burnett.jpgI was introduced to the music of T Bone Burnett at an Elvis Costello concert many years ago at the Perth Concert Hall. Burnett was the ‘support act’ and someone that I needed to ‘endure’ before the real act began. I’d wanted to see Elvis Costello for years and this guy T Bone Burnett was now the only thing standing between me and that moment finally arriving.

Something strange happened when Burnett started singing. Instead of just wishing that he got off the stage so that I could hear about Oliver’s Army, I found myself completely drawn into his music and his lyrics. As it turned out, although I really enjoyed Costello’s performance, and it was rather brilliant, I enjoyed Burnett’s even more. I was now a fan.

T Bone Burnett hasn’t got the greatest voice in the world but he sure knows how to write great lyrics.

I was listening to his song Criminals on my iPod a couple of days ago and found myself once again agreeing with every word. T Bone sings it as his personal song but I can so easily make it my own. I can nod in agreement with every word.

Criminals is a great reminder of where we need to start if we want to change the world.


I’ve seen a lot of criminals
I’ve seen a lot of crime
Doing a lot of evil deeds
Doing a lot of time

We speak of these men as aliens
From some forbidden race
We speak of these men as animals
We will lock in a cage

But there’s one man I must arrest
I must interrogate
One man that I must make confess
Then rehabilitate

There is no other I can blame
No other I can judge
No other I can cast in shame
Then require blood

I see him in the shadows down the hall
I see him in the plaster on the wall

There is no crime he cannot commit
No murder too complex
His heart is filled with larceny
And violence and sex

His heart is filled with envy
And revenge and greed
His heart is filled with nothing
His heart is filled with need

He’s capable of anything
Of any vicious act
This criminal is dangerous
The criminal under my own hat

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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