Early last week hardly anyone had heard of Oliver Anthony. Now he has four of the top ten songs on Itunes. Three of his songs are being downloaded more than hits by Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift. No one in the music industry has ever risen so dramatically to prominence without radio play, corporate connections, or even a music studio. An Appalachian music Youtube Channel posted one of Anthony’s songs “Rich Men North of Richmond” a few days ago. People on social media picked it up, and the rest is history. So how did this happen and why are people so hungry for Anthony’s music?

The short answer is that decent ordinary people in middle America who enjoy things like Country music and who respect the Bible have almost no one in Nashville or evangelical organizations who sympathize with them. Industry singers and preachers do not publicly value their way of life, seek to defend it, or show frustration when it is under attack. In short, elites do not identify with the common people who make their own successful lives possible. In some ways they resemble the “men north of Richmond” the song takes aim at.

In the case of Oliver Anthony, the market demanded someone willing to stand up for righteousness, not just in the abstract, but in the concrete. In “Rich Men North of Richmond” Anthony calls out things like people taking advantage of welfare, anti-masculine standards, and power-hungry pedophiles in the ruling class. The song channels the righteous indignation of a betrayed people who loyally pay their taxes but struggle to feed their own families. It is a good example of what Clyde Wilson called “American Populism” which expresses hostility to elites who consolidate power and force their idealistic plans on populations who want to be left alone.[1] These Bible Belt dwellers want someone with eyes open enough to notice what is happening to them. Anthony Oliver, without any help from media elites, is now that man.

Anthony had his first large show Sunday afternoon at a North Carolina farm market. Anthony opened the concert stating: “It’s crazy to me, because I remember back in June I played here for about twenty people, but that’s the beautiful part of this country, though, is even an idiot like me can make something happen. So, if I can do it you can do it.” He then did something unconventional. He proceeded to open his Bible and read nine imprecatory verses from Psalm 37 about coming judgement for the wicked and vindication for the righteous. He almost choked up at the end when reading: “Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed and they will go up in smoke.” The crowd cheered and he played his new hit.[2] Anthony may not realize just how big of a nerve he struck but perhaps he does.

Since 2021, the young Scots-Irish looking Country singer recorded music on his cell phone from his 90-acre farm in central Virginia. The lyrics featured rural-Southern themes like living off the land, finding contentment even in poverty, feeling homesick for an older way of life, and the importance of religion, region, and family. Anthony’s songs spurned increasing urbanization and group-think as signs of impending destruction. The usual inclusion of trucks, dogs, farming, and moonshine also make their way into his songs. In one song called Rich Man’s Gold the Dobro player exclaimed “You won’t born, to just pay bills and die.”

Though most people seem to resonate with Anthony’s anti-modernity message, there are political and evangelical leaders who take exception to his success and the positive reaction to it. A left-wing best-selling author and journalist linked “Rich Men North of Richmond” to white supremacy.[3] James Lindsay agreed the phenomenon surrounding the song represented a postmodern political power play because it appealed to Biblical authority to justify an incorrect message.[4] National Review published an article complaining Anthony painted an inaccurate picture of how bad things really were.[5] A pastor in Texas implied Anthony’s fans were hypocrites for thinking the rising star’s reading of Psalm 37 and it’s pronouncement of judgement against the wicked did not apply to them.[6] Another pastor in Washington took offense to Anthony reading the Bible “to promote a song that uses [profane] language God hates” like shit and damn.[7] In my estimation, most critics seem to lack a sense of proportion for how righteously indignant and discouraged many Americans are.

Anthony’s fans admire the crying groan present in his music which conveys a raw and real feel rarely heard in Nashville today. This coupled with a twangy and tinny sounding Dobro is the perfect recipe for Country and Blues music. Right before Anthony’s song went viral, the working-class singer uploaded a video from his truck where he explained the pain in his voice. He said: “[In 2021] things were obviously not good for a lot of people and in some respects I was one of those people.” He goes on to describe his attempt to escape through drugs and alcohol only to find his purpose in helping others through music. Anthony talked about the hard-working people he knew in factory and construction settings “who just can’t quite get ahead” and expressed his desire to “be a voice for those people.” Anthony closed his video by revealing that he spent a long time as an agnostic who was angry at God. However, he came to realize during his time of discouragement that “there is a divine Creator who 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.”[8]

Though we cannot see deep into Oliver Anthony’s soul, we do know that he certainly comes  across as more sincere and authentic than most of our country’s politicians, musicians, and popular preachers. He seems to be coming to a greater knowledge of God and the hope this knowledge produces. He also exhibits a rare humble demeanor. In a recent video he expressed his desire to meet every single person who would come to see him perform. Anthony stated: “This is not about me, it’s about you” and people happen to believe him.[9]

Now that Anthony can sell out concert venues if he chooses, the major danger he faces stems from the pitfalls associated with instant success. Both the music industry and conservative media are filled with “rich men north of Richmond” who do not mind taking advantage of another’s success to advance themselves. There’s also the corrupting influence that naturally accompanies money. Fortunately, Anthony is starting off in the right direction by understanding who he represents and who he does not. It is time to support his good efforts and pray they continue in a positive direction.

For now, most of the rich men north of Richmond who hate his message cannot publicly say so without implicating themselves. Perhaps the popularity of Anthony’s song signals a sea change in public opinion. After years of being marginalized and disregarded people who care about righteousness are retaking the moral high ground. By God’s grace, perhaps the Oliver Anthony phenomenon can pave a way for others to keep and hold this position.


[1] Clyde Wilson, “American Populism & the Power of the State,” The Imaginative Conservative (blog), February 18, 2017, https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2017/02/american-populism-power-state-clyde-wilson.html.

[2] Oliver Anthony LIVE at Morris Farm Market (Aug 13, 2023), https://rumble.com/v379j2z-oliver-anthony-live-at-morris-farm-market-aug-13-2023.html.

[3] Jeff Sharlet (jeffsharlet.bsky.social) [@JeffSharlet], “Tonight, Hanover, NH, College Town, Young Dude Rocking out to White Supremacist Idiot Anthem ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ in Tricked out Ford F150, Which Cost Daddy, What, 50 Grand so Sonny Could Play Common Man to the Tune of a Tune That Blames Capitalism on Poor Black Women?,” Tweet, Twitter, August 13, 2023, https://twitter.com/JeffSharlet/status/1690564809496948736.

[4] James Lindsay, Dga.F. [@ConceptualJames], “I Wish I Disagreed with This Assessment. Https://T.Co/0MAX3cRoh3,” Tweet, Twitter, August 14, 2023, https://twitter.com/ConceptualJames/status/1691126557618884609.

[5] Mark Antonio Wright, “Oliver Anthony’s Fuzzy Lament,” National Review, August 14, 2023, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/oliver-anthonys-fuzzy-lament/.

[6] WWUTT [@WWUTTcom], “But the Wicked Will Perish; And the Enemies of Yahweh Will Be like the Glory of the Pastures, They Vanish —in Smoke They Vanish Away. *audience Applauds* I Don’t Know Why You’re Clapping. I’m Talking about You.,” Tweet, Twitter, August 14, 2023, https://twitter.com/WWUTTcom/status/1691088677403799554.

[7] Stephen Angliss    [@Stephen_Angliss], “I’m Probably Gonna Get Roasted for This… I Don’t Appreciate a Guy Famous for a Song That Says ‘$hit,’ “bull$hit, ‘D@mn’ and Takes the Lord’s Name in Vain Using God’s Word for His Concert. James 3:10 Https://T.Co/SY5cYgjzFO,” Tweet, Twitter, August 13, 2023, https://twitter.com/Stephen_Angliss/status/1690851746124595200.

[8] It’s a Pleasure to Meet You…, August 7, 2023, https://rumble.com/v36vojc-its-a-pleasure-to-meet-you….html.

[9] Oliver Anthony [@AintGottaDollar], “August 13th Morris Farm Market Currituck NC Free Admission Food and Drinks Available 1:30pm-2:30pm 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. Https://T.Co/Nz6ueTTMi4,” Tweet, Twitter, August 12, 2023, https://twitter.com/AintGottaDollar/status/1690162114508292096.

Jonathan Harris

Jonathan Harris is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.


  • Earl Starbuck says:

    James Lindsay really is a poison pill. Anti-woke just ain’t enough. As our Lord said, when one sweeps the house clean of demons, you must then fill it with good things, lest it be filled by several demons – all worse than the one that came before.

    • Adrian Paul McClaren says:

      Our ONLY DUTY left is this: Proclaim (John 3.3, 33034)–‘JESUS said “unless a man is BORN AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God’ “.

  • Trevor Laurie says:

    Great analysis of what is happening throughout what is left of the Western World. Look at the push back in the Netherlands with the BBB victory and the (minor) political victories of Germany’s AFD’s. I pray a movement can coalesce and push back against this globalist nightmare being forced upon us because of lack of unity.

    • Adrian Paul McClaren says:

      Our ONLY DUTY left is this: Proclaim (John 3.3, 33034)–‘JESUS said “unless a man is BORN AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God’ “.

  • Matt C. says:

    Never heard of Oliver Anthony. I’m glad he climbed out of the hole he was in and turned to God. Happiness and success to him. But above everything else, I hope he’s reading and learning the Bible; learning and understanding what Lord is doing and why. Singing out Psalm 37 is not an encouraging indicator. Psalm 37 has to do with the destruction of Israel’s enemies and subduing them, the Gentiles, to submit to Israel. And that will happen one day after this dispensation of grace. I am with Mr. Anthony and all who are concerned about the state of this country. But, Psalm 37 is just not about anybody or any country or any people today. It’s just not, and it shouldn’t be ripped out of its context. Also, Mr. Anthony and all Christians need to pit aside the NIV and instead study the KJB. The NIV is of no help, especially in II Tim. 2:15. “Correctly handles” is not going to help you understand the book, Mr. Anthony. It needs to be rightly divided as the KJB makes clear. All the best to you, if you read this.

    • Adrian Paul McClaren says:

      (A) I will ask a Question, Mr M C: (1) (quote from ‘Gone with the Wind’) Dr Meade, when wife was gathering up her belongings whilst being shelled by the yankee demons: “Good heavens, this is NOT a Garden Party; we are AT WAR!!!). PSALMS 37 “IS” an encouraging indicator! It (written by David) contrasts ‘the Righteous -v- the Wicked.’
      (2) (you state ) : ‘. . .am concerned about the state of this country.’ What!? What?! After 158+ years of lies!? I will ‘tell you This: Good news!!!! The Decadent & Abominable satanic Empires of the United states & their ancestors, the English (not British) ARE OVER!! (Romans 1.24, 26,28). As well the LORD Admonishes us not to pray for this people any more (Jeremiah 7.16)
      I would be obliged if you would remembe this.

  • Adrian Paul McClaren says:

    (1) SECESSION SECESSION SECESSION SECESSION SECESSION SECESSION SECESSION NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW —– I have been calling for this for decades. 2001 11th September I saw the LORD remove HIS hand from this decadent yankee land just prior to 2nd jet hitting the building. (Romans 1.24, 26, 28) IF we had begun to spend All TIME &(and) $(MONEY) on SECESSION SECESSION we would have already WON WON BACK our FREEDOM!!!!

    (2) ANY more TIME & MONEY spent on remaining in this Decadent Abominable land is the Epitome! of HYPROCRISY & CONTEMPT of & for The ALMIGHTY GOD, HIS SON JESUS MESSIAH & HOLY SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (3)Good news!!!! The Decadent & MURDEROUS Empires of the (a) “United states” (which were “united States” (which existed until 1859)) & their ancestors (United kingdom) (which was no kingdom at all until 1707) are NOW AT AN END!! (Jeremiah 7.16, 11.14, 14.11). (note: you will note the verb tense(s) regarding the united skanks & united queendom (queerdom) previously mentioned).

  • Adrian Paul McClaren says:

    Our ONLY DUTY left is this: Proclaim (John 3.3, 33034)–‘JESUS said “unless a man is BORN AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God’ “.

  • Kenneth Robbins says:

    There was a Southern preacher just before that war who declared that secession was a Christian Reform Movement. I agree

  • Matt C. says:

    Mr. McClaren, in Jeremiah ch. 7, the Lord is addressing Judah through Jeremiah: verse 2: “..Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah,..” The Lord was not, and is not, addressing anyone else, just Judah, Israel’s southern kingdom. In verse 3 of Jer. 7, the Lord identifies Himself as, “..the God of Israel..” The Lord was not the God of any other nation then. In Jeremiah He was dealing with Israel around the time of the Babylonian captivity. You mentioned Romans ch. 1. Paul is talking about when God let the nations go, before He called Abram in Gen. 12 and made His own nation since everyone else didn’t want God as Rom. 1 explains. Paul is not referring to anyone else except the nations in time past. As for this country, I am concerned about things, and I have been. I do agree the Republic seriously began to go the wrong way some 162 years ago with the war against Southern Independence. The South Was Right, as the Kennedy twins book details. But I pray we be right about what’s going on in the Bible, too. I know some Southerners have some grievances against the former Confederate soldier, C.I. Scofield, but Scofield hit the nail on the head about one thing. And that one sentence is in his commentary on Ephesians ch. 3.

  • Lafayette Burner says:

    Two items to comment on from the article:
    “Anthony calls out things like people taking advantage of welfare,..” and
    “his music which conveys a raw and real feel rarely heard in Nashville today.”

    I’m hoping to learn that the five foot 3, 300 lbs fudge round eater is an analogue for the MIC, because in reality the morbidly obese are the least, the very very least, of tax payer problems… probably not even in a top 100 list of things not to spend taxed money on…

    On Nashville: well, they song lyrics and melodies are pure cookbook. In the case of the lyrics they are mostly US patriotic propaganda about standin for the flag or fightin for freedom. Most of the songs coming out Nashville remind me of some variation of Okee from Muskogee which is pure war propaganda.

    Finally, the author is right on the associations part. It’s highly likely that all music labels are connected to “Rich Men North of Richmond”

  • Baron says:

    This ginger-beard singer is not a good guy. He is happy with weiss genocide through immigration, A.K.A “melting pot”. He hates republicans, and defends Biden. His song was not a lower-class anthem, but more like him whining about how others get free money and he doesn’t.

    A man that defends Biden probably isn’t Christian.

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