WED, 04/10/2019 - 3:25PM
No stranger to the Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale anticipates one of its favorites, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, with two opportunities to experience their vibe: Saturday night at New Roxy at 8 and 11 a.m. Sunday at the Cat Head Mini Blues Fest.
In light of pure irony, the band is comprised of three members — not “big” in size, but definitely in style and sound. Around the age of 18, Rev Payton had a habit of saying, “That’s a big damn car” or “That’s a big damn chair.”
“It kind of just became a thing. I thought it was funny to call the band that and have there only be guitar and percussion,” he said. “I still laugh about it!”
Married since 19, Reverend Peyton’s wife, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton, brings a unique percussive sound and on the other side of Rev on stage is Max Senteney on drums.
Inspired by legends like Charlie Patton, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Herb, Rev’s band began to commit more to their music, and it took off in a major way. People responded.
The band sold everything and lived in a van for two years when they were starting out.
“From the gate, it was just a belief that we were onto something and had a story to tell and that this music needed more people continuing it and keeping it alive by taking it to new places,” Reverend says.
Known across the nation for their hit song, “Clap Your Hands,” the front porch blues band cherishes the Juke Joint Festival and Clarksdale being one of the first places to embrace them and really understand what they were doing.
“As long as we can, we’re gonna keep coming back,” says Reverend, the group’s lead songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist.
Robin Colonas, owner of the New Roxy, expects quite the turnout for the show as it's their busiest night of the year.
“Sometimes we have tables and chairs out, but for this show, we remove all furniture for Rev’s band, because it’s just that crowded — standing-room only,” Colonas said.
As an original holder in the lineup, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has been coming since the fest began and will bring history, showmanship and respect for Clarksdale and the people who have made it special.
“We have a ton of respect for this music and this place,” Reverend said. “For us, this is more than a show. This is like coming back home and basking in the energy. It’s gonna be the biggest, wildest show of the fest. Guaranteed!”
Getting to Know Reverend Peyton
We asked three random questions of Reverend Peyton, the lead songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, which performs this weekend at the Juke Joint Festival.
What are your three favorite movies?
“A River Runs Through It,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” and “Captain Ron.”
Who would you pick to play you in a movie?
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
What’s a product or service you love so much that you’d be happy to be its spokesperson?
What is your favorite day of the week, and why?
Tuesday. As a musician, every day is Saturday. But we get a lot of Mondays and Tuesdays off, and when you have the day off on a Tuesday, you can go anywhere you want (museums, stores, parks, etc.) and everything’s quiet. No one’s there.
What are the three most memorable things from high school?
#1. I had this busted 1979 El Dorado Cadillac I got from a friend by only paying the impound fee that I just absolutely loved.
#2. I had a blues band in high school. We would have big shows, and it seemed like the whole school would come. It was a lot of fun.
#3. Hanging out late at night at Steak-N-Shake