Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band Announces Timely New LP ‘Dance Songs for Hard Times’

The new album from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Bandwas written by candlelight and then recorded using the best technology available . . . in the 1950s.

Scheduled for independent release April 9, 2021 via Thirty TigersDance Songs for Hard Times conveys the hopes and fears of pandemic living. Rev. Peyton, the Big Damn Band’s vocalist and world-class fingerstyle guitarist, details bleak financial challenges on the songs “Ways and Means” and “Dirty Hustlin’.” He pines for in-person reunions with loved ones on “No Tellin’ When,” and he pleads for celestial relief on the album-closing “Come Down Angels.”

Far from a depressing listen, Dance Songs lives up to its name by delivering action-packed riffs and rhythms across 11 songs. The country blues trio that won over crowds on more than one Warped Tour knows how to make an audience move.

“I like songs that sound happy but are actually very sad,” Peyton says. “I don’t know why it is, but I just do.”

Of course, the greatest front-porch blues band in the world found itself sidelined from a relentless touring schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic. Peyton says he was surprised when his mind and soul unleashed a batch of new songs in March and April of 2020.

“I think it was the stress of everything,” he says. “At the time, we were watching everything we know crash down. I didn’t know what was going to happen with our career, with our house, with food, with anything.”

Peyton wasn’t alone in uncertainty. It’s a feeling that gripped the world. Added to Peyton’s concerns were a lingering illness — perhaps undiagnosed COVID-19 — affecting “Washboard” Breezy Peyton, his wife and Big Damn Band member, as well as a cancer diagnosis for his father. A metaphorical wallop arrived when unpredictable weather in the rustic wilds of Southern Indiana knocked out power at the Peytons’ 150-year-old log cabin. For multiple days.

While Breezy rested and recovered, Peyton crafted songs in near darkness.

“It’s been a struggle the entire time,” he says. “Nothing’s been easy. Other than the music. The music came easy.”

To document the livewire immediacy of Dance Songs for Hard Times, the Big Damn Band — including a healthy Breezy — made a pandemic road trip to Nashville to record with producer Vance Powell (four-time Grammy Award winner whose resume includes work with Chris Stapleton and Jack White).

Peyton embraced Powell’s suggestion to turn back the clock and record no more than eight tracks of audio to analog tape. Minimal overdubs are heard on Dance Songs for Hard Times, and Peyton sang while playing guitar live in the studio.

“Vance likes the gear that I like,” Peyton says. “And he has a bunch of cool gear I would only have in my wildest dreams.”

Visually, Dance Songs for Hard Times is led by a video to accompany the song “Ways and Means.” Defined by pastel colors and confident dance moves, the video was made at an old-school laundromat to match the song’s Bo Diddley-boasting on a limited budget: “My knife is sharp, my guitar never flat … king of the laundromat.” Check it out below..

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