The following article, 'Rich Men North of Richmond' Zooms to #1 on iTunes, Anthony Posts Video Reacting to the News, was first published on Flag And Cross.
There is a pain ebbing deeply in this country, and it turns out that music is the catharsis that so many Americans are craving.
Given that, “country music” has never felt like a more appropriate term.
The most recent example of this comes from the viral smash hit “Rich Men North of Richmond” by musical neophyte Oliver Anthony.
Despite his relatively unknown status and total lack of big money behind him, Anthony’s hit single has roared up the iTunes Country chart all the way to the top spot, per Billboard, displacing another prime example of American frustration (more on that song later.)
You can watch and listen to the song below, but fair warning, it may ruin other country songs for you:
WARNING: The following song contains vulgar language that some readers may find offensive.
It’s an incredible piece of music that is clearly resonating with swathes of Americans given its practically overnight success.
And if you think any of that success is going to the head of the Farmville, Virginia, native, well, you’d be wrong.
Anthony took to YouTube to offer a sort of introduction, and it showed that he’s just as down-to-earth as his music would suggest.
In a video titled “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Anthony revealed that he’s been writing music since 2021.
Music is actually one of the things that saved him, as he admitted that his life was not in a good place when he first began pursuing music.
“I had wasted a lot of nights getting high and getting drunk, and I had sort of gotten to a point in my life where even things that I did care about didn’t mean anything to me anymore,” Anthony said.
In his most recent social media update, Anthony actually revealed that he had lined up a gig for himself, but it’s not going to be some outlandishly priced, stadium extravaganza.
No, the humble Virginian announced that he would be playing at a farm market on Sunday — for free.
Morris Farm Market
Food and drinks available
Many more shows to follow. Don’t stress it if it’s a long drive for you. I’ll be coming to your town soon. pic.twitter.com/Nz6ueTTMi4
— Oliver Anthony (@AintGottaDollar) August 12, 2023
“Many more shows to follow,” Anthony posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Don’t stress if it’s a long drive for you. I’ll be coming to your town soon.”
Again, kudos to Mr. Anthony. He has successfully captured the emotion flowing through Americana right now, and done so in such an imminently organic and “real” way.
There’s nothing overproduced and nary a hint of autotune when it comes to Anthony’s music. That’s exceedingly rare in today’s music world where most “artists” are actually just lip-syncing in front of fans who are going to be late on that month’s mortgage/rent to afford those tickets.
That authenticity has helped Anthony actually supplant a different song capturing the pain and angst in the country — Jason Aldean’s controversial “Try That in a Small Town.”
The Aldean song was dragged through the mud and attacked (CMT even banned the music video) over completely fabricated allegations of racism.
In reality, Aldean’s song, while markedly different in some ways from “Rich Men Above Richmond,” tapped into the same primal instinct that Anthony’s song did. Namely, both songs are a voice for the voiceless.
Flyover country, as great as it is, is still called flyover country for a reason. Men like Aldean and Anthony are clearly sick of that being a pejorative and want Americans to know that whether you’re suffering in Farmville or Silicon Valley, they hear you and feel you.
It’s a rare quality in a music industry that seems far more enamored with the smell of its own stench than actually connecting with fans.
And it’s a rare quality that should be celebrated in authentic musicians like Oliver Anthony and Jason Aldean.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.