A new blue-collar political anthem is taking the Internet by storm just days after hitting the web.
Virginia native Oliver Anthony’s song, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” is a twangy, soulful bluegrass song detailing the frustration of a blue-collar man fed up with the leadership in Washington.
The song torches high taxes and lawmakers for turning their attention away from the working men and women of America to “minors on an island somewhere” — an apparent reference to the offshore retreat where the late convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein hosted some influential persons.
“Rich Men North of Richmond” also contrasts starving “people in the street” to “obese” Americans “milking welfare” and the epidemic of suicides in young men.
“Well God, if you’re 5 foot 3 and you’re 300 pounds, taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds,” Anthony sings. “Young men are putting themselves six feet in the ground, ’cause all this damn country does is keep on kicking them down.”
Anthony’s emotional song has resonated with millions of viewers, with the Tuesday video recording by RadioWV’s Draven Riffe already sporting 1.2 million views on YouTube.
“I’m a 39 year old Iraq vet and Construction worker, struggling like a dog to take care of two kids and keep a farm going when I’m not working 11 hour days,” one user wrote. “This hit so hard today I had to stop my old peterbilt and tear up.”
“Preach brother,” he added.
“[Thank you] for writing this song. So many of us feel the exact same,” another user wrote. “God bless you.”
“This man is saying what needs to be said in this horrific modern-day world!” a user commented. “Great voice and message to the normal working man and woman. KEEP AT IT BROTHER!”
Anthony posted a video on August 7 to his YouTube channel ahead of the video’s drop, commenting that “Lord willing” the song would “get some traffic” and a few listeners would find their way to his page.
He noted that the song will be his first one recorded with a professional microphone and not on his cell phone and said that he started writing his own songs back in 2021.
“Things were obviously not good for a lot of people, and in some respects, I was one of those people,” Anthony said. “And I had wasted a lot of nights getting high and getting drunk, and I had sort of gotten to a point in my life where even things I did care about didn’t mean anything to me anymore.”
“I mean, this is certainly no Dr. Phil episode,” he joked. “But I’ve found an outlet in this music.”
Anthony said the music made him feel like he had a “purpose” and like he wasn’t “just wasting his time” after getting positive feedback from listeners.
“Kinda in the last rollercoaster of the last year, I have decided that this is going to be what I do. At all costs, no matter what, I’m going to write, create, and produce as much original, authentic music as I can in the hopes that it will at least help somebody out there that needs it.”
The Virginia musician said he knows “this is really just the beginning of what’s to come” and recounted how he meets “people from all across the country” on job sites who continue to struggle to get ahead in America.
“The universal thing I see is that, it’s like no matter how hard they push and how much effort they put into whatever it is they’re doing, they just quite can’t get ahead,” Anthony said.
“Because the dollar’s not worth enough, it’s being overtaxed,” he continued. “People are just sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
“So yeah, I want to be a voice for those people,” Anthony added. “And not just them, just humans in general, and some of the struggles and battles that they go through.”
The Old Dominion songster writes his music in his free time and lives on 90 acres in Farmville, Virginia, with his three dogs.