Darryl Purpose is one of our greatest troubadours. His songs tell stories of people and events that have touched him, but they strike a chord in all of us. And those of us who have been lucky enough to be part of his audience of listeners, whether at a Darryl Purpose show, or listening to a song via streaming or CD, know how special he is.
For seven years, Purpose disappeared from the performing stage. None of us knew if he returned to champion level gambling (after all, he was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2009), or if he was taking a break from music to pursue another dream. But in early 2013 a recording of brand new songs was announced called Next Time Around. And I am thrilled to say that Purpose is back with his signature voice and sound.
Fittingly, the recording opens with a song called Dreams of Life, which follows the tales of several characters who have been held back from living their lives fully in some way. Each one has a dream of a better life just outside their grasp. Purpose tells us about their individual journeys with elements of promise and hope…his open chords and vocals lead the way. This is one of the great story songs written with topnotch songwriter Paul Zollo.
Race the Wind is a moving tribute to a friend about moving forward in life "with love and no regret." Purpose surrounds himself with some great musicians including Dony Wynn on drums whose work here drives the song and gives it great power.
Purpose has a natural ability to move the listener with his tunes, and The Fourth Chair is good example of this. There are three friends meeting for a meal and a jam session afterwards. These are close friends…you can tell. But there is a fourth chair where one friend used to sit, but he or she is no longer with them. Has this friend taken a different path and left the road? So it seems. Dirje Smith on cello and Billy Crockett on mandolin add just the right sentimental notes on their respective instruments. This is the kind of song that stays with you long after the last note has played out.
And with Girl from Golden, Purpose gives us a gift. The extraordinary singer/songwriter, Dave Carter, who left us too soon some ten years ago, leaving this previously unrecorded song behind so that Purpose could honor Carter's work with his voice and guitar. And he had the good sense to ask Carter's performing and personal partner, Tracy Grammer, to sing it with him. The poetry and grace of Carter's lyrics, in addition to the story he tells of the beauty of the natural world and the girl he found within it, is touching and heartfelt.
Amy is one of the songs so special and unique that it would stand out on any recording. In a subtle and simple way, the singer pours out his heart to someone he has loved and who has slipped away. The song begins by saying that he "couldn't love someone so special" and transitions through "I could love someone so special" to finally the definitive "I would love someone so special." Together they would find the sea that represents the world around them "in a seashell." The guitars on this tune, both Purpose's lead acoustic guitar and Daran DeShazo on electric guitar infuse the lyrics with just the right amount of sentiment. This one is simply stunning.
Purpose sums up a lot of what he believes in a song he wrote for Rachel Corrie, a ten year-old girl who spoke frankly to her classmates about the consequences of world hunger, urging them to "look into the future, and see the light that shines there." And so it is called Song for Rachel Corrie. All we need is Purpose on acoustic guitar with his gentle and soft voice here calling out for a bright future we can all share in.
The title song ends this all too short collection, Next Time Around, where the carousel in his town of Nederland, Colorado represents the cycle of life—its beginnings and endings.
And so we hope that Next Time Around represents a new cycle of songs and performances by Darryl Purpose, beginning here and now. The new work contained in this collection reminds us of how important a singer and songwriter he is, and how much he has been missed from the acoustic music stage. When Purpose left to pursue other things in his life seven years ago, he left a void and a presence that could not be filled. It is a joyous occasion when we can welcome him back with open arms. Next Time Around is a triumphant return for Darryl Purpose. We hope he will stay for a very long time to come.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
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