Once in a great while an artists work shows up in my life and stands me on my ear. As I revel in what they’ve accomplished and go deep into their work listening I also go into my own journey and find momentary answers to my biggest questions.
Darryl Purposes new CD “Next Time Around” showed up in my mailbox a few days ago. I popped it into my car CD player for a short drive around the corner thinking I’d give it a start. An hour later I was still in my driveway, stereo blasting, I couldn’t turn it off, the message was in mid stream delivery, how could I. I was filled with a deep sense of the value of the process of music. I understood clearly the reason we want to make music.
There is something so powerful and reassuring in hearing someone (and in this case he happens to be a friend, so I judge unfairly with an even sharper ear) grow as an artist and a person. Darryl’s singing and writing have unmistakable advanced to another level. I hear Darryl’s intent and attention to detail in every word he sings, I hear his musical message deep in my soul. I envision where he’s been since I last saw him, his self discovery, his spiritual path and the things he’s been ruminating and paying attention to these past years which he has failed to mention to me. For instance, gathering 10 killer songs like his tear-jerk beauuutiful “Amy” which speaks with two voices; a conversation between logic and emotion, Purpose/Zolla cowrite; groove pop Orange Raincoat “I’m an orange raincoat walking through a blue umbrella town,” the late Dave Carter’s exquisite “Girl from Golden.” I love them all, but it’s more than that. I hear Darryl’s ability to collaborate, I get an idea of who he’s listened to and cared about. I make up a whole new story about Darryl Purpose. I think I hear him on the radio.
“Next Time Around” is lovingly and impeccably produced by Billy Crockett. Clearly Billy is the lightning rod. Besides being a multi talented instrumentalist, he has nurtured these songs with careful arrangements. He and a core group of masterful musicians lay down a foundational cool, a Nashvillian slick, and a time honored folk integrity. Daran DeShazo on electric guitar offers up some devilish grooves and lush landscapes. Dony Wynn on drums and Glenn Fukunaga on bass set up some gorgeous and powerful feel throughout. Crockett on keyboard, guitar, percussion and mandolin and a few other great players and singers flush out the dynamics. Darryl’s vocals are intimate and smooth as silk, reminiscent of a salty James Taylor, with a peppering of Mick Jaggar drawl and phrasing.
I think the thing that strikes me most as I listen is that art and artistry matter. That communication from one soul to another really does matter. It’s not by accident that things of beauty are made. That it is not solely about skill or by shear force of will but by long standing dedication to intention. It’s about cleaning out the closets and being present enough to know when something right is happening and being able to act on it. Making a truly great album requires a lot of great things coming together under one roof, as delicate and fleeting as the alignment of planets, as random as the chance meeting of three people at a house concert in Texas… but that’s the back story. Ask Darryl.