Oliver Anthony, the Virginia farmer whose working-class anthem “Rich Men North of Richmond” recently took the music charts by storm while stirring up discourse, criticized conservative politicians who have attached themselves to his message in a video posted Friday.
According to Anthony, he’s disappointed with the way people tied politics into his music, expressing frustration with “seeing people on conservative news trying to identify with me, like I’m one of them.”
While the country singer is thrilled by the global response that the song has received, he takes issue with politicians and musicians acting like “we’re buddies” and “like we’re fighting the same struggle here.”
In the video, the musician took particular issue with the song’s mention at Wednesday’s GOP primary debate, describing it as funny to see candidates discuss a song he claims to have written about them while saying the positive response to the song from people around the world “terrifies the people that I sing about in that song.”
“It’s hard to get a message out about your political ideology or your belief about the world in three minutes and some change, but I do hate to see that song being weaponized,” Anthony explains in the video. “I see the right trying to characterize me as one of their own and I see the left trying to discredit me, I guess in retaliation.”
A clip of Anthony’s song posted on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, has received 26.3 million views in the 15 days since the country singer first posted it. “Rich Men North of Richmond” currently ranks No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 as well as No. 1 on both the iTunes chart and the Apple Music daily streams chart.
Opening with the 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,” the song has understandably resonated with many Americans, but it’s become a divisive track due to the public support its received from right-wing media.
Oliver Anthony started writing his own music as a means of dealing with personal issues in 2021, receiving feedback that his songs were helpful to other people in the process.
As previously reported by Taste of Country, Anthony is scheduled to play as part of this year’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival lineup. Featuring performances by Slipknot, Pantera, Limp Bizkit, Five Finger Death Punch, Megadeth and more, the festival takes place September 7th through 10th in Alton, Virginia.