Maren Morris Shares Her Thoughts On Oliver Anthony & “Rich Men North Of Richmond”

Maren Morris and Oliver Anthony

(Left) Gary Miller / Contributor / Getty Images / (Right) radiowv / YouTube

Maren Morris Speaks About Oliver Anthony’s Viral Hit “Rich Men North Of Richmond” After Announcing Her Departure From Country Music

On September 15, The LA Times released an interview with Maren Morris, in which she announced her departure from the country genre. Morris said she came to this decision after feeling “very distanced” from the genre due to personal views and political beliefs.

She said:

“I’ve always been an asker of questions and a status quo challenger just by being a woman. So it wasn’t really even a choice. The further you get into the country music business, that’s when you start to see the cracks. And once you see it, you can’t un-see it.”

Morris added, “I thought I’d like to burn it to the ground and start over. But it’s burning itself down without my help.”

Morris also touched on the popularity of songs such as Jason Aldean‘s “Try That in a Small Town” and Oliver Anthony‘s “Rich Men North of Richmond.” Both songs have topped the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart this year.

“…the stories going on within country music right now, I’ve tried to avoid a lot of it at all costs. I feel very, very distanced from it,” Morris said.

She added:

…I think it’s a last bastion. People are streaming these songs out of spite. It’s not out of true joy or love of the music. It’s to own the libs. And that’s so not what music is intended for. Music is supposed to be the voice of the oppressed — the actual oppressed. And now it’s being used as this really toxic weapon in culture wars.”

Maren Morris Goes Into Detail About Her Thoughts Surrounding “Rich Men North Of Richmond”

More recently, Morris was a guest on The New York Times’ Popcast Podcast. During her time on the podcast, Morris specifically shared her thoughts on Oliver Anthony’s viral hit, “Rich Men North of Richmond.”

“Rich Men North of Richmond” took off overnight, and made Anthony an instant star. At the time of this writing, the original radiowv video of him performing the song has over 78 million views on YouTube alone.

The song held on to the #1 spot on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. It’s still within the Top 25 spots on the chart two months later.

Morris has heard “Rich Men North of Richmond.” She was impressed with Anthony’s voice and musical style:

Before I heard the lyrics, I was like ‘This guy can sing his a– off,'” she said.”I really do love that type of sound. I like bluegrass, I grew up listening to a lot of that, and anything with a soulful tinge, I’m down for.”

Maren Takes Issue With Some Of The Lyrics In “Rich Men North Of Richmond”

However, Morris isn’t a huge fan of the song’s lyrics, particularly its second verse. That verse is the one with the often-discussed “fudge rounds” line, which Anthony has defended and tried to explain.

Our government likes to throw money at problems, without conceptualizing real solutions that connect to the individuals involved. The lyrics contrast that some are left without any, and others are only left with the option of living on junk food,” he said in a post on Instagram on August 17.

But Morris says those lyrics “threw [her] for a loop.” She feels there is “a lot of problematic stuff with that verse.”

Maren Morris on The New York Times' Popcast Podcast
The New York Times / YouTube

Morris also believes the “crazy” success of the song “just kind of compounded with the ‘Small Town’ thing,” as the controversy surrounding Aldean’s song occurred shortly before “Rich Men” debuted.

Though Morris does “appreciate” how Anthony has dismissed politicians who tried to claim “Rich Men North of Richmond” as “theirs.”

…I kind of did appreciate Oliver Anthony being like ‘No, it’s not.’ I love that he was just like ‘No, this wasn’t for you.’ That’s kind of bada–.”

You can watch Morris’ full conversation in the podcast video below. She starts speaking about Anthony around 42 minutes into the clip.