Virginia Factory Worker Becomes 'Overnight Sensation' as Blue-Collar Anthem 'Rich Men North of Richmond' Blows Up


I believe that I have found my new favorite song. Written and sung by Farmville, Virginia, native Oliver Anthony, the recently released single, “Rich Men North of Richmond” has placed into words what the heart of America is feeling.

The response has been staggering since its debut. According to Whiskey Riff, which dubbed Anthony “an overnight sensation,” an outpouring of encouragement continues to flow similar to this comment: “This man needs our support as much as we need his message and songs.”

Many agree. They see this as just the beginning for Anthony.

To date, Anthony’s vocals have been compared to Hank Williams and Ward Davis. I can hear a bit of Chris Stapleton in him as well. I can certainly see Stapleton in Anthony’s raw and unceasing writing style.

He, like Stapleton, has a way of capturing the sentiments of his audience. In this case, I am speaking of the very foundation holding our nation together.

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WARNING: The following videos and lyrics contain language that some may find offensive.

Here’s a sampling from the song, shared by YouTube channel Radio WV:
“I’ve been selling my soul / Working all day / Overtime hours, bulls*** pay /So I can sit out here /And waste my life away…”

He speaks to and for the people who are tired of working themselves to the bone for nothing more than enriching the pockets of politicians, corporate America and the elites. They are those fed up with playing the part assigned to them, with nothing to show for it except lives exhausted and more work to do.

Do you agree with the message "Rich Men North of Richmond" is sending?

The outpouring of frustration is evident and real in Anthony’s words. He describes folks who see the land they love being destroyed at the hands of misplaced power, lack of common sense and greed. Unable to find the words themselves to express their disgust and heartache, they now have “Rich Men North of Richmond” to do it for them.

Here these men and women are barely surviving on the dollars that they have earned, only to watch the rich get richer, the welfare state get fatter and the children (our future) succumb to mental, physical and sexual abuse. On top of that, immigrants flood the borders.

In his own words, “I wish politicians looked out for miners / and not just minors on an island somewhere.” This sentiment, among others, reveals the views of the most grounded among us. Condensed, they see what is going on, and they want the politicians, corporate America and the elites to know that they do.

It is a direct warning shot launched from Virginia on behalf of Anthony’s brethren and the God he knows and loves. The self-described “angry agnostic punk” who found a better way is through keeping his lamp hidden under a clay pot. It’s fully uncovered, labeled Radio WV and broadcast to the world.

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Excessive government control by D.C. politicians eager to declare the divide to be one thing, when we all know it is another, “Rich Men North of Richmond” shares the disappointment and disillusionment of Americans … so tired are they of the stranglehold that they have endured. So tired of being overlooked in everything but for the dollars that they can churn out.

“Rich Men North of Richmond” demonstrates the backbone of America rising up again, a mixture of backwoods twang with immense honesty and cleverness. It is putting those currently in charge on notice.

So many of us continue to worry over who will end the infringement upon the rights of the American people — and when. I think we now know the answers to those questions. They don’t make many songs like this anymore, so when they do, it forces everyone to look up and take notice. I’m certain D.C., Wall Street and friends are doing just that.

Those who will rescue the United States are the very same people who have always done so: the Oliver Anthonys of the world — the citizens who can cause every corner of the United States to suddenly come to a screeching halt merely by no longer showing up to play the game.

And now they have their anthem.

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Laura J. Wellington is an award-winning children's television creator, author, blogger and technology entrepreneur. A TED Speaker, she is the founder of the THREAD MB blog as well as the ZNEEX app.
Laura J. Wellington is an award-winning children's television creator, author, blogger and technology entrepreneur. A TED Speaker, she is the founder of the THREAD MB blog as well as the ZNEEX app.