All I need is one songwriter turning me on to another, like I have pockets deep enough to support the entire music industry, but Darryl Purpose did just that with his intro to one of the songs on 2005's Live at Coalesce album. "This is a song by my favorite songwriter in the world," he said, "and it's the creepiest song he ever wrote... a Dave Carter song called 'Red'." Now, being from the Pacific Northwest, I have heard a lot about Dave Carter but had somehow missed him, but Purpose's version of the song put wheels in motion and I can now say Dave Carter really hits the mark. After viewing this DVD and listening to the CD numerous times, I do believe that Darryl Purpose does too.
Right out of the box, fingerpicking over loud applause, he lays the groundwork for the Old West of Crazy Horse with a slightly Native American strum carried further by the fiddle of Julie Beaver. The Ghost of Crazy Horse is the perfect opener, having the subject matter and sound which grabs the ear and shows that Purpose is a master at 'narrative' folk music. He revisits the style on no less than four others and ends the CD (and DVD) with a powerful musical account of living life as risk-taker (Dangerous Games). He has his soft moments as well, as in California (Rutherford Hayes in the Morning) which would have fit as a love song but for the subject matter which was, amazingly enough, Rutherford Hayes, our 19th president. Purpose sings The Fourth Chair about the girl who wasn't there, obviously post-heartbreak driven. And he pays tribute to a list of singer/songwriters now gone and to Kevin Faherty (the songwriter) in a folkies' version of Hillbilly Heaven titled Singer/Songwriter Heaven.
Purpose fleshed out the concert with 18 tracks, three as intros and perfectly suited to stand by themselves, and all were magic to the crowd. Admittedly, he stacked the crowd in his favor by inviting friends and family, but that is Darryl Purpose. He finds humor in everything.
This is straight folk music in the vein of Steve Goodman, John Prine and especially Dave Carter. It is probably no mistake that he teams up with Julie Beaver occasionally, his music leaning toward the Dave Carter/Tracy Grammer combination that rejuvenated folk music in the Pacific Northwest a handful of years ago. Beaver shines as fiddler and her backup singing is spot on, but I'm not sold on her as a lead voice for Purpose's compositions, with the exception of Late For Dinner which she nails down admirably. It is not that her voice is not good, just that it didn't seem to fit the style of songs.
The DVD duplicates most of the CD as regards the songs and it is always pleasing to see two people so at ease with each other and the audience making beautiful music. The DVD was recorded from numerous angles and edited very well. It shows Darryl Purpose at what I assume is his best—onstage before people who love his music. As for choice between formats, it wouldn't matter if you have the setup for both. Of course, you can pack the CD wherever you want and solid portable DVD players are not exactly staples for the average consumer. Then again, you may want to check Purpose out. He is certainly engaging and I could see picking up both if he catches your ear and musical soul, something that is not at all out of the question. All in all, for live performance, I give this a solid five out of five.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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