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Darryl Purpose Link:

Darryl Purpose

Music Matters Interview

Darryl Purpose
A Crooked Line

2001, Tangible

Darryl Purpose finds his voice and his stride in the powerful and beautiful album, A Crooked Line. This, his fourth recording, brings him together with producer Evan Brubaker, who has surrounded Purpose with just the right sound to bring his voice and songs front and center.

The CD opens with "California (Rutherford Hayes in the Morning)," as lovely a story song as I've ever heard. It features Purpose's gentle and distinctive baritone along with his superb finger picking on acoustic guitar. The incomparable Tracy Grammer plays violin and contributes backing vocals. Is it about California? Or is it about President Rutherford Hayes? Either way it's a great song.

As is the case with the opening tune, "A Crooked Line" was penned with noted songwriter Paul Zollo. It seems to tell the story of the songwriter's life, but mostly addresses the role change plays along the road we call life. For some, the path is never straight, but instead takes us along a crooked line, from one point to the next.

"Late for Dinner" tells the story of a war veteran who came back from battle "with his body parts intact," but with the tatters of his mind lying elsewhere. The music brings the story to life—it's a wonderful mix of Purpose on guitar, Daryl S on violin and Dave Carter on banjo, along with a host of other musicians.

"Bryant Street" is a standout, co-written with Ellis Paul. The song is filled with poignant images that evoke memories of the past. Paul's skilled hand is clear here in both the metaphors and the melodies, and even in his backing on acoustic guitar. But the delivery is all Darryl Purpose in a voice that is somehow both mellow and mysterious. This one is a stunner, and the recording's best track.

"Koreatown" has a gorgeous extended musical introduction by Purpose on acoustic guitar, which demonstrates that this man is so much more than a storyteller in song. The song tells the tale of a small piece of California called Koreatown.

The light and lovely "I Lost a Day to the Rain" is another co-write with Ellis Paul. It features both Purpose's exquisite finger picking on guitar, and Ellis Paul's accompanying vocals.

The recording closes with "I Can Get There From Here," which is highlighted by a beautiful arrangement of stringed instruments - violins, viola and cello - arranged by Danny Seidenberg. It pays tribute to the 1986 Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, which started in Los Angeles and ended in Washington, D.C.

In the course of a year as a writer and reviewer, I get to listen to a lot of music. There is a great deal of good music out there, and some of it is even great. But there is only one Darryl Purpose. He is a big man with a gentle spirit, a huge heart and a unique talent. He has traveled the four corners of the globe in his former life as a world-class blackjack player, and now travels some of those same roads as one of the world's best musicians and storytellers. A Crooked Line is Purpose at his best. It deserves to be heard for its stellar production, its wonderful stories and its solid musicianship. Purpose's ability to tell a tale, and in the process, tell his own story, sets him on the path toward creating his own legend. I hope that A Crooked Line brings Purpose the wider audience he deserves. You can be in on a legend in the making.—Roberta B. Schwartz

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