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Roper Crossburn Ends Retirement, Announces New Album

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The year 2020 has been full of surprises — some good, some bad. (Okay, maybe all bad.) But if you can hang on until the last day of the year, then a real delight awaits you: a brand new album from country icon Roper Crossburn. Think of it as a vaccine for the soul.

But wait, you say. Isn’t Mr. Crossburn retired? Indeed, his 2018 LP Rapture was billed as his swan song — but by the legend’s own word, he never intended to hang up his Stetson.

“Why the hell would I stop making music?”

The arch of his eyebrows is like an old oak bridge over a moonlit gully, nuggets of gold twinkling in its depths. There are ages in that expression and in the rumble of his voice. “What a load of shit. Don’t put words in my mouth. When a man puts something in my mouth that don’t belong there, that’s when I relieve him of his teeth.”

So the album is nearly here, and it’s one from the heart. But what, exactly, is it all about?

For a songwriter who specializes in the politically charged (some have likened Crossburn to a conservative counterpart to the late John Prine), this year has brought a bumper crop of hot topics. Where to begin? There were the riots and chaos over just how much black lives really matter. The election, in which Roper’s favored candidate Donald Trump came up short. And of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, that modern-day plague that inspired so much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Another surprise: it isn’t about any of them.

Such events bleed into the lyrics, here and there. There is even one song, the rollicking Quarantine This!, that shows no mercy as it lampoons the death of liberty in the name of public health. But for the most part, Crossburn’s new release has a singular focus — one that is profoundly personal.

A Prayer for Billie, its title, offers a clue. All questions are answered in the opening track, I’m Not a “Bad Guy”.

“This record is about Billie Eilish,” the singer-songwriter says. “It’s a message to her that says I’m coming. I’m gonna save you from the Devil, and make you the good Christian woman God designed you to be. It’s also a message to the scum that have robbed her of that birthright by twisting her into a gothic whore. To them it says… you have no idea what’s about to hit you.”

As for how the 63-year-old crooner came to narrow his sights on the teen idol? Like many a creative vision, it began with a dream.

“I dreamt that she came to me, intent on luring me into sin,” explains Crossburn. “Not a thread on her little body. So I broke the bottle I was drinking from and cut her up real good. I awoke with cold sweat on my brow and a swelling in my drawers like I’d been bit by a black widow.”

It was his faith that carried him through this chilling experience.

“Needless to say, I got to praying. As I do anytime I find my manhood in an agitated state.

“When you speak to the Lord, He listens, and makes clear that which was obscure. And what the Lord made clear to me was that this young lady is innocent. She’s a victim of Satanic abuse, ritual abuse by the Jew demons who run the music business.”

Every Roper Crossburn album is buoyed by an underlying message of hope, and A Prayer for Billie is no different. It comes naturally to the artist, whose Christian faith carries the hope of salvation even to those lost in darkness.

“First they turn you into a living corpse, then a real one, a dead one.” He drags a thumb across his throat and makes a grotesque choking sound. “When I look in Billie’s eyes, I see a soul crying out for help. I do believe she can be saved.”

Longtime Rope-heads will find much to treasure here, and legions of new ones are sure to be born the moment the stentorian croon of the Voice of Freehold graces their speakers. However, the heart and soul of his act has always been the live stage. On the prospect of a future tour, Crossburn is hesitant, and not because of the coronavirus — which he considers a hoax.

“We’ll see. After Moody’s, I don’t know.”

He refers, of course, to the tragedy that took place at Moody’s Music Barn on August 25, 2018.

Prior to Mr. Crossburn’s scheduled performance, a masked gunman stormed the stage and opened fire on the crowd, then fled after appearing to hurt his hand. Two concertgoers were killed and over a dozen injured, including a mother of four who remains in a vegetative state. Police later found Crossburn unconscious inside a flight case. The unsolved nature of the attack weighs heavily on his mind.

“Someone’s out to get me,” he says. “That much is obvious. But I ain’t one to go down without a fight.”

He picks up a guitar. It’s a stunning Gibson acoustic, vintage yet lovingly maintained, its wood grain mirroring the lines on its owner’s face. He closes his eyes and hums a hint of a tune: Gay Bowel Blues, one of the jewels of his catalog. Then he strums — and winces in pain.

“Goddamn arthritis,” he mutters. “The hell with that chink doctor.”

Though the years have taken their toll on his body, they have served only to polish his body of work. Don’t miss the next chapter when it arrives December 31.

WWJDnow (27-11-2020 04:06 AM): A proper term which bears my Seal of Approval is Rope-Blasters.This is good to know. I thought we were rope gropers, but Rope-Blasters is much better. ...
Virginia Day Templeton (27-11-2020 08:10 PM): This press release refers to my Dedicated Fans as "Rope-heads". A phrase to which I object. Rope-heads are blacks who wear their hair like a nest of ugly snakes, in imitation of the talentless dope addict ...
Jeb Stuart Thurmond (19-01-2021 06:56 PM): I think we need to debunk the rumors regarding certain session musicians involved in this production, and whether they had anything to do with the post-post-deathdiscowavetrancepunkagitska remix concept ...
Basilissa (19-01-2021 08:39 PM): I say their chainsaw solo sounds nothing like yours, but what do I know about music? It's all noise to me.As long as it's joyful noise unto the Lord, it's all good (Psalm 100:1)! :thumbsup: ...
WWJDnow (24-01-2021 05:50 AM): This album is the best album in history, except maybe for Laurel and Hardy Read Leviticus (seriously, if you can find a copy of that classic, snatch it up!). A Prayer for Billie was basically the soundtrack ...
Sally Paulson (30-01-2021 09:52 PM): As long as it's joyful noise unto the Lord, Thats not how I would describe the Puppy Bloodfarts. I wouldnt use such a complicated genre-description for them either, since theyre basically a death ...
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