Ross Crawford – Liars, Beggars & Thieves
Based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, singer/songwriter Ross Crawford proves skillful and passionate putting his personal beliefs into his music with the single “Liars, Beggars & Thieves”. This Christian gospel inspired track is Crawford’s latest single and even a cursory listen reveals him to be an experienced hand despite a small discography to his credit. Songwriters are sometimes made through hard work and discipline, but others are born to do this and, emboldened by the desire to spread a message he believes in, Crawford’s songwriting has musical merits holding up under repeated listens and a strong message he believes in. You can try faking this sort of commitment, but discerning listeners will hear it regardless of their spiritual affiliations or lack thereof. Crawford means every word coming out of his mouth.
The subject of the song, taking on self-professed Christians who often behave in decidedly non-Christian ways, isn’t new, but it is rare. Anyone taking the time to explore Crawford’s earlier releases will find he has a place in his heart for inspirational and devotional songwriting, but he likewise sees himself as a truth teller. “Liars, Beggars & Thieves” lays it out in unambiguous terms. The three minute forty five second song builds around Crawford’s voice, piano, and light organ accompaniment in its initial moments before the song fully kicks in. He takes a mid-tempo pace for the track and the uncluttered musical mix provides ample room for his warm appealing voice.
The lyrics are not scathing, but they pull no punches reminding his fellow believers that they once stood among those they might now rush to judge. Listeners will appreciate how Crawford balances his reproach with forgiveness for those adopting a reactionary stance towards others. There is no sense of condemnation running through “Liars, Beggars & Thieves” or hamfisted hectoring. Crawford draws from Biblical language for his lyric, but the songwriting has a natural feel throughout the track.
Acoustic guitar and strong vocal harmonies are other highlights of Crawford’s presentation. “Liars, Beggars & Thieves” has a high degree of professional polish and the structure invites live performance and audience participation as well. While it isn’t based on an earlier song, the track likewise has recognizable melodic virtues that help convey Crawford’s message and bring listeners closer to the song. The aforementioned running time is ideal – it is neither too brief nor overstays its welcome. It affords Crawford plenty of space to deliver his thoughts and an entertaining musical experience for all.
Christian music often takes a bad rap from non-believers and it is sometimes justified. Ross Crawford’s songwriting, however, doesn’t seek to make converts, doesn’t wag its spiritual finger at listeners, and doesn’t wrap itself in easy answers or view our lives through rose colored glasses. It is honest and heartfelt while boasting considerable musical value. “Liars, Beggars & Thieves” isn’t just a track for avowed Christians; it has a broad based appeal that anyone who appreciates the authentic can enjoy if they are willing to open their ears and minds.