The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: country blues’ lethal weapon

The Guit-gun is a small-bore shotgun the Reverend converted into a guitar

I’m guessing it’s not easy to be the Reverend Peyton. His particular apple fell from the Charley Patton tree of the blues, and though it may have bounced, it did not bounce far. Patton, who died in 1934, was a man of the Delta with limited tools that were stretched to the limit in order to perform. With a voice made raw as road rash, Patton sounded as if on the verge of blowing a gasket when he sang. The Reverend Peyton’s got that too. I’d like to think that if the two could have met in this life, Patton would have liked both Peyton and the small-bore shotgun the Reverend had converted into a guitar.

I’m not certain whether or not Josh Peyton is an actual reverend. And the Big Damn Band is, in truth, a three-piece including himself, his wife Breezy on vox and washboard, and a trap drummer who happens to be his brother. The Rev is a master of country blues, and of the finger-picking style that sounds as if two or more guitars are playing at the same time. He and his band live about as rural as it gets in America, out near Bean Blossom, Indiana. The Big Damn Band is traveling now in support of their latest, Poor Until Payday.

And now, the Guit-gun. It both plays and shoots, and its slippery Elmore James-ish power-driven moan and 20-gauge pop helped inflate Peyton’s already outsized social media standing. Built by a guitar pickup winder named Bryan Fleming, the Guit-gun is a three-stringed electrified slide guitar that happens to be lethal weapon — at least to water jugs, as seen in the YouTube video. Picture a rifle with strings. And no, even though the Reverend appears to be a good shot, the Guit-gun does not figure into the Big Damn Band’s live show.

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