Song:  “Prince of the Apple Towns”

Web-Exclusive Interview with M Music & Musicians magazine publisher, Merlin David

Darryl Purpose-1

How did the idea of “Prince of the Apple Towns” come to you?

This song is about the poet from Wales, Dylan Thomas, whose last words were said to be “Eighteen whiskeys, I think that’s a record.” But this song is mostly about happier, early days when he called himself, “Prince of the Apple Towns.” The songs on this record were all co-written with Paul Zollo, who wrote the words first, and then I wrote the music.


What is your creative process for writing songs?

It starts when something moves me. It may be a story I’ve heard. It may be a story I’ve lived. But on this day, I want to translate it into song form so that others can feel what I’m feeling. It may have a message, or it may not. I try to find a few words, something interesting, something provocative, perhaps something clever—a phrase that will draw a person in, make them want to hear the rest of the story.


Do you use an instrument when you write?
I pick a configuration on the guitar—a fingering key, a fret for the capo, perhaps a three-string capo or an open tuning. It’s important to not use too many of the same configurations. I start fiddling around with the guitar, making sound with it. I think about the words and try to sing them with the sound that is pushing itself up into the world. Then something moves me, a chord or a pattern, with certain words, and I go there, try to follow it home. It needs to be something deeper than the original inspiration, with the music as a megaphone for the idea that started the process—follow that inspiration home.


What songwriting tip would you like to offer?

I feel there are so many stories, and when you need a song—all you have to do is turn the antenna on. The best way to do this is to try something different musically, something different than your go-to chords and rhythms. Also, live your life for the story. When you have the opportunity to do something interesting, maybe even risky, take it.


How do you keep song ideas fresh?

By living a less comfortable and more interesting life. Pushing the envelope and living at the edges. By going where you haven’t gone, whether that is a geographical location, a stranger, or just a new kind of experience. There are so many stories—everybody has one, every day a different one.


How have you pushed the envelope?

When I was nineteen, I went to Las Vegas and became a professional card player. Then many years later, I fell into a bad crowd, musicians and peaceniks, and actually thought to pursue music as a full time occupation. I am still balancing those two worlds, while spending a lot of time in the Rocky Mountains learning about all that this thin air can teach me. If you get bored, you aren’t trying hard enough. Don’t get bored, live a fresh life, and you will have fresh ideas for songs.


Top 5 Musicians or Songwriters who inspired you?

Paul Simon, Bruce Cockburn, Shawn Colvin, Dave Carter, Ellis Paul


One instrument you can’t live without—that helps you write, record and/or perform?

All I really need is my Taylor Guitar—and a three-string capo.


Why are they so essential to you?

I always wanted to be a great guitar player. But then, I really only wanted to sound like a great guitar player. And open tunings, with a three-string capo really helped. Now I feel that if the song is not good enough without a fancy guitar part, maybe the song is not good enough.


Tell us about the new album.

This album is about my songwriting partnership with Paul Zollo—someone I admire. Something about the trust we have in each other allows us to do our thing, and create a little magic. We started writing words and music together, but found that something magical happened when I let him write the words, and then I write the music.


For someone who is only now discovering your music, what one previous album should they listen to—for their new Darryl Purpose journey?

Next Time Around was also produced by Billy Crockett at Blue Rock Artist Ranch & Studio (like Still the Birds). These last two albums are the best projects I’ve been involved in.


What are your Top 5 favorite albums?

The Great Puzzle (1992) – Jules Shear

White Buffalo (1987) – Rod MacDonald

Late for the Sky (1974) – Jackson Browne

Making Movies (1980) – Dire Straits

Footsteps in the Dark (1984) – Cat Stevens

Album1 Album2 Album3 Album4 Album5

How can your new fans stay updated?


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