A new song is stirring up America’s cultural battles. Recently, a catchy country-folk tune called Rich Men North of Richmond has taken off online, winning over many conservative Americans. Here’s the lowdown on this song:
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What’s the song’s message?
Rich Men North of Richmond carries the tune of working-class anthems, praising the days of old. The lyrics go: “It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to / For people like me and people like you / Wish I could just wake up and it not be true / But it is, oh it is.”
While focusing on the regular folks against controlling political big shots, the song also criticizes those “the obese milking welfare,” stating: “If you’re five-foot-three and 300 pounds / Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds.”
The most puzzling line goes: “I wish politicians would look out for miners / And not just minors on an island somewhere.” It seems to hint at Jeffrey Epstein’s private island, tied to his crimes with minors.
Who’s the artist?
The creator of Rich Men North of Richmond is Oliver Anthony. Born Christopher Anthony Lunsford, he’s a singer-songwriter from Farmville, Va. (west of Richmond). He resides on a small piece of land there with his trio of dogs, who appear in his music video.
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What’s his claim to fame?
Before this massive hit, Anthony’s recognition was limited. He began sharing music on Spotify in 2022, with little attention. However, on August 8, his song Rich Men North of Richmond was published on YouTube by radiowv, a channel dedicated to West Virginian tunes. It’s garnered almost 30 million views since then. Anthony’s own YouTube channel features a nine-minute spoken intro that’s been viewed over a million times. His Twitter account, @aintgottadollar, started on August 10 and has already attracted about 400,000 followers.
What are his politics?
“I sit pretty dead center down the aisle on politics and always have,” Anthony says in his introduction video. “I remember as a kid the conservatives wanting war, and me not understanding that. And I remember a lot of controversies when the left took office. And it seems like both sides serve the same master. And that master is not someone of any good to the people of this country.”
Watch the video below:
That said, he’s upset that “a dollar’s not worth enough. It’s being overtaxed. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I want to be a voice for those people.” And he’s very riled up over child trafficking. “I think one of the worst things a human being can do is take advantage of a child.”
Who supports him?
Despite his centrist views, Anthony has gained a following among the far-right crowd in the U.S. Prominent figures like Kari Lake, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert have praised his work. Lake stated, “It’s raw, it’s true, & it’s touching the hearts of men & women across this great nation.” Greene called it “the anthem of the forgotten Americans,” while Boebert said, “You’ve created an anthem for our times.” Notably, country music star and political commentator John Rich has offered to assist Anthony in making an album.
However, it’s important to note that not all conservatives are in his corner. A column in the National Review by Mark Antonio Wright criticized Anthony’s “fuzzy lament.” The piece even advised Anthony to find a regular job.
Although Anthony hasn’t engaged with the media since his sudden rise, he did release a YouTube video titled “Moving Forward.” In this video, he seems to address his newfound fame and its implications.
“I’m no Dr. Phil,” he says, “but I just feel like, in this moment in time, when so many people are feeling the same frustrations, it would be wonderful to capitalize on that.”
He adds: “We need to find a way to take this energy from this anomaly of a song, from this stupid guy that – I mean, look, I appreciate the compliments, but I’m not a good musician … and find a way to start having good conversations with people who live around you. That’s all I want after this.”