Hailing from Brown County, Indiana, Reverend Peyton blends blues, country, ragtime and Americana with rock and punk into a hell-raising mix of finger picking fun. In this, his 5th record release and first on Yazoo, Reverend Peyton savors being recorded on his favorite record label of his youth. Featuring Breezy Peyton on washboard, percussion and supporting vocals and Ben Bussell on drum, buckets, percussion and supporting vocals, Rev. Peyton claims, “Yazoo was my favorite record label growing up. For fans of old country blues and all manner of early American music, they are the quintessential label. And for me, it’s like being on the same label as Charley Patton and ‘Mississippi’ John Hurt. To think that Yazoo believes we are authentic enough to stand with the other people in their catalog means a lot.” It’s all original hillbilly country blues from the down home Delta and it’s damn fun stuff!
“Let’s Jump a Train” is a primal sort of song with a driving beat. The big guitar and percussion give it a very RL Burnside sound. Reverend Peyton’s vocals are over the top and unique, well suited to his songs. “Pot Roast and Kisses” is a cute little tune of food and love, “So delicious,’ as the song tells us. “Dirt” follows, and it is an angry tune for the working class. Peyton tells the dirt comes off the hands of the working man with a little Lava soap but the dirt on the smooth hands of the high and mighty who look down on the working class can’t be washed off. This is country blues rocking with a poignant message. The slide comes out full throttle in “Raise a Little Hell” and the Rev throws in his Raise a Little Hell Children’s Choir to back him. “Work real hard from 7 to 11 gotta raise a little hell if you wanna go to Heaven,” seems like at least fun if not good advice. Mixing drill instructor and RL Burnside, the song smokes along nicely. “Scream at the Night” shifts gears with a simple and airy acoustic guitar opening with a little harmonica thrown in. Peyton first warns us of the dangers of long commutes and working too hard. He then notes we don’t need another love song, but that we need a fight song. He also bemoans the terrible state of the pop music industry, taking a Dylan-esque stance in revolting against the establishment.
The big Sirius XM radio blues hit for Reverend Peyton has been “Hell Naw” and it is the next track on the CD. Hillbilly, country blues (more country than blues but still cool) with social commentary and an attitude. Very cool stuff in my humble opinion. One lie of the song sums up what’s bugging the Rev: “Phones are smart, the people are dumb.” He picks out some great licks and blows some mean harp here, too. Sliding at 100 mph, we get into “Front Porch Trained” where we find out how Reverend Peyton got good at what he does. He didn’t go to school or sell his soul, he spent a lot of time in the woodshed and was front porch trained. Great slide and slick prercussion. “Picking Paw Paws” is a gentler and kinder Peyton, asking his woman to go pick some flowers with him as he takes a little break. It does not last long as he opens the throttle again on “We Live Dangerous.” There is lots more slick picking and a throbbing beat. “You’re Not Rich” slows it down with sweet sounding layers of Peyton’s guitars as he sings this angry ballad. Reverend Peyton wraps it all up with “Music and Friends.” He tells is he “just wants to make music and friends,” ending the album on an uplifting note. By the way, the Brown County All-Star Choir backs the Rev for this cut.
Suffice it to say this is not mainstream, modern rocking blues nor is it straight up Delta blues. Peyton is a great finger picking guitar player and the band provides an old-time sound without seeming fake or unoriginal. I found this album to be really entertaining and a lot of fun. I have to admit I had some tredipation when I first spun the CD, but it quickly dissipated and I started to love it. These guys are touring the festival circuit this summer and I hope I get a chance to see them. It’s well worth a listen!