club cafe

pittsburgh, pa
POSTPONED - Ivan & Alyosha - Presented by Opus One & PromoWest North Shore

Ivan & Alyosha first sparked attention with their 2013 debut album All The Times We Had, followed by 2015’s It’s All Just Pretend. Paste called their music “luscious, enjoyable folk-pop” and NPR Music praised their “Beatles-esque pop harmonies and sweet melodies,” while Rolling Stone raved about their “smooth, soaring guitar pop” and American Songwriter said the band “achieve a polished west coast soul-folk sound that draws on the poppier sensibilities of McCartney songwriting.” The band toured extensively around those releases, supporting such acts as Brandi Carlile, The Head & The Heart, Delta Spirit, and more.

As their schedules maxed out, they found less time for creativity and realized a change was needed. So, the fivesome -- brothers Tim and Pete Wilson, Ryan Carbary, Tim Kim, and Cole Mauro – decided to take a slight break from the day-to-day demands of Ivan & Alyosha to regroup creatively and also spend time with their young families. With that time and freedom came perspective and inspiration, and during a gathering at Mauro’s house last year, drinking beer around a fire pit and swapping these new song ideas, they came to realize two things: one, they felt a new urge to create together; and two, that they didn’t have to go about it all in the same old ways.

Ivan & Alyosha first sparked attention with their 2013 debut album All The Times We Had, followed by 2015’s It’s All Just Pretend. Paste called their music “luscious, enjoyable folk-pop” and NPR Music praised their “Beatles-esque pop harmonies and sweet melodies,” while Rolling Stone raved about their “smooth, soaring guitar pop” and American Songwriter said the band “achieve a polished west coast soul-folk sound that draws on the poppier sensibilities of McCartney songwriting.” The band toured extensively around those releases, supporting such acts as Brandi Carlile, The Head & The Heart, Delta Spirit, and more.

As their schedules maxed out, they found less time for creativity and realized a change was needed. So, the fivesome -- brothers Tim and Pete Wilson, Ryan Carbary, Tim Kim, and Cole Mauro – decided to take a slight break from the day-to-day demands of Ivan & Alyosha to regroup creatively and also spend time with their young families. With that time and freedom came perspective and inspiration, and during a gathering at Mauro’s house last year, drinking beer around a fire pit and swapping these new song ideas, they came to realize two things: one, they felt a new urge to create together; and two, that they didn’t have to go about it all in the same old ways.

CANCELLED - SOLD OUT - Rhett Miller Acoustic

This show has been rescheduled from March 21 - All tickets honored

"This has been a hell of a year," Rhett Miller says. "I turned 48 in September and I'm still surprising myself."
 
After more than two decades as founding member of the venerable Old 97's and acclaimed singer-songwriter in his own right, Rhett Miller has crafted a trio of new projects that see him pushing his creative energies in hitherto untraveled directions. Among them are two utterly unique new albums - one solo, the other as part of Old 97's - as well as his first ever book, a collection of subversive kids' poems.
 
THE MESSENGER, Miller's eighth solo album, is perhaps his most unflinchingly personal collection of songs to date. Recorded over five spring days at The Isokon in Woodstock, NY with producer/musician Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker), THE MESSENGER sees Miller playing it faster and looser than perhaps any other time in his quarter century career, instilling songs like the first single, "Total Disaster," with a groovy limberness that belies the reflective darkness within. Backed by a white hot backing combo comprised of Cohen (Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar, Keys), Brian Betancourt (Bass), and Ray Rizzo (Drums), Miller worked quickly and with purpose, fast-tracking four or five "keepers" each day.
 
"I wanted this record to be less safe," he says. "I wanted to put myself in the hands of a producer who was going to do things that I didn't expect; I wanted to perform with people I didn't know and be surprised by what they came up with. And all of that really came to pass. 

"That's what you're getting with this record. You're getting a locked-in rhythm section with a crazy, psychedelic guitar maestro playing along with me as I dig deep into these songs about depression and insecurity and modern life and somehow wanting to live despite all of it," Miller chuckles. 
 
While that might sound somewhat flip, Miller is in some ways more serious than ever before. THE MESSENGER sees the veteran songsmith diving deep into his own youthful encounters with suicide and depression, placing "a long distance phone call to myself as a 14-year-old" on surprisingly buoyant new songs like "Permanent Damage" and "I Used To Write In Notebooks."
 
"For a lot of years I tried to keep self-reference out of my work," he says, "and I believe there's a lot to be said for that. There's enough about what I do that's masturbatory without me reading from my diary. But at a certain point, when you want to dig into personal issues and maybe explore things from your own past, you have to let yourself go there."

Miller hadn't publicly addressed his adolescent suicide attempt until a 2008 interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. "She asked me about my suicide attempt and I found myself telling her the story. I was surprised at how people responded. I ended up doing a little work on behalf of the National Suicide Prevention Network and that kind of blossomed to where I've made a point of recognizing my own history and doing whatever I can to try and bring it out of the shadows and make it something people are okay talking about. But even then, I'd never really recognized it in my own work."

And while THE MESSENGER addresses this darkness head-on many times, the album also visits the brighter corners. Songs like "You Were A Stranger" and "Wheels" speak to the joy that comes with having survived. Towards the end of "Wheels," when Miller sings "I'm broken, we're all broken, we just keep on trying," it's clearly a rallying cry rather than a lament.

After delving inward to create THE MESSENGER, Miller rejoined his mates in the Old 97's - Murry Hammond (Bass, Vocals), Ken Bethea (Electric Guitar), and Philip Peeples (Drums & Percussion) - to make a red-and-green gift for the world. Produced, mixed & engineered by John Pedigo in the band's home state of Texas, LOVE THE HOLIDAYS presents a stocking stuffed with rockin' new Yuletide favorites, capped off inevitably by the Old 97's take on the New Year's Eve staple, "Auld Lang Syne." Among the album's many highlights are the title track, co-written with Kevin Russell (The Gourds, Shinyribs), "Gotta Love Being A Kid (Merry Christmas)" and "Snow Angels," both co-written with acclaimed prose writer Ben Greenman, and the continuing saga of everyone's favorite reindeer, "Rudolph Is Blue," co-written by Miller and Dan Bern.
 
"I've thought about making a Christmas record for years and years," Miller says. "My goal was to make a record that could stand up alongside the classics, a record that would offer some new songs to this frustratingly finite list of holiday tunes that we all have to listen to on a loop between Halloween and New Year's Day.  We all get sick of the old ones, so why not try and come up with some new options for people to listen to when they're wrapping their gifts and snuggling in front of the fire?"
 
Speaking of gifts, Miller has teamed with Caldecott Medalist and bestselling artist Dan Santat for NO MORE POEMS!, a hilarious collection of irreverent poems for modern families, to be published March 5th, 2019 by Little/Brown Books For Young Readers. Written in the tradition of Shel Silverstein and Edward Gorey, Miller's poems bring a fresh new twist to the classic dilemmas of childhood as well as a perceptive eye to the foibles of modern family life. Full of clever wordplay and bright visual gags - with toilet humor to spare - these clever verses will have the whole family cackling.
 
"I was missing my kids so bad while out on tour," Miller says. "So I had to come up with a trick to get them to spend time on the phone with me. The trick was, ‘Hey, I wrote a poem, and I need you kids to critique it for me.' I gave them carte blanche to criticize me, to tell me that what I did was stupid. They let me have it, which was so great. It kept them on the phone way longer than if it was just me moping about how lonely I was in Peoria, Illinois or whatever."

Miller - who left Sarah Lawrence with a full scholarship for creative writing to pursue a career in music - has long worked a side game as a writer, publishing a number of essays, short stories, and criticism over the past 20 years. Though NO MORE POEMS! is his first proper book to be published, he firmly avows it will not be his last.
 
"When I dropped out I thought, I'll do rock ‘n' roll when I'm young and then when I'm middle aged, I can segue into writing with decades of experience under my belt," he says. "So now, that plan is coming to fruition. If I have my druthers, I'm going to keep writing books of different stripes for years and years to come. "
 
From THE MESSENGER to LOVE THE HOLIDAYS to NO MORE POEMS!, Miller's current crop of original output is testament to those aforementioned decades of experience, each distinct project marked by his ever-increasing skill set and multi-faceted approach to art and artistry. Having long ago committed himself to the artist's life, he has kept his nose to the grindstone, determined each and every day to create something of quality, meaning, and purpose.
 
"I've always believed that making art gives meaning to life," says Rhett Miller. "So far it's worked out pretty well."

This show has been rescheduled from March 21 - All tickets honored

"This has been a hell of a year," Rhett Miller says. "I turned 48 in September and I'm still surprising myself."
 
After more than two decades as founding member of the venerable Old 97's and acclaimed singer-songwriter in his own right, Rhett Miller has crafted a trio of new projects that see him pushing his creative energies in hitherto untraveled directions. Among them are two utterly unique new albums - one solo, the other as part of Old 97's - as well as his first ever book, a collection of subversive kids' poems.
 
THE MESSENGER, Miller's eighth solo album, is perhaps his most unflinchingly personal collection of songs to date. Recorded over five spring days at The Isokon in Woodstock, NY with producer/musician Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker), THE MESSENGER sees Miller playing it faster and looser than perhaps any other time in his quarter century career, instilling songs like the first single, "Total Disaster," with a groovy limberness that belies the reflective darkness within. Backed by a white hot backing combo comprised of Cohen (Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar, Keys), Brian Betancourt (Bass), and Ray Rizzo (Drums), Miller worked quickly and with purpose, fast-tracking four or five "keepers" each day.
 
"I wanted this record to be less safe," he says. "I wanted to put myself in the hands of a producer who was going to do things that I didn't expect; I wanted to perform with people I didn't know and be surprised by what they came up with. And all of that really came to pass. 

"That's what you're getting with this record. You're getting a locked-in rhythm section with a crazy, psychedelic guitar maestro playing along with me as I dig deep into these songs about depression and insecurity and modern life and somehow wanting to live despite all of it," Miller chuckles. 
 
While that might sound somewhat flip, Miller is in some ways more serious than ever before. THE MESSENGER sees the veteran songsmith diving deep into his own youthful encounters with suicide and depression, placing "a long distance phone call to myself as a 14-year-old" on surprisingly buoyant new songs like "Permanent Damage" and "I Used To Write In Notebooks."
 
"For a lot of years I tried to keep self-reference out of my work," he says, "and I believe there's a lot to be said for that. There's enough about what I do that's masturbatory without me reading from my diary. But at a certain point, when you want to dig into personal issues and maybe explore things from your own past, you have to let yourself go there."

Miller hadn't publicly addressed his adolescent suicide attempt until a 2008 interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. "She asked me about my suicide attempt and I found myself telling her the story. I was surprised at how people responded. I ended up doing a little work on behalf of the National Suicide Prevention Network and that kind of blossomed to where I've made a point of recognizing my own history and doing whatever I can to try and bring it out of the shadows and make it something people are okay talking about. But even then, I'd never really recognized it in my own work."

And while THE MESSENGER addresses this darkness head-on many times, the album also visits the brighter corners. Songs like "You Were A Stranger" and "Wheels" speak to the joy that comes with having survived. Towards the end of "Wheels," when Miller sings "I'm broken, we're all broken, we just keep on trying," it's clearly a rallying cry rather than a lament.

After delving inward to create THE MESSENGER, Miller rejoined his mates in the Old 97's - Murry Hammond (Bass, Vocals), Ken Bethea (Electric Guitar), and Philip Peeples (Drums & Percussion) - to make a red-and-green gift for the world. Produced, mixed & engineered by John Pedigo in the band's home state of Texas, LOVE THE HOLIDAYS presents a stocking stuffed with rockin' new Yuletide favorites, capped off inevitably by the Old 97's take on the New Year's Eve staple, "Auld Lang Syne." Among the album's many highlights are the title track, co-written with Kevin Russell (The Gourds, Shinyribs), "Gotta Love Being A Kid (Merry Christmas)" and "Snow Angels," both co-written with acclaimed prose writer Ben Greenman, and the continuing saga of everyone's favorite reindeer, "Rudolph Is Blue," co-written by Miller and Dan Bern.
 
"I've thought about making a Christmas record for years and years," Miller says. "My goal was to make a record that could stand up alongside the classics, a record that would offer some new songs to this frustratingly finite list of holiday tunes that we all have to listen to on a loop between Halloween and New Year's Day.  We all get sick of the old ones, so why not try and come up with some new options for people to listen to when they're wrapping their gifts and snuggling in front of the fire?"
 
Speaking of gifts, Miller has teamed with Caldecott Medalist and bestselling artist Dan Santat for NO MORE POEMS!, a hilarious collection of irreverent poems for modern families, to be published March 5th, 2019 by Little/Brown Books For Young Readers. Written in the tradition of Shel Silverstein and Edward Gorey, Miller's poems bring a fresh new twist to the classic dilemmas of childhood as well as a perceptive eye to the foibles of modern family life. Full of clever wordplay and bright visual gags - with toilet humor to spare - these clever verses will have the whole family cackling.
 
"I was missing my kids so bad while out on tour," Miller says. "So I had to come up with a trick to get them to spend time on the phone with me. The trick was, ‘Hey, I wrote a poem, and I need you kids to critique it for me.' I gave them carte blanche to criticize me, to tell me that what I did was stupid. They let me have it, which was so great. It kept them on the phone way longer than if it was just me moping about how lonely I was in Peoria, Illinois or whatever."

Miller - who left Sarah Lawrence with a full scholarship for creative writing to pursue a career in music - has long worked a side game as a writer, publishing a number of essays, short stories, and criticism over the past 20 years. Though NO MORE POEMS! is his first proper book to be published, he firmly avows it will not be his last.
 
"When I dropped out I thought, I'll do rock ‘n' roll when I'm young and then when I'm middle aged, I can segue into writing with decades of experience under my belt," he says. "So now, that plan is coming to fruition. If I have my druthers, I'm going to keep writing books of different stripes for years and years to come. "
 
From THE MESSENGER to LOVE THE HOLIDAYS to NO MORE POEMS!, Miller's current crop of original output is testament to those aforementioned decades of experience, each distinct project marked by his ever-increasing skill set and multi-faceted approach to art and artistry. Having long ago committed himself to the artist's life, he has kept his nose to the grindstone, determined each and every day to create something of quality, meaning, and purpose.
 
"I've always believed that making art gives meaning to life," says Rhett Miller. "So far it's worked out pretty well."

CANCELLED - An Evening With Jill Sobule - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

This show has been cancelled -refunds avail at point of purchase.

This show has been cancelled -refunds avail at point of purchase.

CANCELLED - Dinosoul / Jon Worthy & The Bends / Black Cat Moan

CANCELLED - Los Straitjackets

Los Straitjackets are the leading practitioners of the lost art of the guitar instrumental. Using the music of the Ventures, The Shadows, and with Link Wray and Dick Dale as a jumping off point, the band has taken their unique, high energy brand of original rock & roll around the world.

Clad in their trademark Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks, the 'Jackets' have delivered their trademark guitar licks to 16 albums, thousands of concerts and dozens of films and TV shows. Viva Los Straitjackets!

Los Straitjackets are the leading practitioners of the lost art of the guitar instrumental. Using the music of the Ventures, The Shadows, and with Link Wray and Dick Dale as a jumping off point, the band has taken their unique, high energy brand of original rock & roll around the world.

Clad in their trademark Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks, the 'Jackets' have delivered their trademark guitar licks to 16 albums, thousands of concerts and dozens of films and TV shows. Viva Los Straitjackets!

POSTPONED - Eilen Jewell - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP

This show is being postponed - a new date will be announced shortly.


American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as one of America's most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices. The Boise, Idaho songwriter is one of a kind.

That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on Gypsy (August, 2019 Signature Sounds Recordings). By turns personal and political, pissed off and blissed out, Jewell's first album of original material since 2015 expands brief moments of joy into lifetimes, and distills epic sentiments and persistent doubts into succinct songs.

Jewell seamlessly blends heavy electric guitars and dirty fiddles on the rollicking country rocker Crawl with the sweet and understated horn section of the tender Witness. 79 Cents (The Meow Song) skewers sexism and discrimination with pointed humor over a circus bed of musical saw and horns.

Longtime fans who love Eilen Jewell in classic country mode will delight in the pedal steel driven These Blues and the sole cover on Gypsy, You Cared Enough To Lie, written by fellow Idahoan and country legend Pinto Bennett.

Rather than pulling artist and listener this way and that, the tensions within and between these twelve tracks propel Eilen Jewell's eighth studio album forward as a remarkably cohesive full length.

This show is being postponed - a new date will be announced shortly.


American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as one of America's most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices. The Boise, Idaho songwriter is one of a kind.

That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on Gypsy (August, 2019 Signature Sounds Recordings). By turns personal and political, pissed off and blissed out, Jewell's first album of original material since 2015 expands brief moments of joy into lifetimes, and distills epic sentiments and persistent doubts into succinct songs.

Jewell seamlessly blends heavy electric guitars and dirty fiddles on the rollicking country rocker Crawl with the sweet and understated horn section of the tender Witness. 79 Cents (The Meow Song) skewers sexism and discrimination with pointed humor over a circus bed of musical saw and horns.

Longtime fans who love Eilen Jewell in classic country mode will delight in the pedal steel driven These Blues and the sole cover on Gypsy, You Cared Enough To Lie, written by fellow Idahoan and country legend Pinto Bennett.

Rather than pulling artist and listener this way and that, the tensions within and between these twelve tracks propel Eilen Jewell's eighth studio album forward as a remarkably cohesive full length.

POSTPONED - ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead with Special Guest Greenbeard

This show has been postponed again. New date TBA asap.

...an American alternative rock band from Austin, Texas led by chief members, Jason Reece and Conrad Keely. As childhood friends originating in Hawaii, the two began their music careers after moving to Olympia, Washington--forming their own various bands and ultimately relocating to Austin, Texas to create what would become ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. In twenty five years, the band has experienced major success in the indie music world with groundbreaking albums such as “Source Tags & Codes”, “Madonna” and “Worlds Apart”. The pairing of this music with an energetic and destructive live performance has eternally etched the band a place in rock and roll history.
2020 marks the release of the band's tenth studio album, “X: The Godless Void and Other Stories” which is released to the world on January 17. This also cues a US west coast tour that kicks off in Los Angeles before heading to Europe and the UK in February.

In twenty five years, AYWKUBTTOD boasts a healthy track record featuring 10 studio albums, countless festival appearances, world tours, rumors and stories that continue to charm the world. While some say their days of thrashing guitars and drums are behind them, the chaos continues with a live show that is fueled by endless rage and energy.

This show has been postponed again. New date TBA asap.

...an American alternative rock band from Austin, Texas led by chief members, Jason Reece and Conrad Keely. As childhood friends originating in Hawaii, the two began their music careers after moving to Olympia, Washington--forming their own various bands and ultimately relocating to Austin, Texas to create what would become ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. In twenty five years, the band has experienced major success in the indie music world with groundbreaking albums such as “Source Tags & Codes”, “Madonna” and “Worlds Apart”. The pairing of this music with an energetic and destructive live performance has eternally etched the band a place in rock and roll history.
2020 marks the release of the band's tenth studio album, “X: The Godless Void and Other Stories” which is released to the world on January 17. This also cues a US west coast tour that kicks off in Los Angeles before heading to Europe and the UK in February.

In twenty five years, AYWKUBTTOD boasts a healthy track record featuring 10 studio albums, countless festival appearances, world tours, rumors and stories that continue to charm the world. While some say their days of thrashing guitars and drums are behind them, the chaos continues with a live show that is fueled by endless rage and energy.

POSTPONED TO JANUARY 8 - The Schizophonics

This show has been postponed to January 8. All tickets honored.

This show has been postponed to January 8. All tickets honored.

POSTPONED TO FEB 10, 2021 - Dar Williams

This show has been postponed to February 10, 2021. All tickets honored.

This show has been postponed to February 10, 2021. All tickets honored.

(Rescheduled from May 13) - The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band [Night 1]

Rescheduled from May 13 - All tickets honored

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has built its reputation the long, slow, hard way. After 12 years of playing as many as 300 shows each year, Rev. Peyton, the world’s foremost country blues finger-style picker, along with the biggest little band in the country has pieced together one of the most dedicated followings out there. This following is sure to eat up the band’s latest offering, Poor Until Payday, (the second on their own Family Owned Records label through hip Nashville indie Thirty Tigers) out October 5th, a country blues record that was made the right way — two feet on the ground and both hands getting dirty.

With all the power of a freight train, the Big Damn Band is known for its live shows. Rev. Peyton delivers guitar pyrotechnics the old fashioned way — ten fingers, a 6 string and an amp cranked at full tilt. In the country blues style, he plays the bass with his thumb, while picking the lead with his fingers at the same time. When he lifts the guitar behind his head to play there’s nothing but skill and 16 gauge nickel strings to make the sounds coming out of the speakers.

Beside him on stage are just two other people. His wife, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton playing with all the nuance and percussive power of a New Orleans drum line, and keeping the train moving is Max Senteney on a lean drum kit including a 5 gallon maple syrup bucket. Together they play Peyton’s wildman country blues that’s as much ZZ Top as it is Bukka White.

On Poor Until Payday Peyton wanted a sound as live and electric as the records made in the heyday of 45 rpm blues classics from Chess, Stax and Sun Records. Playing his beloved custom-made National steel resonator, a 1949 Harmony Archtop, a 1954 Supro Dual Tone and a 1955 Kay Speed Demon through a 1949 Supro amp, Rev wanted to restore the “warmth, pops and hisses” mostly eliminated by modern-day compression. The band played in a room together with minimal micing (using only the best classic pieces they could get) with the main effect being tape saturation.

That’s it.

The result is an album that is direct, soulful and demands to be played loud.

The themes of songs like the title track, “You Can’t Steal My Shine” and “I Suffer I Get Tougher” offer the antidote to today’s hard times by touting “perseverance, inspiration and hope… being your authentic self despite everything lined against you, a light at the end of the tunnel.” With a vocal style reflecting both the soulfulness and bite of his idols, Rev has added world-class singer to his already-renowned skills as a finger-pickin’ guitar phenom. Breezy and Max also contribute background vocals to most of the songs, with “The Miss Elizabeth of Country Blues” actually taking the spotlight with a sultry call-and-response showcase on “Dirty Swerve,” in which she also contributed to the writing.

Peyton’s blues pedigree is well established. Woodshedding since he was 12, Peyton has kept alive a tradition of finger picking pioneered by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt. However, Peyton plays with the energy and attitude of a Howlin’ Wolf. Indeed if it has strings he can play it whether that’s a custom-built National, a cigarbox, an axe or even a shotgun (seriously, Google it.).

He’s done his homework and been given the blessing of the gatekeepers of the tradition — even befriending and touring with some of the last of the great Delta Blues and Hill Country blues legends like David “Honeyboy” Edwards, T-Model Ford (whose grandson calls him Unk), and Robert Belfour.

Rev and Breezy make their home in rural southern Indiana near the adopted home of bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, among national parks and forests in what began as an artist’s colony. “Most of the people here can both paint a picture and skin a deer,” laughs Breezy.

There’s nothing dusty or sentimental about Peyton’s music, though. There’s no songs about picking cotton. They aren’t a museum piece. The Big Damn Band have taken nearly a century of blues songsmanship and crafted a thing all their own. There is not a single act out there that sounds like this.

The Big Damn Band make friends and fans every place they go — and there are few places they haven’t been, having performed in 37 countries. After Poor Until Payday, the only people who won’t be on the big damn bandwagon will be people who haven’t heard or aren’t paying attention.

This is real, from the heart, handmade music made by people, for people who don’t have time for BS.

Rescheduled from May 13 - All tickets honored

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has built its reputation the long, slow, hard way. After 12 years of playing as many as 300 shows each year, Rev. Peyton, the world’s foremost country blues finger-style picker, along with the biggest little band in the country has pieced together one of the most dedicated followings out there. This following is sure to eat up the band’s latest offering, Poor Until Payday, (the second on their own Family Owned Records label through hip Nashville indie Thirty Tigers) out October 5th, a country blues record that was made the right way — two feet on the ground and both hands getting dirty.

With all the power of a freight train, the Big Damn Band is known for its live shows. Rev. Peyton delivers guitar pyrotechnics the old fashioned way — ten fingers, a 6 string and an amp cranked at full tilt. In the country blues style, he plays the bass with his thumb, while picking the lead with his fingers at the same time. When he lifts the guitar behind his head to play there’s nothing but skill and 16 gauge nickel strings to make the sounds coming out of the speakers.

Beside him on stage are just two other people. His wife, “Washboard” Breezy Peyton playing with all the nuance and percussive power of a New Orleans drum line, and keeping the train moving is Max Senteney on a lean drum kit including a 5 gallon maple syrup bucket. Together they play Peyton’s wildman country blues that’s as much ZZ Top as it is Bukka White.

On Poor Until Payday Peyton wanted a sound as live and electric as the records made in the heyday of 45 rpm blues classics from Chess, Stax and Sun Records. Playing his beloved custom-made National steel resonator, a 1949 Harmony Archtop, a 1954 Supro Dual Tone and a 1955 Kay Speed Demon through a 1949 Supro amp, Rev wanted to restore the “warmth, pops and hisses” mostly eliminated by modern-day compression. The band played in a room together with minimal micing (using only the best classic pieces they could get) with the main effect being tape saturation.

That’s it.

The result is an album that is direct, soulful and demands to be played loud.

The themes of songs like the title track, “You Can’t Steal My Shine” and “I Suffer I Get Tougher” offer the antidote to today’s hard times by touting “perseverance, inspiration and hope… being your authentic self despite everything lined against you, a light at the end of the tunnel.” With a vocal style reflecting both the soulfulness and bite of his idols, Rev has added world-class singer to his already-renowned skills as a finger-pickin’ guitar phenom. Breezy and Max also contribute background vocals to most of the songs, with “The Miss Elizabeth of Country Blues” actually taking the spotlight with a sultry call-and-response showcase on “Dirty Swerve,” in which she also contributed to the writing.

Peyton’s blues pedigree is well established. Woodshedding since he was 12, Peyton has kept alive a tradition of finger picking pioneered by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt. However, Peyton plays with the energy and attitude of a Howlin’ Wolf. Indeed if it has strings he can play it whether that’s a custom-built National, a cigarbox, an axe or even a shotgun (seriously, Google it.).

He’s done his homework and been given the blessing of the gatekeepers of the tradition — even befriending and touring with some of the last of the great Delta Blues and Hill Country blues legends like David “Honeyboy” Edwards, T-Model Ford (whose grandson calls him Unk), and Robert Belfour.

Rev and Breezy make their home in rural southern Indiana near the adopted home of bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, among national parks and forests in what began as an artist’s colony. “Most of the people here can both paint a picture and skin a deer,” laughs Breezy.

There’s nothing dusty or sentimental about Peyton’s music, though. There’s no songs about picking cotton. They aren’t a museum piece. The Big Damn Band have taken nearly a century of blues songsmanship and crafted a thing all their own. There is not a single act out there that sounds like this.

The Big Damn Band make friends and fans every place they go — and there are few places they haven’t been, having performed in 37 countries. After Poor Until Payday, the only people who won’t be on the big damn bandwagon will be people who haven’t heard or aren’t paying attention.

This is real, from the heart, handmade music made by people, for people who don’t have time for BS.

@clubcafelive

56-58 South 12th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203 (In Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side)