Nashville is coined as the "ten year town," meaning, you typically have to put in 10 years of work before you're considered an established artist. Since moving to Nashville in 2002, Craig Campbell has had to scratch and claw his way up through the ranks to earn the respect of the industry.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Campbell to talk about his latest project, The Lost Files: Exhibit B, and I wanted to know his thoughts on Oliver Anthony, the singer of the viral hit "Rich Men North of Richmond." Anthony found pretty much immediate success after his song went internet viral.

Anthony doesn't live in Nashville, and one could say he hasn't put in the "grind" needed to make a name for himself yet, at least in the mainstream. But he was quickly offered record deals upwards of 8 million dollars, which he turned down, explaining that he isn't looking to be run through the genre's wringer.

When asked his thoughts, Campbell was open and honest. The "Keep Them Kisses Comin'" singer replied, "Man, I could sit here and talk about some of the decisions that I made in the past and, and I wish I would have kept my — you know, put my foot down."

Campbell continues, speaking of Anthony's newfound success:

"I'm envious of him, because I've done a lot of things that hinged on my brain and mind telling me that 'if you don't do this, you won't be successful,' as opposed to being true to myself, and musically, and creatively. But I was always scared that if I didn't do this, then they would ... I wouldn't have a shot."

"I have not been presented with an 8 million dollar offer, so I can't speak on how I would react to that," Campbell jokes. "It'd be hard to turn it down, but kudos to him [Oliver Anthony] for doing that."

Check out the entire interview with Craig Campbell and take a deep dive into his past and present — plus what's to come from the country music star — on the latest episode of Taste of Country Nights, On Demand.

Evan Paul is the host of Taste of Country Nights, a syndicated radio show heard on more than 120 country radio stations nationwide, every night from 7PM to midnight. He plays the best new country music and interviews today's top stars, like Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Dan + Shay, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Lady A, Morgan Wallen, + more! 

The Best Oliver Anthony Songs — His Entire Catalog, Ranked

A chronological listen of Oliver Anthony's songs shows a longterm effort to massage the themes present in "Rich Men of North Richmond." Fans will also find he's capable of so much more than being a blue collar folk hero.

The best Oliver Anthony songs are dynamic and complete. They also hold true to the buoyant optimism he speaks of during candid conversations on his YouTube page. Hope isn't always present, however — tracks released in late summer 2022 find the Virginia-raised singer on a dark path, singing of heartbreak and suicide. You can hear and see (if there's video) the strains of life across his face.

Taste of Country ranked all 16 songs Anthony has released so far. Most are cell phone recordings, but we didn't hold a lack of production quality against him. Instead, each song is rated based on strength of message, originality and overall appeal. "Rich Men ..." ranks third, which is not a criticism of his debut hit as much as it is praise of two other mostly unheard-of songs.

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Country songs can be sad, angry, dark or tragic, but nothing beats these 30 tunes for sheer bleakness. The difference? Artists sing these songs from the perspective of people who've got no hope left — at least, it feels like it — and the results are downright depressing.

Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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