The man behind the viral working-class anthem “Rich Men North of Richmond” is speaking out about his newfound fame.
For starters, in a Thursday Facebook post, he said his real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford — with Oliver Anthony actually being his grandfather.
He picked the name as a “dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised. Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times.”
WARNING: The following post contains language that some readers may find offensive.
Lunsford said he has declined $8 million offers from music industry executives and is still living in a “27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that I got off of craigslist.”
“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,” the former factory worker said.
“I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering with mental health and depression,” he said, adding that he has also been struggling with alcoholism for the last five years.
“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 bulls***,” the singer bluntly stated. “Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.”
Lunsford said that as part of his former job, he traveled around Virginia and the Carolinas, “getting to know tens of thousands of other blue collar workers on job sites and in factories.”
“[I’ve] spent all day, everyday, for the last 10 years hearing the same story,” he said. “People are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.”
That message has clearly resonated with new fans.
Last week, Lunsford’s songs claimed eight of the Top 25 spots on iTunes, including “Rich Men North of Richmond” at No. 1.
He also played a show at a farmers market in Currituck, North Carolina, on Sunday, and 12,000 showed up to hear him.
WARNING: The following video contains language that some viewers may find offensive.
The singer added in his Facebook post that he is sad to see the current state of the world and has “spent many nights feeling hopeless, that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.”
“When is enough, enough? When are we going to fight for what is right again?” he asked. “MILLIONS have died protecting the liberties we have. Freedom of speech is such a precious gift. … Don’t let them take it away from you.”
Lunsford concluded with one final, powerful note: “Just like those once wandering in the desert, we have lost our way from God and have let false idols distract us and divide us. It’s a damn shame.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.