There is a campfire in the White Mountains of Arkansas. The sun is going down and a cool breeze comes up from the west. The sky turns hues of red and purple as the day ends and twilight begins. Couples huddle around the fire, drinks in hand, as the evening winds down. Joe Purdy pulls out his six-string, puts on a harmonica holder and sits down with the gathered campers.
He sings and plays fifteen passionate, contemplative, folk songs that reach into the soul. Purdy is a modern day early 1960’s Bob Dylan with a better voice and as much to say. He is a singing, songwriting, acoustic guitarist who also plays harmonica, with which he weaves tale after tale in the flickering shadow of firelight on “This American.”
Joe has played electric, rock, and with a band, He has toured Europe and has sold an incredible number of downloads. His music has been used in TV shows and movies. But here, on “This American,” Purdy gently sings stories about the American experience. He treks the Oregon Trail, goes to Louisana, is a Pioneer and visits the Dustbowl. Purdy captures the soul and mood of a people, teaches lessons about history, love and honesty, and regales us from the heart.
It is a difficult thing to do to play and record only your voice and your music, unprocessed - just, you, your acoustic guitar and your harmonica. There is no drummer, no bassist, no click track. To successfully solo is the sign of the true balladeer and that is what Purdy is - a modern day troubadour. When I listen to the album I feel the heat of the fire, the chill of the evening and see the veiled images evoked by the storyteller. I am calmed, transfixed and warmed.
You can hear the entire album on Purdy’s website. Better yet, you can go there and buy “The American” as a digital download, CD or, soon, on vinyl with a digital download. Then, turn on the fireplace, grab a blanket and transport yourself into the midst of the great American camping trip. Let Purdy pull out his old Gibson, put on a harmonica holder and sing to you about “This American.”
- Old School
Buy here: This American
Buy here mp3: This American