Oliver Anthony Sticks it to the Man – and Rolling Stone Can’t Stand it

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by Nick Dixon, Daily Sceptic:

The sudden viral success of country singer Oliver Anthony is a rare feel-good story in the culture war. Or at least it was, until Rolling Stone decided to roll all over it with their craven woke filth.

In case you’ve missed it, Oliver Anthony was an unknown musician until his track ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ went viral this week on Twitter, having been boosted by prominent American conservatives who related to the song’s lyrics about government authoritarianism, excessive taxes, Epstein’s island, and obese people on welfare (“If you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds/ Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds”).

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From being a struggling strummer with a day job in a factory, Anthony now has 160,000 followers and counting, and an offer of a studio album to be produced by country star John Rich.

The song is in the great American tradition of self-reliance that, while not partisan, is inherently conservative. Furthermore, since the Left currently hold the levers of power, the targets of censorship and corruption can’t help but seem like threats to the Democrat regime.

But it is also just a great song. Musically it’s simple, just four chords in the key of G minor, by my calculations. (For guitar nerds, he is playing it with a capo at the fifth fret, and looking at the chord shapes, he must be tuned down a step, which is common on the kind of Resonator guitar he is playing… I include this because it is far more musical information than Rolling Stone managed to cover in their entire article. But we’ll get to that.)

The vocal is the most impressive part, with Anthony clearly able to hit the notes, but also convey the authenticity that comes from hard-won experience. When he sings “I’ve been selling my soul/ Working all day/ Overtime hours/ For bullsh*t, pay” we are in absolutely no doubt that that is indeed what he’s been doing.

With its minimalist accompaniment and raw emotion, the song is in that darker, cooler tradition of country that now sits alongside its more slick-sounding examples. This is Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley, maybe even Will Oldham, more than it is Garth Brooks or Josh Turner. Or for that matter Jason Aldean, whose ‘Try That in a Small Town’ was great fun for its trolling of the libs, but musically belonged to the corporate side of country. ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’, on the other hand, is actually great art.

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