Oliver Anthony sings with an honesty that can be honestly divisive

The country singer and viral sensation sings catchy songs that some might be insulted by.
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If you haven't heard of Oliver Anthony, you likely soon will. His song "Rich Men North of Richmond" is everywhere at the moment, it seems. But Oliver Anthony is a complicated person and he is likely fine with being multi-dimensional.

The part I cannot figure out about Oliver Anthony, however, is whether he is a modern Upton Sinclair or simply another eventual pawn for MAGA use. He sings about how common people - hence, not the rich men north of Richmond. Per a recent Facebook post on his Oliver Anthony Music page, he's met "tens of thousands of other blue collar workers on job sites and in factories" doing his day job working "sales in the industrial manufacturing world."

Anthony goes on to say that "people are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated." Heck, sounds like at the next Anthony Oliver concert (he has one on Saturday that is free, it appears, in his native Virginia) instead of singing and playing his guitar he might just end up reading from "The Jungle." But let's pause there for a moment.

Oliver Anthony might have an interesting future

While "Rich Men North of Richmond" is catchy as heck, not even the common people are spared from Anthony's frustration with the world. If you are overweight and on welfare, Anthony might think you are taking advantage. Part of the lyrics includes, "I wish politicians would look out for miners / And not just minors on an island somewhere / Lord, we got folks in the street, ain't got nothin' to eat / And the obese milkin' welfare / Well, God, if you're 5-foot-3 and you're 300 pounds / Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds."

Of course, maybe he is right. Maybe the obese have formulated a great plan to find sugar-rich foods by taking advantage of the welfare system. Or maybe the food industry is set up so that foods that are bad for us are much cheaper than foods that are good and welfare doesn't really give people enough money to buy the good stuff. Just a thought.

Still, Oliver Anthony is a refreshing musical artist at this moment in time. He could easily sell-out and get paid millions to sing his songs about the heartland (or at least Virginia and the Carolinas) that Bruce Springsteen might not agree with politically. But Anthony is just playing the long-game. Good for him.

On his Facebook post, Anthony addressed the multi-million dollar offers he has been getting:

"People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don't want 6 tour buses, 15 tractor trailers and a jet. I don't want to play stadium shows, I don't want to be in the spotlight. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they're being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bullshit. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place. "

Oliver Anthony

That is a complicated paragraph and one many people likely do, or should, relate to. Mental health and depression talk from an until-recently-unknown musician? Let's have more of that, please. Calling himself an "idiot" with a guitar? That doesn't sound like someone who sees himself as better than most of the rest of us.

Yet it could be concerning that one of Oliver Anthony's fellow musicians that has reportedly offered to produce and finance a future Anthony album is Jon Rich. Rich is extremely right wing. Some of the themes that Anthony appears to believe in, per his lyrics, are not right wing, but simply the middle road.

This could be why rapper Gucci Mane also wants to offer a recording contract to Anthony. Gucci Mane is a bit all over the map politically and maybe Anthony will identify with that. (Though if I was Anthony and saw where Gucci Mane had posted that he is trying to "sign these guys" when Anthony is just one guy I might wonder if Gucci is really paying attention.)

Either way, how things play out with Oliver Anthony will be interesting. Let's hope he doesn't just join the MAGA group and finds his own individual identity. That way he can become a unique and interesting musical artist for the foreseeable future.

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