Search “Rich Men North Of Richmond” into YouTube, and you’ll find a man named Oliver Anthony singing the country tune alone in the woods and in front of a deer stand with just his voice, a resonator guitar, and the ambience of cicadas in the background. The painstaking, politically charged, and powerfully written song echoes out into the forest and tells a story so real that he has taken not only the United States, but also the entire world, by storm.
Anthony came out of nowhere after posting the song on August 8th, and many people are still wondering: Who is he? Why is he going so viral? How important is this global explosion of the song, one which laments the elite politicians and establishment of DC, these so-called “rich men north of Richmond”?
The artist known as Oliver Anthony, his real name being Christopher Anthony Lunsford, comes from Farmville, a town in south-central Virginia of just over 7,400 people, and has had family in Appalachia for generations. Oliver Anthony was Christopher’s grandfather’s name, from whose stories and life he draws much inspiration for his music. Anthony dropped out of high school in 2010, worked blue-collar plant jobs in North Carolina until 2013 where after an injury he moved back to Virginia to do outside sales in industrial manufacturing, which is what he has done until just recently.
The land on which the hit song, and all of his other music as well, was recorded, he bought for $97,500, $60,000 of which he still owes. He lives in a camper he found on Craigslist for $750 and has struggled with depression, alcohol abuse, overworking, and poverty.
His story is like so many others in America, the “greatest country on earth,” that is “quickly fading away,” in his words. With 37.9 million other people in poverty in the US, and hundreds of millions more across the world, his raw lyrics about the horrible state of the country are resonating deeply. If you were to look at the comments on his YouTube video or the posts about him on TikTok and Twitter, you’d find people across the globe supporting his words and working to spread them and their messages.
In the song, a depressed, disillusioned, and disappointed Anthony wails about the nefarious things done unto America’s citizens by the elite establishment of Washington, DC, just over 100 miles north of Richmond, Virginia. These “rich men north of Richmond” want to know everything the people of this country do, think, and feel; they’ve made the U.S. dollar worthless; they tax you to “no end”; they neglect the poor and hungry miners of Appalachia, while the trafficking of minors is seemingly being ignored; they keep people unhealthy, obese, and relying on federal welfare checks, constantly “kicking people down” for their own self-construction of wealth and power.
Like Anthony, millions are also fed up with these antics. Just as he belts, many are finding themselves “working all day, [with] overtime hours, for bullsh*t pay” to seemingly no benefit to themselves or anyone around them. While the DC elites sit and play with the people’s money, many Americans die of health issues, struggle with raging poverty, and worst of all are divided over facetious human differences, all as a political tool for gaining more power.
DC elites, regardless of political party, are destroying the morale and wellbeing of this country and the relationships between the citizens of this country all as a tool for an extra vote, to pass a bill, to pay their lobbyists, to buy new homes, or to travel to countries for vacation while you freeze without power. Anthony wants you to know that they don’t care about you, and his song is helping spread the word and build popularity for such sentiments.
Anthony, neither a Democrat nor a Republican, wrote this song “for human beings in general.” He wrote it for nobody but himself and the people he has met who share the same feelings as him, thus being the reason he has already turned down an 8 million dollar record deal. Just like so many other millions of Americans, all he wants is for people to be positive, unified, and “appreciate each other,” as opposed to only ever recognizing our differences.
Anthony sees this country lasting no more than another generation on its current trajectory. Similar to Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Anthony feels people need to be free again, and not under the control of an omnipotent federal government quickly moving towards globalist power.
Furthermore, the song is gaining roughly 2.5 million views per day on YouTube, and that doesn’t include the millions more on streaming platforms. It is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as of August 21st, and is also #1 on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify.
This is by no mistake. People are coming together behind these messages about our bleak reality, and want to see change for the better. Oliver Anthony and his song have become a symbol for the outrage of Americans and global citizens everywhere, and the unification as a result is an unbelievably hopeful sign that change is on the way.