Going viral on the internet is one of the best ways for musicians to grow their fanbase nowadays, and Oliver Anthony is a perfect example of that. The country artist’s popularity has skyrocketed, seemingly out of nowhere, and his next performance is going to be at a rock festival.
Anthony only went viral within the last two weeks, thanks to his song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” which is critical of politicians and the government. The song was premiered on YouTube by Radio WV on Aug. 8, and it’s since garnered over 29 million views, topped Spotify’s Top 50 – USA chart and the iTunes Country chart. Many people have also posted reactions to the song on TikTok.
The opening lines, “I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day / Overtime hours for bullshit pay / So I can sit out here and waste my life away / Drag back home and drown my troubles away,” have apparently resonated with much of America, but because of the support it’s publicly received from right-winged politicians, it’s become quite divisive.
The musician uploaded an introductory video on his YouTube before the song came out, detailing his background as an artist. He said that he, like many others, was having a tough time in his personal life and was drinking a lot in 2021. Then he started writing his own music, and found it to be a sort of outlet to channel those struggles, and he received feedback from people that his songs were helpful to them.
“I’ll say this — I sit pretty dead-center down the aisle on politics, and always have,” Anthony said about the song. “I remember as a kid, the conservatives wanted war, and me not understanding that. And I remember a lot of the controversies when the left took office. It seems like both sides serve the same master, and that master is not someone of any good to the people of this country.”
Check out the full video, as well as “Rich Men North of Richmond” below.
As reported by Taste of Country, Anthony has been added to the Blue Ridge Rock Festival lineup, which also features performances from rock and metal giants such as Slipknot, Pantera, Limp Bizkit, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Staind, Megadeth and more. The festival will take place Sept. 7 through the 10 in Alton, Virginia.
This isn’t the first time a predominantly country artist has played a rock festival, as we’ve seen Jelly Roll and Hardy frequent lineups over the last year or so. Brantley Gilbert is another country artist who’s toured with big rock names, including Five Finger Death Punch and now Nickelback, so it seems as if the country-rock revolution has only just begun.
Anthony has only played a handful of performances since “Rich Men” took off, two of which took place in North Carolina in the last few days. According to Billboard, between 6,000 and 8,000 people showed up for his free Aug. 19 performance at the Eagle Creek Golf Club and Grill in Moyock, N.C.
“Though some conservative-leaning media personalities were among the many sharing the song, initially helping it to gain traction, the artist himself made no political statement during the show, keeping his music front and center. He kept his comments to the crowd brief, primarily thanking them for their support of his music,” they wrote.
Oliver Anthony Introductory Video
Oliver Anthony, ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’
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