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      Shooter Jennings and The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band w/ Leopold and His Fiction in Birmingham

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      October 10, 2013

      Thursday   8:00 PM

      500 23rd St S
      Birmingham, Alabama 35233

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      Shooter Jennings and The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band w/ Leopold and His Fiction

      Bar opens at 4pm and doors open at 6:30 if sound check is complete. This is an 18+ show!
      Leopold and His Fiction | 8:00 PMThe Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band | 8:45 PM Roaring out of the southern Indiana foothills comes Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band playing a brand of Americana and Blues that stands alone – Delta blues and hillbilly fervor combine with musical acuity sharp as razor wire – best know, this trio is a force to be reckoned with. The growl of a good truck engine, the fiercest passion for his country home and family and an uncanny ability to breathe new life into old forms of music give them a pedigree many Americana acts would kill for and an ironclad work ethic keeps them on the road 250 dates a year, playing for the people with hurricane force. Locked in with an audience, the band create their own community and welcome the crowd into it, transporting them away from their troubles to joyous release, the way great musicians have done for centuries. The Rev. J. Peyton, his wife Breezy and Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell are a living breathing embodiment of the traditions and hard work ethic native to their Brown County, Indiana home. Their new album Between The Ditches is a chronicle of this lifestyle.

      With a reputation for their incendiary live shows well established, The Big Damn Band set out to make the album that would finally capture the same heat. Recorded at White Arc Studio in Bloomington, Indiana, the album was produced by The Rev. Peyton and Paul Mahern (John Mellencamp, Iggy Pop), and mastered by Brian Lucey (Black Keys, Dr. John, Shins). For previous albums, the band had recorded live, straight through in the same mode as a live show. Between the Ditches came together more slowly, with care. “We approached it saying we were going to make a record this time, not just a recording,” explained the Rev. He used a different guitar set up on almost every track, employing two ’30s National guitars, a cigar box guitar, a custom shop Gibson flattop 1929 L2 and an Airline map electric guitar. The primary amps are custom Weber amps made by Weber speakers – both are one of a kind.

      Their fifth album, Between The Ditchesfeatures a new level of craftmanship in both recording technique and songwriting. The Rev. feels that it’s their best album to date.”I’m very proud of this album, the songwriting and the playing.” The guitar playing alone should put the Rev. in the same class with his much revered idols. The songwriting boasts an added maturity and runs the gamut in subject matter from the barn burning, tongue in cheek, “Shut the Screen”, (where “It’s too dang hot and the bugs are too dang mean”) to the evils of strip mining, an issue close to the hearts of this Indiana born and bred band in, “Don’t Grind It Down”. There seems to be a theme expressed throughout the album and stated clearly in their first single,“Devils Look Like Angels”: “Devil don’t live down in hell, the devil’s right here doing very well”.

      ” Burn up some backroads, drive up to the store
      They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore”

      Rev Peyton’s first introduction to music was his father’s record collection of blues-oriented rock. At age 12 his father gave him a Kay brand guitar, eventually purchasing a Gorilla amplifier once he learned to play. And play he did. He became infatuated with pre-World War II country blues, and a desire to learn the fingerstyle picking of artists like Charlie Patton. Fingerstyle refers to using each of the right hand fingers independently in order to play the multiple parts of a musical arrangement that would normally be played by several band members. Bass, harmonic accompaniment, melody, and percussion can all be played simultaneously when playing fingerstyle.

      Keith Richards has said that the first time he heard Robert Johnson’s recordings he asked “Who’s the other guy playing with him?” Of course there wasn’t one. When you listen to the songs on Between The Ditches you will be hard pressed to believe it is only one guitarist.

      “Nothing’s really free
      It all comes with a fee”

      Misfortune struck the Rev. early on in the form of a dehabilitating condition that caused excruciating pain in his hands. Doctors told Peyton he’d never be able to hold his left hand in fretting position again. But he persevered and when the bandages were removed, Peyton discovered a new flexibility and greater control in his fretting hand that enabled him to play in the fingerstyle that he longed to play.

      “If it’s me with you
      Then we’ll get through”

      It was during his convalescence that he met his wife to be, Breezy. “I was crazy in love with her right from the start”. He credits Breezy with installing a confidence in his playing and his life in general that he had previously lacked. Breezy Peyton’s explosive washboard playing, sweet back-up vocals and striking good looks didn’t hurt their live show either.

      Completing the trio is cousin Aaron Persinger on drums. “He’s a human metronome”, says the Rev. Persinger’s drum kit gives new meaning to the term ‘stripped down’ and features a plastic 5 gallon bucket, for which he has a sponsorship deal for replacements. With their line-up finalized the band sold everything they owned in a garage sale and headed out on the open road.

      “I’ve been broke down (BROKE DOWN) from sea to shining sea
      You’ve been everywhere, I’ve been broke down there
      And three times in Tennessee“

      In 2009, they toured opening for Clutch, an extensive headlining tour of Europe and began their relationship with the Van’s Warped Tour, playing 12 dates in 2009 on the Kevin Says stage. They were on the entire 2010 Van’s Warped Tour on the Alternative Press stage and they received the Best Band of Warped Tour award, voted by the crew, bands, and promoters. They’ve also toured with Flogging Molly, Rev. Horton Heat, Derek Trucks and Mofro just to name a few.

      “Keep it between the ditches”

      This band is fun sure, a lot of fun, but they are for real. From virtuoso musicianship to great songwriting, Between The Ditches has got it all. All from a little Brown County, Indiana band that’s got the nerve (and the right) to call themselves, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band! more >>>Shooter Jennings | 9:45 PM Don't let Shooter Jennings fool you.

      Sure, he rocks. He's lean and wiry, with tattoos snaking up his arms - his mother's name on one, a gun on the other - and a crimson stud gleaming in one ear. He's played sold-out shows at the Viper Room and the Roxy. He's subbed for Axl Rose onstage - twice - with Guns N' Roses.

      But look a little closer. Underneath that gun are the letters CBCS, for "country boy can survive." That earring turns out to be an eagle silhouette spread-winged into the letter "W" - an icon known by anyone who has listened to and loved the original outlaw, Waylon Jennings.

      That same icon is etched onto Shooter's stomach, but the one in his ear is even more special.

      "My dad got his ear pierced when he was - I swear to God - sixty, because he wanted to be like me," the younger Jennings explains. "This was the earring he wore - and I'm wearing it now."

      If that's not enough to make it clear that bloodlines run deep from father to son, then check out Shooter's debut album, Put the 'O' Back in Country. The passion on "Southern Comfort," scraped raw from the walls of some backwoods church...the guitars on "Daddy's Farm," stacked, harmonized and slathered in deep-fried soul..."4th of July," a crank-it-up summer celebration sweetened by a sprinkling of George Jones...the tread-shredding, back-road, hairpin spin of "Busted in Baylor County"...and, above all, "Put the 'O' Back in Country," which jabs a finger in the eye of everything that's wrong with America's music today...

      Hoss, it's country music, the way it ought to be - alive with blood and thunder, spit and spirit and Southern soul.

      Waylon fought this battle in his own way, back in the day. But the sun has sunk and the shadows have spread deeper across country music since then. And as cowboy poseurs roam this dim and dreary land, Shooter sets it ablaze with an affirmation that country music - real country music - is back.

      And this time it's not going away.

      "The main thing I want people to understand is that I'm a country artist," Shooter says. "Sure, there's rock in there. I've played a lot of rock & roll. I take a lot from it. But it's country music. And I'm going to push it as far as I can because it's that important."

      "I'm rollin' like a freight train, comin' straight at you/I'm playin' hillbilly music, like I was born to do/You know, it ain't country music you've been listenin' to."
      -"Put the 'O' Back in Country"

      Waylon Albright Jennings was born rollin'. The only child of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, he lived his first few years in a crib on his parents' tour bus. "I thought everybody's family was like mine," he remembers. "We'd check out of hotels and travel all night. Songwriting, shows, stage setups, the band, the crew, the bus, the trucks - all that stuff was normal. And I loved it. To this day I sleep better on the bus than anywhere else."

      Above all, there was the music - though, strange as it seems, Shooter never thought of it as something he himself would ever do. "I remember hearing Dad's band," he says. "They were always great. I loved the way those shows felt, with the colored lights coming on. I can still really see him onstage, starting 'Luckenbach, Texas.' Night after night, I'd watch from the wings. But I never put two and two together, like, 'Maybe I'll get older and do this too.'"

      Without thinking about it much, Shooter started making music anyway. By age five he was playing drums. Between tours, back in Nashville, he took piano lessons, didn't like them, stopped, then started teaching himself and enjoying it more. He picked up his guitar at fourteen and hasn't put it down since. He and his dad recorded a few things together when they happened to have some microphones set up and the tape recorder plugged in. Then at sixteen he discovered rock & roll.

      Driven by a sound he heard coming together in his head - something like Lynyrd Skynyrd mutating into Guns N' Roses - Shooter left a couple of years later to seek his fortunes in L.A. "I had to get out of Nashville because I didn't feel it was my place at the time," he explains. "I wanted to get out while I was young. I wanted to play rock, and if I'd tried to do that in Nashville a lot of expectations would have been laid on me. I wasn't comfortable with that, so after I got out of high school, I was gone."

      In L.A., Shooter assembled a band and named it Stargunn. For six or seven years they tore up the local clubs, built a rabid following, earned raves from the local music press...but something was wrong.
      "I loved rock," he explains. "I loved its 'f-you' attitude. But that Hollywood thing started to get to me. The more I went to all these crazy Paris Hilton parties, the more I was like, 'Man, this sucks!' I felt like everybody I'd known back in Nashville was looking at me like I was some big Hollywood asshole. I was posing as a rocker - a country guy trying to be something he wasn't."

      As this sank in, Shooter remembered one of the many lessons of life his father had passed down to him. "The most important thing he ever said to me was, 'Don't ever try to be like anybody else, because you ain't never gonna be.' Then one day I was trying to describe what I wanted in this one song, and I said something about David Alan Coe, and everybody was like, 'Who?' That's when I realized that about 75 percent of my story wouldn't work with this band."

      On March 30, 2003, Shooter dissolved Stargunn and went to New York City to spend some time with his girlfriend and sort out what he wanted to do next. It took just a few weeks for Fate to show up, as it often does, with an opportunity, in the form of an invitation to play at the House of Blues in May. "I was certainly not ready," he remembers, "but I said yes just to inspire my ass to get a band together and try. We did that show, and it wasn't terrible, but it was enough to pump me up and get me to start writing the songs I wanted to write."

      Once he had his material together, Shooter went back to L.A., found some musicians who could connect to his true, new sound, dubbed them the 357s, and locked himself into a studio with them. Six weeks later they emerged with Put the 'O' Back in Country, a set of rambunctious country that leaves no doubt of where Shooter comes from and where he's going.

      "In country music I feel completely free to do what I want to do," he insists. "I still get off to a lot of what's going on in rock - the White Stripes are great and so is Velvet Revolver. I almost feel like real rock & roll is more present in country than it is in rock. You wouldn't hear 'Keep Your Hands to Yourself' on rock radio now. It'd be on country radio, because you can't bullshit country fans; they know authentic music when they hear it. And that's what I'm out to do."
      Not only that - Shooter does it with a sound that's nourished by tradition, that acknowledges his family, and yet is entirely his own. "In my head, I still wish I sounded like a Waylon record from 1978," he laughs. "But I know I sound like myself. I guess that comes from finally doing what I want, even though I'm embracing my heritage too. That's important in country music. Somebody asked me once if it's hard living in my father's shadow. Hell, no - it's great! I love my father's music. In fact, I want a Waylon song on my next record. But Put the 'O' Back in Country is all me, coming out fast, balls to the wall."

      Shooter is already on his way, a shooting star on the rise. His duet with Hank Williams, Jr. was a highlight of CMT's Outlaws special in the fall of 2004. "Please Carry Me Home," which he wrote and recorded with his mother for the anthology Music Inspired by the Passion of the Christ, moved Todd Sterling of Country Review to observe that "Shooter has the same soulfulness in his voice as his late father." Meanwhile, his big-screen debut, playing his father opposite Joaquin Phoenix's Johnny Cash, promises to be a highlight of next year's biopic Walk the Line.

      All well and good, but no matter where Shooter Jennings' instincts lead him, Put the 'O' Back in Country points right to the heart of who he is. "My whole statement is about the music," he insists. "It's about not being afraid to cross any boundaries. It's about freedom. And I know that the people in that little place between New York and L.A. called America will come, as long as the music is real." more >>>

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