ALL MUISC by Evan Cater:
Poverty, rather than inspiration, prompted Darryl Purpose to record his second album, Same River Twice (originally released as darryl PURPOSE), in a continuous 60-minute take with just his voice, his guitar, and Daryl S.'s violin. Sometimes, financial constraints can be an artist's best friend: Same River Twice is a remarkably consistent effort from a singer/songwriter who was only a year into his professional career when it was recorded. Its songs are more than capable of withstanding the warts-and-all scrutiny exacted by the minimal setting; in fact, the intimacy only strengthens them. Though Purpose, a cowboy hat wearing former blackjack pro with a truck driver's haircut and a body like John Popper, could pass for a country singer, his songs' reflective sensitivity and his fretwork's eyebrow-raising speed place him firmly in the folk camp. Tinged by a slight southern drawl, his baritone shifts between gentle James Taylor smoothness and a husky nasal tone that recalls Van Morrison when he lets it rip (as on "Cherokee" and "What Was I Thinking"). Purpose also displays an unfailing melodic ear and a sculptor's eye for detail, particularly on "Mr. Schwinn," a moving and whimsically worded story about a lonely bike repairman set to a brisk, cyclical fingerstyle riff that suggests spinning bike wheels. Daryl S.'s warm, skillful fiddling is all the embellishment Purpose needs. Same River Twice finishes with a cover of Kevin Faherty's clever tribute to prematurely departed songsmiths, "Singer/Songwriter Heaven," which imagines a celestial stomping ground for the likes of Harry Chapin, Graham Parsons, Mark Heard, and Nick Drake. Purpose has made a surprisingly strong case that he deserves a place among them.
A mesmerizing storyteller who draws from life experiences, Darryl Purpose is known for his gentle baritone, flawless fingerstyle guitar, and his unflinching songs presented with an uncommon mix of delicacy and grit.
"A physically imposing man, hat firmly on head and dressed in black, he bordered on the menacing, until he opened his mouth. Then his natural warmth and charm blazed through."
- Michael Mee, Southern Reporter
"America's most original narrative songwriter since Harry Chapin"
- Q Magazine, February 2001
Darryl Purpose has led a diverse and interesting life. Lured as a teenager to the world of casino gambling, Purpose went from betting dollars on the graveyard shifts in downtown Las Vegas, to being one of the best blackjack players in the world by his mid twenties. In his late twenties, Purpose left Blackjack to walk across the country (L.A. to DC) with the 'Great Peace March.' Writing and playing music as a member of the 'house band' of the GPM-his first performing experience- was a watershed event for Purpose, leaving him with a permanent thirst for the connection possible through music. This led to another march in the (then) Soviet Union and the first-ever, outdoor stadium rock concert there, featuring Bonnie Raitt, Santana, James Taylor, and Darryl's band, Collective Vision.
Purpose moved into music fulltime in 1996. A thousand shows, and 20,000 CD's later, Purpose has "finally realized his calling as a dramatist for the dispossessed, a chronicler of those Americans who, by choice or by chance, live on the heart's back streets, rising up through the crooked lines like leaves of grass" writes Michael Tisserand in the liner notes from his album A Crooked Line .
From unrequited love in a bicycle repair shop in Mr. Schwinn to spurned to ramblings of a disaffected Angelino in "A Crooked Line," we recognize that the often dark characters presented in those story songs live all around us. With his distinctive baritone voice, a smoothly proficient finger-style guitar technique which has earned him an endorsement with Taylor Guitars and a sense of drama and storytelling in his lyrics and music, Purpose delivers a charismatic performance that captures coffeehouse and theater audiences alike, including a huge supply of interesting stories from his activities as a peace activist, professional gambler and modern troubadour.
"Darryl Purpose's music hits all the vital areas: the heart, the mind and the gut... Purpose delivers these tales in language that is precise and unflinching, with a voice that rings true from experience. These songs never let go."
- New Orleans Gambit Weekly
Selected Venues -
The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
Bluebird Cafe - Nashville TN
Circle of Friends Coffeehouse - Franklin MA
Club Passim, Cambridge MA
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse - Berkeley CA
Harris Creek Acoustic - Hampton,VA
Hill Country House Concerts - Bulverde,TX
The Kennedy Center -Washington,DC
Kerrville Folk Festival - Kerrville TX
Live Oak Music Festival - Santa Barbara CA
McCabes - Santa Monica CA
Rose Garden Coffeehouse - Mansfield MA
South Florida Folk Festival - Ft Lauderdale FL
Seattle Folklore Society - Seattle WA
The Turning Point - Piermont, NY
Uncle Calvin's - Dallas TX
Cambria Hoot Indian Summer Acoustic Music Festival - Cambria CA
Dogwood Festival - Atlanta GA
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival - Hillsdale, NY
Flat Rock Music Festival - flat Rock NC
Kerrville Folk Festival - Kerrville TX
Live Oak Music Festival * Santa Barbara CA
Napa Valley Music Festival - Napa CA
Rocky Mountain Folks Festival - Lyons,CO
Sisters Folk Festival - Sisters OR
South Florida Folk Festival - Ft Lauderdale FL
* A CROOKED LINE - Tangible Music, 2001
Purpose's latest includes stunning musical contributions from friends Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, two songs co-written with Ellis Paul, and a vocal/strings arrangement performed by members of the Turtle Island String Quartet. His cast of largely nameless wanderers and fate-tempters now expands to include a mostly-forgotten president (California), a haunted veteran ( Late for Dinner) and a disaffected Angelino (A Crooked Line).
"Darryl Purpose once made his living as a professional gambler, and, like all gamblers, he knows how to tell a good tale. That, plus his sharp eye for detail, his instinctive feel for hard-living, unsentimentalized characters, and his battle-hardened, but ultimately optimistic view of the world makes "A Crooked Line" one of the best recent collections of contemporary story songs. "
* TRAVELERS' CODE - Tangible Music, 1999
Includes the sweet wedding song, "Ring On My Hand" (a duet with Lucy Kaplansky), the soul-baring "Child of Hearts" (with Ellis Paul), and a sweetly updated "Last Great Kiss of the 20th Century"
"Harry Chapin would be proud."
~ Folk and Music Exchange
'"Purpose takes the almost indescribably intense moments of life and brings them a step closer to comprehension... "
~Mike Devlin - Music Matters Review
* SAME RIVER TWICE (originally titled "darryl PURPOSE,") - Dec 1997
Includes - Singer/Songwriter Heaven and Dangerous Game. Recorded in one take in the studio, this album highlights Darryl's dramatic guitar work, his expressive voice and his offbeat world view. With Daryl S. adding sweet and soulful touches on violin, this is an all-acoustic album that compels attention.
"...beautifully crafted literature set to wonderful melodies and presented with an uncommon mix of delicacy and grit. There isn't a filler song on this album"
~Dale Barcellos, Bluegrass by the Bay
" One of the best CD's of the year"
~Cape Cod Times
* RIGHT SIDE OF ZERO - Tangible Music, Dec 1995
Purpose' first release includes The Island Song, I Will Run, Right Side of Zero , Don't Tear Down.
"a breath of fresh air in an overcrowded market"
"Darryl's fine guitar work is evident throughout, especially on the instrumental, 'Rootwing,' which opens and closes the album. Combine that with his hypnotic voice and heartfelt words and 'Right Side of Zero' comes close to a perfect ten."
~The Performing Songwriter
Same River Twice
I have been following Darryl\'s career and have his full library.... he is one of the best singer songwriters in America today... in the genre of Harry Chapin as a storyteller along with as a bonus outstanding finger picking guitar style.... if you ever get a chance to see him live take it .. if you are lucky enough to see Him with Daryl S. a virtuoso violin player your in for a real treat... although I haven\'t heard of them together for years.... this is the best album as you get less produceing effects and more pure music .... love it... Buy it now
Russ & Julie:
A True Work Of Art
Same River Twice is one of our very favorite albums of the past decade or so. It's a finely crafted masterpiece showcasing the best of Darryl Purpose's songwriting, offset beautifully by the incredible Daryl S. on violin. You'll be hard-pressed to locate a superior singer-songwriter album anywhere.
Evan Cater, ALL Music:
Darryl Purpose was a late arrival to the folk explosion of the 1990s. By the time he became a full-time folk singer in 1996, the competition among acoustic troubadours scrambling to find a place in the wake left by monster success stories like Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin, and the Indigo Girls was intense and daunting. But folk music is, after all, a storytelling genre. And when Purpose did finally hit the folk scene, he came with an unusually eclectic resume that provided him with a wealth of compelling stories to tell. His songs, which have drawn liberally from his experiences as a highly regarded professional blackjack player and a well-traveled peace activist, garnered considerable attention from the outset of his career. After the 1996 release of his debut album, Right Side of Zero, Purpose began an impressive prize-inning run in songwriting contests around the country. His sophomore effort, a one-take acoustic recording with violinist Daryl S., was released in December of 1997 with the title darryl PURPOSE; it was later reissued as Same River Twice. By the time he recorded his third album, Traveler's Code in 1999, Purpose had made enough of an impact in American folk circles to score guest appearances from well-established artists like Ellis Paul, David Miner, and Lucy Kaplansky. The confident, rich Crooked Line appeared in summer 2001, followed by the Christmas release Gift of the Magi in 2002. ~ Evan Cater
Darryl Purpose: Blackjack Player, Activist and Song Writer
RJ Frometa February 10, 2016 Entertainment 1 Comment 173 Views
Songs are formed from the threads that weave their way through our lives. Pulled from the fibers of our being and woven into a collection of beats and bars to tell a unique story, songs are the histories of our lives and one of the finest musical storytellers from the last few years is Darryl Purpose.
Much like artists such as Jo Kroger, who used her experiences of love to pen Simplest, Purpose’s first single, Right Side of Zero (1996) was a narrative fuelled by his time as a blackjack player in Las Vegas (as the opening line “Springtime sunrise on a warm dessert morning” illustrates).
In fact, since his maiden release, songs such as Ghost of Crazy Horse (2012) and Dangerous Game (1996) (see video below) have not only captured the imagination of Americans because of Purpose’s subtle tones, but because of the messages they contain.
When you scroll through Purpose’s discography, you’ll see that he’s released seven albums – including Right Side of Zero (1996), Same River Twice (1997) and Travelers’ Code (1999) – you can see that allusions to the gambling world abound.
Using Blackjack Beats to Inspire Musical Beats
By far one of the biggest influences on Purpose’s musical career was his time as a blackjack professional. A proficient player before it was trendy to go online, Purpose was regarded as one of the best in the world prior to giving it all up to become an activist of sorts. Joining a variety of social awareness movements, Purpose literally found a purpose in life beyond blackjack. However, blackjack remained a constant in both his life and his music.
Indeed, Purpose began exploring his ideals through music and began to weave his life as a gambler into his moral outlook on life and society.
Gambling with a Purpose
One of the biggest influences on Purpose’s blackjack career and one of the reasons he was able to become a member of the game’s Hall of Fame was Edward O. Thorp.
A professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Thorp used his knowledge of numbers to work as a hedge fund manager, invent the first wearable computer in 1955 and pen one of the definitive books on blackjack: Beat the Dealer (1962).
That book not only became a global hit, but it earned Thorp a place in the Blackjack Hall of Fame alongside many of the most notable blackjack players in history. It was this very book that first inspired Purpose to become a blackjack player after his mother gave him a copy as a Christmas present when he was 16.
This childhood gift served as the catalyst for a career that saw Purpose win hundreds of thousands of dollars at the table and, eventually, earned him a place in the very same Hall of Fame in 2009, along with the author of Beat the Dealer.
Music’s Give and Take
Of all his life experiences, Purpose has often cited his blackjack career as the fuel for much of his music. However, as any artist would admit, the creative process is a reciprocal one that involves give and take – and Purpose certainly used his love of music to inspire his own emotions before he turned to inspiring others.
Indeed, Purpose didn’t simply draw on his experience at the blackjack tables to fuel his creativity. Instead, he used it in his previous career as a way to focus his mind. Like all games of skill, blackjack not only requires an acute sense of timing, but it involves a host of numerical processes and one of the best ways to focus the mind is to block out the world using melodic chords.
Whether it’s the sounds of Purpose or any other musician, music has been scientifically proven to help improve your focus. According to a study by the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, MRI scans showed that participant’s brain activities increased when they listened to music. Moreover, when participants listened to their favorite musical genre, whether it was classic or pop, their internally focused thoughts (known technically as the default mode network in our brains) increased at an even greater rate.
From the online blackjack player grinding to the James Bond-style gambler in Las Vegas, music is a great way to focus the mind on all the skills and strategies espoused by the likes of Thorpe and his peers.
A Life’s Work in Song
Purpose clearly identified this connection between thoughts, emotions and focus early on in his life as many other artists since have done (Tom Lowe’s EP Phone was a tribute to his phone).
Indeed, for any aspiring blackjack player or musician there’s a lot to learn from Purpose. Whether it’s the way he’s used his experience to inspire his music or how he used music to inspire parts of his life, Purpose has shown that music is as much of a catalyst for life as it is a result of it.
Of course, Purpose is more than a blackjack player, but what’s clear from his life and career is that blackjack had a profound effect on his music. Indeed, you only have to listen to Dreams of Life or Right Side of Zero (see video below) to hear the undertones of a life lived on the edge.
The unpredictably and rush of emotions that one goes through at the blackjack table is often likened to the sensations an adrenaline junkie gets when they leap out of a plane at 10,000ft. Fear, trepidation, excitement and relief are all emotions Purpose would have gone through in his career and they’re all emotions present in his music.
Indeed, much like Morgan St. Jean used her experiences of being so in love that you can’t leave a destructive relationship in order to write Drown, Purpose has used the highs and lows of his love affair with blackjack to give his tracks some context.
While there’s no doubt the tapestry of his life as a whole helped shape his music, the threads that stretch back to the blackjack table are certainly the threads that bind his work together. For those wanting a new musical experience with a familiar tone, Purpose’s songs are certainly worth a listen.
Read more at ventsmagazine.com/2016/02/10/darryl-purpose-blackjack-player-activist-and-song-writer/#k13wqtghtkS1rLlD.99
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