He lives in Virginia, USA, with his three dogs, on a $95,000 plot of land, that he has yet to pay for. In the past THREE WEEKS he has gone from total obscurity to No 1 in the Billboard and Itunes charts.
His song “Rich Men North of Richmond” is a howl of anger about inequality and the power of tech titans, about the wrong directions America has gone in the past few years; about the hard scabble of daily existence.
The first thing to know about Oliver Anthony is he is not interested in material success
“People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers,” he told his Facebook followers. “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.”
The SECOND thing about Oliver Anthony is he understands American history.
His legal name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford. His stage name belonged to his grandfather and he says “is a dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised. Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times.” In many ways those hard time have returned. Except instead of shanty towns there are people living on Venice Beach. Instead of the dustbowl there is the Fentanyl epidemic in middle America.
The THIRD thing about Oliver Anthony is he has battled mental health and addiction issues for years.
Oliver was a factory shift worker. But he had a bad fall at work and fractured his skull. It forced me to move back home to Virginia. Due to complications from the injury, it took him 6 months or so before he could work again.
From 2014 until just a few days ago, he worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world, getting to know tens of thousands of other blue collar workers on job sites and in factories.
“Ive spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story,” he says. “People are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.”
In 2019, he paid $97,500 for the property where he lives near Farmville, VA, and he still owes about $60,000 on it. He is living in a 27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that he got off of craigslist for $750. You can see the land in our video here.
“There’s nothing special about me,” he says. “I’m not a good musician, I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last 5 years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it. I am sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other. I have spent many nights feeling hopeless, that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.”
He will be playing Sept 14th at the Poppy Mountain Music Festival. More details to come.
The off-the-grid farmer has been regularly sharing music on his YouTube channel for past five months.
Anthony credits one of his biggest influences as Hank Williams Jr.
Fans can listen to his music on Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora.