Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
You've really gotta give it to someone who rekindles some kind of buried fondness for gravel roads in the year 2013. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is from Brown County, Indiana, a place that I feel many of the stories in Frank Bill's disturbing collection, "Crimes In Southern Indiana," were set. It doesn't even matter if Brown County is in the northern-most point of Indiana, there are many blushes of similar instances and people that run through the Reverend's rusted out, Mountain Dew bottles and Bud heavy cans rolling around on the floorboard-like songs. These songs beat a trail right to your senses. They create vivid images of sleeveless shirts and hairy men and it has little to do with the man in charge here being guilty of those qualities. They create vivid images of every car or truck streaking down a gravel road, coating the cornstalks with dust.
All of those vehicles have one, maybe two open containers in them, for there's no hiding how hard things are out here. Everyone appreciates that waiting to get home for that first beer of the evening is waiting too damned long. It's just not good enough, no matter how short the commute from the shit job to the shit house might be. These songs feel as if they've forgotten where they are in time, bringing back to life a rural circuitry that was all wily gravelly roads that could throw you into the ditch with the milkweeds and all the empty beer tins that - again - couldn't just be held onto until someone got home to discard properly. You're taken back to a place when people played real jukeboxes in taverns and when mustaches and beards were only worn by those creepy old men with a few screws loose. They take place in an atmosphere that's smoking with hypocrisy, where everyone's got some trick up their sleeve and they're all going to be played sooner or later. Here, they don't get held onto.
Peyton sings, "It's hard growing up and it's hell gettin' old," suggesting that, no matter how old you get, you're going to have to put up with a lot of bullshit and if you don't know it by now, you're never going to know it. You're going to lose some teeth and you're going to deal with living somewhere that the Lord might not have exactly forsaken, but has occasionally forgotten to keep any sort of watch over. It's when the snakes come out and it's when the morals skew more loosely. You're going to get socked in the guts many times, but the beers should help a little bit.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band Official Site