100 percent from the heart, from people that know what they’re doing.”

Woodlands Backyard is located at 668 Grandview Ave. 

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