Maren Morris Speaks On “Rich Men North Of Richmond” & Oliver Anthony: “A Lot Of Problematic Stuff”

Maren Morris country music
Getty Images/Radio WV

Maren Morris has never really been afraid to speak her mind on country music, especially now that she said she was leaving the country music industry.

Morris recently sat down with the New York Times’ Popcast Podcast to speak about her decision to leave the genre she got her start in, and how she feels no remorse about the decision whatsoever.

However, Morris didn’t just bash country music for the entire interview. She was actually rather positive about the industry in some moments, like when she was speaking on the fact that more and more country artists are touring overseas:

“It is cool for me to see country artists starting to tour more overseas, but it is encouraging because I feel like it means the music is translating to world level, which means it’s evolving.

I would hope for the better, and it’s becoming worldly music, much like pop is.That feels like a step in the right direction, but also, there are people that don’t want it to grow bigger. They want it to just be theirs.”

That last part is arguably the most important part of the quote, and one of the main reasons why she decided to “leave country music.” The interviewers pick up on that last quote about people wanting country music to just be “theirs,” and immediately turned to viral country sensation Oliver Anthony.

The podcast briefly discussed how many fans have latched onto Anthony’s authenticity, and how any time certain demographics tried to grab onto his music, Anthony would actually step in and say no, or at least clear the air (like how he did when his song was used at the Republican Debate).

That led the interviewers to ask Morris about how she felt about the entire Oliver Anthony situation and his song “Rich Men North of Richmond.”

Maren opened up about it, responding:

“Before I heard the lyrics, I was like ‘This guy can sing his ass off.’

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.

I think it was the second verse that threw me for a loop. Plot twist. I don’t have a ton of opinion on it, but I did think it was crazy and it was just kind of compounded with the ‘Small Town’ thing.”

Morris implied that the moment surrounding “Rich Men North of Richmond” actually came along with the controversy surrounding Jason Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town.” She thought that the same people that were defending Aldean were also the one’s going wild about Anthony’s anti-Capitol Hill anthem.

Morris continued:

“These are all getting co-opted by the conservative right and this is theirs now. And 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 badass. But a lot of problematic stuff with that verse.”

And if you need a reminder about that second verse of “Rich Men North of Richmond,” you can read through the lyrics below:

“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 five-foot-three and you’re three-hundred pounds
Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of Fudge Rounds

Young men are puttin’ themselves six feet in the ground
‘Cause all this damn country does is keep on kickin’ them down”

That’s the verse that Morris, as well as the two interviewers from the New York Times’ Popcast Podcast, thought was a little “over the line.”

You can view the entire interview below, with the Oliver Anthony conversation happening around the 42 minute mark:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock