Here’s Why I’m Giving Oliver Anthony a Chance

Alex Ashton
8 min readAug 22, 2023

I’m highly critical of some of his lyrics, but so far he is spurning the advances of the rich men from north of Richmond trying to get a piece of him.

Silhouette of a man holding out his arms, one of which is holding an acoustic guitar against a sunset.
Photo by Keith Wako via Pexels

As a country music fan, I’ve been critical of two flash-in-the-pan controversial hits over the last month.

The first is Try That in a Small Town, as performed (but not written) by Jason Aldean. I wrote about that one extensively here and here and then followed this up with a story about five country singers actually from small towns, putting out far better work while being largely ignored by corporate radio.

The other is the current number one single, Rich Men North of Richmond, as performed and written by Oliver Anthony. I have not written about this one directly until now, but I did critically reference some of the lyrics in a piece on why we shouldn’t judge those who receive welfare benefits.

Despite my criticism and disagreement with some of the lyrics of the song, I’m willing to give Oliver Anthony a chance.

Here’s why.

First things first, the guy has an outstanding voice. When someone sent me the viral YouTube video of the song without comment, and asked me what I thought of it, I gave it a listen. Through the first verse and chorus, I was impressed.

The man remains a bit of a mystery, as he refuses to grant interviews and claims to have turned down as much as $8 million in record deals.

He also seems to have (so far) shunned the attention of a whole lot of rich men (and women), many from “north of Richmond” who are clamoring to get a piece of his action. That does sort of lend some credibility to the song — after all, isn’t this song about those same people?

So we have to go on what we do know about him, much of which comes from his own words in speaking directly to his fans.

Again, I am highly critical of some of his lyrics, but I honestly kind of dig that.

My Criticism: The Second Verse of Rich Men North of Richmond

--

--

Alex Ashton

History, culture, family, religion, data, and technology from a center-left, civil libertarian, middle-class perspective. Publisher: The Missing Middle.