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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.