FARMVILLE, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — A young Virginia man rocketed to fame nearly overnight after a video went viral showing him performing a raw, straight-from-the-heart lament for the plight of the working man as Washington, D.C., politicians vie for total power.
Commentators have hailed the singer, off-the-grid farmer Oliver Anthony, for giving voice to millions of Americans—especially young men—who feel beaten down and abused by an increasingly totalitarian government enriching itself from their toils while devaluing their earnings and crushing them under its boot.
A video of Anthony performing the song in rural Virginia with his three dogs lying at his feet was posted to YouTube by RadioWV on Tuesday. The RadioWV video was the first time Anthony had released a professionally-recorded song after previously uploading videos he had recorded with his cell phone.
Entitled “Rich Men North of Richmond” the song quickly generated millions of views and shot to the #1 spot on iTunes.
“These rich men north of Richmond…they all just want to have total control,” the songwriter and father sings in the bluegrass/country style song. “Want to know what you think, want to know what you do, and they don’t think you know, but I know that you do.”
“It’s a d**n shame what the world’s gotten to, for people like me and people like you,” he says, calling out the welfare state for rewarding laziness and punishing hard work. “Young men are putting themselves six feet in the ground, ‘cause all this d**n country does is keep on kicking them down.”
The Federalist succinctly described the culture Anthony is pushing back against by pointing out that “Suicide rates and overdose deaths continue to increase; lawlessness, unaccountability, and corruption run amuck; economic conditions continue to rapidly worsen; and our culture is in an undeniable state of freefall while our life expectancies continue to decline.”
Anthony, who lives on 90 acres in Virginia and whose struggles with mental health and addiction brought him to desperately call on God to help him get sober, says in the song he’s “living in the new world with an old soul.”
With a background working 12-hour factory shifts six days a week, he paints a vivid picture of rural, hardworking Americans who feel they’ve been forced to sell their souls to work long days, including overtime hours, “for bulls**t pay” only to “waste” away their lives and see their meager earnings “taxed to no end cause [of] the rich men north of Richmond.”
Singing that he wishes “politicians would look out for miners, and not just minors on an island somewhere,” Oliver appears to take a jab at politicians and elites allegedly involved with Little St. James Island, better known as “Epstein Island” or “Pedophile Island,” where convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein reportedly trafficked young girls.
Hailed as a “powerful blue-collar anthem,” “Rich Men North of Richmond” has touched a nerve with millions of people in the U.S. and around the world.
“This is not a song. It’s an anthem for 80+ million Americans who have been smeared, ignored, mocked, slandered, and robbed by their own government,” said one YouTube commenter, whose post has received over 6.5 thousand likes.
Others commented that the song had impacted them as far away as the U.K. and the Philippines.
“Here is a man who broke down & surrendered everything to God & within 30 days, he became an overnight sensation with an offer from [John Rich] to produce his record,” said Jason Howerton, CEO of REACH Digital and a former executive director at the conservative Blaze Media.
“When I offered to cover the cost for Oliver to produce a record, I had NO idea what would transpire, nor did I know just how powerful his story was or the situation that God was inserting me into,” he said.
“I just wanted to help,” Howerton said. “This is how we’re going to change culture. And the [country].”
When I offered to cover the cost for Oliver to produce a record, I had NO idea what would transpire, nor did I know just how powerful his story was or the situation that God was inserting me into.
I just wanted to help. This is how we’re going to change culture. And the coutnry.
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) August 11, 2023
“Oliver Anthony has gone from almost complete obscurity to musical fame in the span of a couple days,” Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh said in a Friday social media post.
“[T]he message resonates with so many people,” Walsh said. “He’s singing about the forgotten American, the working-class man who breaks his back all day only to have his pockets picked by the IRS while the people in charge of this country ignore his concerns and spit in his face whenever he tries to convey them.”
As Walsh put it, Anthony is “speaking out for people who don’t have a voice.”
In a video just before “Rich Men” went viral, Anthony said writing and uploading his music has given him a sense of purpose and inspired him to turn his pastime into a career “in the hopes that it’ll at least help somebody out there that needs it.”
“If you take anything away from me and the music I write, it’s that this life is a beautiful opportunity,” Anthony said. “And I don’t care where you are, or what you’ve done, where you think your life’s heading. Everything can change in a moment. As long as you’re above the dirt, you’ve got a fighting chance.”
Describing himself as having been “an angry little agnostic punk” who “would get so angry about the concept of God,” Anthony told listeners “there is a divine Creator that loves you, and sometimes it takes falling down on your knees and getting ready to call things quits before it becomes obvious that He’s there. But He’s always there, you just gotta look out for Him and listen for him.”