Oliver Anthony: The Country-Folk Singer-Songwriter

Christopher Anthony Lunsford, known professionally as Oliver Anthony and recognized for his musical contributions under the moniker Oliver Anthony Music, is an American country-folk singer-songwriter.

Born around 1991 or 1992, he achieved a significant milestone in August 2023 when he independently released the single “Rich Men North of Richmond.

Remarkably, the track debuted at the coveted number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

This accomplishment solidified Anthony’s position as the first artist to make such a debut atop the chart without any prior charting history in any form.

An image of Oliver Anthony
Oliver Anthony.


Career beginnings

Oliver Anthony, a country folk singer, took on his stage name as a nod to his grandfather from the Depression era.

Starting music in 2021 and adopting “Oliver Anthony Music” in 2022, his song “Doggonit” drew comparisons to Hillbilly Elegy.

Amid a five-year struggle with mental health and alcohol abuse, a commitment to sobriety in July 2023 marked a turning point.

His hit, “Aint Gotta Dollar,” emphasizing self-reliance, topped Spotify’s Viral 50 list.

Anthony’s authentic approach, rooted in personal struggles, resonated with millions.

His second public concert in Moyock, North Carolina, featured a unique Bible reading.

Rich Men North of Richmond

On August 8, 2023, Anthony’s rendition of “Rich Men North of Richmond” gained widespread attention after being uploaded to YouTube, quickly going viral.

Billboard characterized the performance as a powerful expression of a struggling working man’s perspective, addressing issues such as politicians, taxes, and welfare.

News outlets labeled the themes as anti-establishment, conservative, or conspiratorial.

Prominent figures like singer-songwriter John Rich, podcaster Joe Rogan, and conservative commentators Jack Posobiec and Matt Walsh actively promoted the video.

The song swiftly claimed the top spot on the U.S. iTunes all-genres chart within days, followed by reaching number 1 on the Spotify U.S. and Apple Music charts a few days later.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares praised Anthony’s talent, dubbing it “unreal Virginia talent.”

By August 14, NBC News reported that the original video had amassed over nine million views in just five days.

Notably, a comment on the video garnered 11,000 likes, stating, “And just like that, you became the voice of 40 or 50 million working men.


Later output

Anthony’s early songs were recorded on his phone.

After releasing “Rich Men North of Richmond,” John Rich offered to produce his first album.

A music industry frenzy followed, with labels eager to sign him.

Despite tempting offers, Anthony preferred a slow approach.

Draven Riffe, co-manager with Brian Prentice, revealed more acoustic songs were recorded, and concert bookings extended into 2023.

Anthony released music videos for “I Want to Go Home” and “90 Some Chevy,” both gaining millions of views, sparking speculation about the latter becoming a classic.


Anthony achieved the remarkable feat of being the inaugural songwriter to make a debut at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100, without any prior chart presence in any capacity.

Furthermore, he stands out as the first male songwriter to simultaneously have 13 songs charting in the top 50 Digital Song Sales while still alive—a feat only surpassed by Prince and Michael Jackson posthumously.

Despite minimal radio play, industry observers highlighted these milestones.

Interestingly, when country music stations like WGH-FM in Virginia and KBAY in California started airing Anthony’s music, he swiftly entered the Country Airplay list at No. 45.


Anthony skillfully performs on the resonator guitar, possessing a “raspy” or “distinct, gravelly voice and heavy twang,” as described by sources.

Don Cusic characterizes Anthony’s musical style as both straining and sincere, noting that his voice has a cutting quality that stands out.

Personal life

Anthony, originally from the Piedmont region of Virginia, currently resides in Farmville, Virginia.

In August 2023, he was living with his wife and two children in a $750 camper on an off-the-grid property, with plans to raise livestock.

Having left high school at the age of 17 in 2010, Anthony later obtained a General Educational Development diploma.

He worked in various industrial jobs in North Carolina and Virginia.

A work accident at a paper mill in North Carolina in 2013 resulted in a fractured skull, leading to a six-month hiatus from work.

From 2014 to 2023, he engaged in outside sales in manufacturing, visiting factories and job sites, as mentioned in a Facebook post.

In a video from August 2023, Anthony declared himself nonpartisan, stating, I sit pretty dead center down the aisle on politics and always have.

Later that month, he expressed frustration with others attempting to associate politics with his work, saying, 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.

That’s got to stop.


Oliver Anthony, a gifted singer-songwriter, has garnered significant acclaim through his inaugural track, Rich Men North of Richmond.

His musical creations have served as a source of solace for individuals grappling with life’s challenges.

Anthony, having previously worked in industrial roles in both North Carolina and Virginia, has confronted mental health issues and battled alcohol abuse over five years.


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