Center Stage: Westfield High School graduate performs at Grand Junction Plaza, reflects on band’s success


Growing up in Westfield, there was nothing else that Reverend Peyton wanted to do as a career except to play music.

Peyton, a 1999 Westfield High School graduate, is the frontman of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, a country blues band known for performing hundreds of shows each year. The band consists of Peyton, his wife, Breezy, and drummer Max Senteney. It performed in Westfield June 2 at Grand Junction Plaza during a stop on its latest tour before heading to Europe for six weeks.

Peyton, the guitarist and vocalist, described Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band as part of the front-porch blues genre. The band has been nominated three times for Blues Music Awards and has performed in 38 countries and 48 states, Peyton said.

The band has also released several records, but Peyton said performing live for audiences is what band members truly enjoy.

“It’s what we live for,” Peyton said.

However, the challenges of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the music industry and performers, including Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Two planned European tours were canceled because of the pandemic.

“I’ve been (playing music) since I was a little kid,” he said. “Having all that completely slammed shut was absolutely horrifying.”

However, the band decided to get creative and performed livestream shows. Now, Peyton said the band has rebounded and said things are going well this year as the trio looks forward to the European tour.

“It’s really great to be back there to see all the fans, friends across the Atlantic and, you know, it’s going to be an exciting summer,” he said.

His wife, Breezy, is known for performing on stage with a washboard that is lit on fire at the end of each performance, while Senteney plays on the drums. The band’s performance in Westfield drew hundreds of people to Grand Junction Plaza.

The band’s 15-song setlist included some of their popular songs, such as “Poor Until Payday,” while one song, “Clap Your Hands,” brought concertgoers to their feet as Peyton asked them to clap their hands during portions of the song. Peyton also performed a solo of Robert Johnson’s “If I Had Possession of Judgment Day.”

Peyton said the band’s music is unique.

“At its core, it’s real, from the heart, handmade music,” Peyton said.

Kayla Arnold, director of Westfield Welcome, said the city booked Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band after discussions with Westfield Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan, who attended high school with Peyton.

Peyton enjoyed growing up in Westfield, where he still has family, and joked that he had to use his GPS to get around during his recent visit. He said Westfield’s explosive growth “is wild to see.”

“There’s hardly anything that’s the same,” he said. “There’s all the amenities you expect from a big city and it’s all there and it’s pretty wild.”

Peyton’s love for music is also evident and said he enjoyed the opportunity for his band to perform in Westfield.

“I’m just lucky I get to create something I love to make,” he said. “It’s really cool that things like this are able to happen.”

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Reverend Peyton, right, performs with his wife Breezy during Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s performance June 2 at Grand Junction Plaza in Westfield. Peyton is a 1999 graduate of Westfield High School. (Photo by Matthew Kent)

On the road

Reverend Peyton said all he ever wanted to do for a living is perform music, be on the road, and pursue a career as a musician.

“It’s all I ever wanted to do,” Peyton said. “It was more than a dream – it was inside of me in some ways and it’s hard to explain. I never got sick of it, I never got tired of it. If the pandemic taught me nothing, it’s this: It’s who I am and what I’m designed for, and not being able to do that for what I was put on Earth to do was tough.”

Peyton said being in front of audiences with his band is something he greatly enjoys.

“It feels so good to be back out on the road, and even when things are bad, I’m just happy to be out there playing music for people and it feels so good to be back at it again,” he said. “I’m just always looking forward and trying to better myself and better this band,” Peyton said.

For more on Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, visit