The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

There aren't a lot of Warped Tour vets who can claim proficiency in the use of washboards, bottleneck slides and five-gallon buckets. Most didn't spend their teens playing along to Charlie Patton and Bukka White albums. And just about none are fronted by a commissioned member of the Honorary Order of Kentucky Colonels.

But the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, who appeared for two weeks on the 2009 Warped Tour and will be on the entire 2010 tour, are all that and more. With wild sing-a-longs and flaming washboards, their live shows have been converting skeptics left and right.

Now, with the May 25 release of "The Wages," the soulful, swinging country-blues trio proves they're more than just a world class live band. Their second album for SideOneDummy Records, it was produced by Paul Mahern (Zero Boys, John Mellencamp) and recorded in the band's Big Damn Tradition: live in the studio with no overdubs on honest-to-goodness analog tape.

Appropriate to our times, "The Wages" is thematically rooted in the blues tradition of hard-bitten reality matched with enduring optimism.

There are songs that deal with crystal meth abuse and the disappearance of the American family farm ("In a Holler Over There"), the cost of living ("Everything's Raising"), unrequited love ("Sure Feels Like Rain") and, of course, murder ("Lick Creek Road").

But the Reverend's brood also celebrates rural life on "Born Bred Corn Fed," serves up danceable sing-a-longs like "Clap Your Hands," and offers renewed hope for hard times in "Just Getting By."

The Big Damn Band is very much a family affair, with the good reverend on finger-style resonator guitar and lead vocals, his wife "Washboard" Breezy Peyton on washboard and vocals, and distant cousin Aaron "Cuz" Persinger on drums and bucket. The band's home base is deep in the hills of Southern Indiana's Brown County, which boasts a population of 14,957. (Or 14,954 when the band's out on the road playing close to 250 gigs a year, including appearances at the Austin City Limits festival and tours with Flogging Molly, Derek Trucks, and Clutch.)

"I grew up in the country, and rural life and rural culture has shaped me and my music," says Reverend Peyton, who really is a Kentucky Colonel, just like Elvis Presley, Roy Rogers and Tiger Woods. "I have been playing music since I was a little kid. I am pretty sure we are on to something now."

That combination of authenticity and originality is evident throughout "The Wages," driven by the trio's big damn vocals and melodies, gutbucket guitar playing, and foot-stomping rhythms, all in service of songs that are honest and moving, devoid of irony or artifice.

"We may be few in numbers, but we sound big," says Washboard Breezy. "And I think we stand for something big too. Even if sometimes it's just that it is okay to be a regular person."

Matthew Curry

Curry’s roots certainly run muddy-waters deep, something that’s not been lost on the guitar legends he’s had the honor of sharing the stage with over the past few years. “Matthew Curry is a phenomenal guitar player,” marvels Peter Frampton. “A highlight from my tour last year was jamming with him. He’s the next guitar hero!” Echoing that sentiment is Steve Miller, whom Curry both opened for and joined onstage during an exhilarating nine-date run in Canada in 2014 — and will again be his opening act for a slew of dates starting in May. Steve Miller declares that Curry is a “wonderful guitar player [and] great songwriter in the Stevie Ray Vaughan area of virtuosity and originality.” Besides continuing on with the Steve Miller Band, Curry will also be opening for The Doobie Brothers and Don Felder. “I’m absolutely thrilled,” Curry says of supporting these and other heavy hitters. “We have so much fun out there and I really, really enjoy it. I grew up listening to those guys, so to be out on the road with people like Don Felder, The Doobie Brothers, and the Steve Miller Band is quite an honor.”

Not only does he get to go toe to toe and string to string with some of his heroes, but Curry recently became one of only 10 artists asked to be a part of The Fender Accelerator Tour, a program that provides developing artists the resources needed to get out on the road and spread the good word about what they do and where they can be seen next. Fender provided a touring van, promotion, equipment and publicity to their 2 Million plus fans!

While Curry loves it when his band headlines its own gigs, he also sees the opening slot as a way of winning over new fans one lick at a time. “Part of the reason people like us so much is because we’re not just a corner-bar blues band,” he reflects. “We’re trying to make an impact and connect with audiences as best we can, even though when they see this young blond kid with a Stratocaster walk out there, they’re thinking, ‘Just get it over with.’ I know they’re there for someone else, but we’re able to grab their attention, so I like to think some of those people are walking away as fans.”

Curry believes the way to convert an audience is to perform an undeniably engaging set. “One thing I really enjoy is putting together a show,” he acknowledges. “We all have so much fun when we’re up there. Interacting with your bandmates or interacting with the people in the crowd — like maybe jumping off the mike and stepping out front and singing to them really loud — can really make people think, ‘This is so great!’ Sometimes it’s the real simple things that will connect you to the audience like that.”

As much as Matthew Curry is invested in summoning the spirit of the blues — a commitment that’s in full display on the pair of smokin’ hot albums he’s released to date, 2011’s barn-burning If I Don’t Got You and 2014’s hard-charging testifier Electric Religion — the 19-year-old guitar slinger and soulful singer from Bloomington, Illinois likes to take a much broader view of his style. “If somebody came up and asked me what I would call my music, I don’t think I would say ‘the blues,’” he admits. “And I don’t think I would say ‘rock and roll,’ either. I would actually say, ‘good music.’ Blues is my first love, but I also love ’60s rock like Cream, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix. I’m also into things like Southern rock, Chet Atkins, and The Allman Brothers. All of those artists are complete musicians. They write great songs, and they sing great too. They’re just incredible.”

All in all, it’s been an amazing trajectory for someone who just couldn’t get enough of that guitar stuff at age 4 to having a tune he’d written, If I Don’t Got You’s epic tour de jam “Blinded by the Darkness,” win accolades as the Best Blues Song in the International Songwriting Competition. “My dad had this beautiful Martin acoustic guitar, and he was really big into old-school blues like Muddy Waters,” Matthew recalls. “It really caught my ear. I can remember my dad sitting in his recliner and playing his acoustic while I would just sit on the floor, watching every single movement his fingers made. I was mesmerized by the sound.”

- Mike Mettler || 5/15

Chicago Farmer

The new Chicago Farmer album is about Depression, Hope, Job Loss, Meth, Skateboards, A Divided Nation, Used Cars, The Late Shift, Farms, Factories, The Destruction of our Environment, and still being around to sing about it.

Edward David Anderson

Music, by its nature, is a migratory creature. It moves as it moves, often powerfully, through people and places, communities and cultures, created and carried on currents of electricity and air. Edward David Anderson is one of its modern makers, a rock and roll veteran from the cornfields of Illinois, who went into the woods of coastal Alabama and found musical serendipity, emerging with Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions—a timeless, unvarnished beauty of an album.

“I had no idea Anthony Crawford even lived in LA (Lower Alabama), let alone minutes from our RV park,” Anderson says, still somewhat in disbelief. Indeed, it was during his inaugural exodus from the brutal Midwestern winters to the Gulf Shores of the Cotton State that Anderson discovered his neighbor, of sorts, was Crawford—a producer, multi-instrumentalist, and former sideman to Neil Young. “I sort of couldn’t believe it, you know? I knew this guy, I knew who he was. I had seen him play with Neil and was familiar with his work’” His next thought was as certain as sunrise. “I need to record some songs with him.”

Admiral Bean Studio rests comfortably on the 2,400-acre property Crawford owns and makes his home on in Loxley, Alabama. It’s a retreat where music is still sung, and played with instruments, by real people, not constructed by computer programs, and provided the ideal setting and collaborator for what became Anderson’s follow-up to his solo debut Lies & Wishes. “This record is my experiences and my songs, given the Crawford treatment,” says Anderson. “Even the tunes that existed long before the album was recorded have a Lower Alabama feel, and were heavily affected by Anthony.”

For his part, Crawford, in addition to producing, played a multitude of instruments on the sessions, but felt less of a challenge shaping the material than easing Anderson into a role of simply singing and playing. “I wanted him to show up and play for me his best performances, play the song live, let me record his guitar and his vocal. Let me get the real Edward David Anderson to start with so that everything else after that could be made of truth,” recalls Crawford. “He let go, and as a result, we have something very special.”

The subsequent nine-song collection floats melodiously on rivers of fiddle and clouds of pedal steel, on gentle acoustic guitars and hints of piano, dusted with some ghostly guitar from Will Kimbrough and striking vocal harmony from Crawford’s wife, singer Savana Lee. Listen to the opening strains of “Firefly” and be transported to a lonesome highway, the endless fields stretching out ahead. There’s “Sentimental in the Morning,” a porch shuffle that knows it can rock with the best of them, but displays self-restraint, or the classic outlaw storytelling of “Jimmy and Bob and Jack” that holds on to his Chi-Town accent, but rolls out like Southern Gothic. Hear the easy breeze of “Sadness” rustle through the trees, having picked up a bayou sensibility as it blows through, or the devastating honesty of “Cried My Eyes Dry,” a song of loss and carrying on.

There’s an alignment that happens when great albums are made. Cosmic, or maybe karmic—a reaction chemical, physical, emotional, spiritual, when an artist and his art find kindred souls of expression, even sweeter when it arrives unexpectedly. Last fall when the cold crept in to central Illinois, his migration to his Southern sanctuary calling, Edward David Anderson didn’t know his next album was waiting for him in the woods of Lower Alabama.

Lucky for us he found it. And it was not just another session, not just another record, but a moment to be preserved, to be treasured, when his voice was as true as it was seasoned, his words as intimate as they were universal.

Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions on LP, CD & Digital in stores 10/16/15.

The Neon Moonlighters

The Neon Moonlighters is a 3 piece acoustic string band that plays cover songs ranging from old standards to modern favorites, as well as a few original songs.


Drew and Joe

Acoustic, Classic Rock, & Country with special guest vocalist, Samantha Rae

Chris Corkery

Born from the endless silo towns of the rural Midwest and it's fertile music scene, including Backyard Tire Fire and Chicago Farmer, comes singer/songwriter Chris Corkery. He is armed with a sound that is influenced by the beautiful heartbreak of singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt mixed with the roots-based rock of Alejandro Escovedo and Chuck Prophet. Chris has been playing backwoods honky-tonks and barrooms all around Illinois from Chicago to St. Louis for the last 10 years. His songs could be called "dusty roots pop" in some cases, but above all, the vibe and sound-scape he creates through the lyrical stories and melodies of his songs is something all of it's own. From cutting his teeth as frontman of the Bloomington, IL., heartland rock group "The Dirty Hands Band," Chris has forged ahead in his solo outings to create something heartfelt and unique that stands out from his peers in the Midwest music scene.



The Castle Theatre is a proud supporter of Nook Fest, but this event will NOT be held at The Castle Theatre. The All-Day Concert will be located at The Shady Nook, (310 South Center Street in Saybrook, IL. For more information, please call 309-475-2021

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