For decades, one man has been synonymous with Christian country. His voice is unmistakable, inimitable; craggy as a cliff face and rumbling with the surety of a boulder. His melodies are as potent as heroin and infectious as AIDS, although far less popular with minorities. His lyrics are political yet never preachy, taking folksy wisdom to the brink of genius, their intellectual vigor paltry compared to the countless hearts and souls they have touched.
His mother named him Silas, but you probably know him by another name: Roper Crossburn.
And now, 60 years old with a Hall of Fame-worthy career behind him, the Voice of Freehold is hanging up his Stetson.
“I’m going out with a bang,” he says, a look of wild conviction lighting up his face. “It’s the ones that have cursed and doubted me who’ll whimper… when they see the face of God.”
RAPTURE, the final album of the icon’s storied career, releases on August 24th.
Ever a private artist, Crossburn won’t go into detail about the reasons for his retirement. His health has never been better, he says, and he appears to be coping well with the recent disappearance of his beloved wife Rosalie-Ann. To hear him talk about it, you might think she were on an extended trip to the grocery store. It’s a testament to his unshakeable faith in Christ.
“The Lord has a plan for us all,” he says. “Who are you… who are any of us question it, to wonder where Rhonda is or why? Termites live in the houses we build, yet cannot fathom their construction. Faith is enough. Always. Anything more is arrogance. Are you an arrogant person?”
Bursting with joyful noise and elegant songcraft, RAPTURE features a dozen brand new tracks that hold their own with the classics. “Let God Sort Them Out,” “Bump Stock Blues,” and “God Lines ’Em Up, I Mow ’Em Down” are sure to become an enduring part of the Crossburn canon, joining concert staples like “It’s Deuteronomy, Stupid” and “Stuck Inside Gomorrah With the Sodom Blues Again.”
“This record is a high-caliber bullet,” he says, squinting down an imaginary barrel, “straight to the heart of the Devil himself.” He jerks from the recoil, then stares a moment as if admiring his handiwork.
Regarding the thematic focus on firearms, Crossburn says he has no intent to cash in on a hot-button issue. There’s a deeper meaning, he explains, pointing to a diagram of a rifle with scrawls of red marker highlighting numerous crosses in its architecture.
“God. Gun. The two words are almost the same. Both are entities of great power, from which cleansing fire flows. The AR-15 is the perfect tool of divine retribution, because it can hold 30 rounds and Jesus was betrayed by Judas for 30 silver coins, suffering and dying on the cross in the year 30.”
And that’s not all. The day following the album’s release, Crossburn will perform one last show before a sellout crowd at Moody’s Music Barn. In a gesture that can only be described as Christlike, the legend has offered free admission to the personal and professional foes his unflagging righteousness has earned him over the years, as well as to “sinners of all stripes.”
“None of ’em know what’s coming. When I pull the tri… trick out of my hat, when I expose them to the true Word of God, they’ll see. What now is filthy shall be wiped clean. It’s gonna be a beautiful thing. Just you watch.”
While his catalog of sterling anthems will always define his legacy, Crossburn hopes his lasting influence will be in his message: one of kindness, respect, and obedience to God.
“Hell is real. It’s a place… it’s not on Earth. But the sins you commit here, the dirt and the filth and feces you wallow in, they’re the reason Almighty God casts you into that furnace of torment. Nearly everyone alive today is going to Hell. They walk around blind, ignorant as animals, believing they can sin without consequence. Boy are they in for a shock! Every soul down there screaming out for relief that will never come, each and every one deserves it. The fire they stoke will burn eternally.”
He sits back and stares into the distance, a satisfied smile creasing his face.
“I can’t wait to warm my feet by it.”
RAPTURE is available for preorder through Landover Records. You’d be a fool to miss this one.
Roper Crossburn (24-04-2018 03:42 PM): Previous record release announcements: Jesus Is Gonna Kill You (2008) Nuthin' But a Jesus Thang (EP) (2008) Here Comes the Son (2009) The Audacity of Rope (2010) Burn This Way (2011) Real Men Love Jesus ...
Nobar King (24-04-2018 04:22 PM): I have not heard this album but I truly believe that it will be the highlight of Roper's career. ...
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